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CITY TRIBUNE

Bradley Bytes: Crash course in the crowning of Cubbard

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Bradley Bytes – A Political Column with Dara Bradley 

It was the Friday after May 24 polling day in the local elections, at 6.30pm in the Maldron Hotel on Sandy Road, where eight city councillors gathered.
Five from Fianna Fáil (Mike Crowe, Ollie Crowe, Peter Keane, John Connolly and Alan Cheevers) and three from Fine Gael (Eddie Hoare, Clodagh Higgins and Frank Fahy) sat patiently waiting for two more councillors to arrive. And they sat, and they waited, and they waited.
Labour’s Niall McNelis, the then city mayor, and Independent Noel Larkin, a former mayor, never showed up, however. If nothing else, it was bad manners.
Though 48-hours previous, the pair had signed a mayoral pact with the two Civil War parties which tied them into a five-year deal, Larkin and McNelis subsequently, and separately, had a change of heart.
Larkin had met Mike Crowe and Hoare in the same hotel earlier on Friday to seek assurances that the deal signed on Wednesday was still being honoured. Larkin requested that meeting; having not heard from them since the deal was signed, he feared FF/FG might side-line him.
Larkin couldn’t make the 6.30pm meeting – he was at a funeral. And, anyway, he was livid with the eight for not keeping him in the loop, and for allegedly offering extra ‘goodies’ to McNelis and Mike Cubbard, and for eyeing up other potential suitors, including Owen Hanley of the Soc Dems. FF/FG deny that was the case. On Saturday, he went golfing to cool down and clear his head.
Mike Crowe, FF’s negotiator, and rookie Eddie Hoare, FG’s negotiator, who had been elected for the first time a few days previous, aren’t stupid. So, when Larkin and McNelis failed to show, they smelled a rat. But because both men had agreed a deal – initialled it, signed it and shook on it – Crowe and Hoare weren’t too perturbed and expected that everything would eventually be sealed and delivered.
It wasn’t. Crowe left McNelis a voicemail on Saturday, which was not responded to. By then, the Labour Party councillor was talking with players in an alternative Rainbow pact. On Sunday, Larkin texted the FF/FG alliance that he was ‘disengaging’ from the pact.
He said the deal he had signed had been renegotiated without him being told. He was treated “condescendingly” and had received a “threatening text” about the document’s legally binding credentials.
Hoare asked him to reconsider. Crowe rang and said his decision was impacting on people’s lives. Larkin wasn’t for turning.
McNelis didn’t turn either. He’d signed up to a deal Wednesday, went home, changed his mind, came back, looked for something else, which FF/FG acceded to, but he still wasn’t happy. Ultimately, he went with the Rainbow having consulted with senior counsel and deciding that the deal he signed wasn’t “legally or morally binding – this is politics”.
Mike Cubbard, who was named in the deal – the 11th of 11 councillors party to the pact – didn’t sign it. And not only did he show backbone by holding steady and telling FF/FG he wasn’t signing a deal unless he was mayor, the Polltopper had the last laugh, too, as it was Mike who was ultimately crowned First Citizen last Friday.

Politics the loser
Niall McNelis was within his rights not to chair the Annual General Meeting of Galway City Council last Friday. Legally, that is. Senior counsel probably told him . . . For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune 

CITY TRIBUNE

Elective surgeries cancelled at UHG as overcrowding continues

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Some non-urgent elective surgeries are being cancelled at UHG in a bid to tackle severe overcrowding at the city hospital.

It follows the issuing of a warning from the Saolta Hospital Group that the emergency department is extremely busy and there is ongoing pressure on bed availability.

General Manager at UHG, Chris Kane, says over 500 people presented at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday.

She says the overcrowding situation is very serious, particularly in relation to the ED, the Surgical Unit and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit.

Members of the public are urged to only attend the hospital in the case of emergency, and contact their GP or out-of-hours service if their health problem is not urgent.

Saolta is also reminding the public that the Injury Unit at Roscommon University Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, to treat adults and children over 5.

Speaking to Keith Finnegan on Galway Talks, Chris Kane said the current level of patients presenting is extremely high and “unusual” for this time of year.

She also noted there’s also been a rise in patients being treated for Covid-19, including in the ICU.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Mercury hit 30°C for Galway City’s hottest day in 45 years

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –

Wednesday was the hottest day in the city over the past 45 years when with a high of 30.1 Celsius being recorded at the NUI Galway Weather Station.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the city dates back to June 30, 1976, when the late Frank Gaffney had a reading of 30.5° Celsius at his weather station in Newcastle.

Pharmacists and doctors have reported a surge in people seeking treatment for sunburn.

A Status Yellow ‘high temperature warning’ from Met Éireann – issued on Tuesday – remains in place for Galway and the rest of the country until 9am on Saturday morning.

It will be even hotter in the North Midlands, where a Status Orange temperature warning is in place.

One of the more uncomfortable aspects of our current heatwave has been the above average night-time temperatures and the high humidity levels – presenting sleeping difficulties for a lot of people.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Property Tax hike voted down in Galway City

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to boost Galway City Council coffers by half a million euro every year by increasing Local Property Tax (LPT) did not receive the support of city councillors.

Councillor Peter Keane (FF) failed to get a seconder at this week’s local authority meeting for his motion to increase the LPT payable on Galway City houses by 5%.

Cllr Keane said that the increase would net the Council €500,000 every year, which could be spent evenly on services across all three electoral wards.

It would be used to fund services and projects city councillors are always looking for, including a proposal by his colleague Cllr Imelda Byrne for the local authority to hire additional staff for city parks.

The cost to the taxpayer – or property owner – would be minimal, he insisted.

“It would mean that 90% of households would pay 37 cent extra per week,” he said.

Not one of the 17 other elected members, including four party colleagues, would second his motion and so it fell.

Another motion recommending no change in the current rate of LPT in 2022 was passed by a majority.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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