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Bradley Bytes: Crash course in the crowning of Cubbard



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 


Galway City Council Chief asked to intervene after Kirwan junction ‘near misses’



From the Galway City Tribune – Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, has been urged to intervene and instigate a review of the controversial changeover of Kirwan roundabout to a traffic light junction.

A relative of the Collins’ family, who operate a B&B on Headford Road, has pleaded with Mr McGrath to act to make it safe to enter and exit this house.

Joseph Murphy, from County Galway but living in England, a relative of the owners of the B&B located on the N84 side of the Headford Road, has warned of the potential for a serious collision at that junction.  He wrote to Mr McGrath, and copied all city councillors including Mayor of Galway, Clodagh Higgins (FG), seeking a review of the junction and in particular access to the B&B. Mr Murphy said he has been driving for forty years but this junction was “one of the most difficult and complicated traffic light junctions I have ever experienced”.

The CCTV shows a van stopping in the junction to give way to pedestrians before entering the B&B.

He said he wrote the letter because he nearly had a serious accident, due to no fault of his, when leaving the residence.

An amber traffic lights system is in place at the house, since the junction changeover last year, which is supposed to help motorists exit onto the Headford Road from the B&B.

This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. A one-year digital subscription costs just €89.00. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

He said the lights are complicated and it was unreasonable and unfair on his family and any guests staying at their B&B who may be endangered trying to enter or exit the driveway.

Videos of ‘near misses’ recorded on CCTV footage, and supplied to Councillor Mike Crowe (FF), have been seen by the Galway City Tribune.

They give a flavour of how dangerous it is to exit the residence on an amber light; and indicate an apparent lack of understanding of the system on the part of other motorists.

Cllr Crowe and other elected members raised this safety issue at a Council meeting last week during a discussion on the City Development Plan. It was decided to rezone some land adjacent to Sandyvale Lawn, which would allow for a new entrance to the house to be constructed, although there is no timeframe.

Mr Murphy, in his email to officials and councillors said it was an “extremely busy junction”.

“I do not believe that enough planning or consideration was taken when the traffic lights were installed, especially those that were installed directly in front of my sister’s house.

“My relatives in Galway should not have to worry every time they leave their house nor should anyone coming from the Menlo direction have to worry about getting blocked in by other vehicles when entering my sister’s house,” he said.

Mr Murphy added: “I would urge the Galway City Council to carry out an immediate review to make this busy junction safe before somebody gets hurt in a serious accident.”

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Plan for former pub in Galway to house Ukrainian refugees



From the Galway City Tribune – The former Lantern Bar in Ballybane has been proposed to accommodate Ukrainians seeking refuge in Galway.

The Galway City Tribune has learned that works are underway on the building to advance the plans.

The Council confirmed that they had been briefed on the proposal but refused to be drawn on the details.

“Galway City Council is aware of a proposal to use the Lantern Bar at Ballybane Shopping Centre for refugees,” said a spokesperson.

“The coordination of the development of accommodation facilities such as this is the responsibility of the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.”

This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. A one-year digital subscription costs just €89.00. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

The local authority spokesperson said they did not have information on the number of people who would be accommodated, nor did they know when the facility might be open.

The Lantern Bar has not operated as a pub for some time, although its licence was renewed on appeal at Galway Circuit Court in February 2020 when the court was told that it was intended to sell the premises.

The bar, which had been the location of a series of public order incidents in 2019, had previously had its licence revoked following several objections from residents.

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City centre residents’ fears over new late-night opening hours



From the Galway City Tribune – Residents in one of the city centre’s oldest residential areas fear their lives will be turned upside-down by proposed later opening hours for pubs and nightclubs.

Chairperson of the Bowling Green Residents’ Association, Jackie Uí Chionna, told a public meeting of the City’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC) that as city centre residents, anti-social behaviour was part of their daily lives.

However, they expected the situation to worsen if Government proceeded with proposals to extend nightclub opening hours to 6.30am.

“Our concern at our recent AGM was the longer pub opening hours – it will result in an increase in [anti-social behaviour],” said Ms Uí Chionna.

She said it was their belief that this policy went against the right of city centre residents to “exist and live as a community” in the middle of town.

“We oppose increasing opening hours. We won’t have any sleep – we have minimal as it is. And we won’t feel safe to walk on the streets.

“It is regrettable that there has been so little consultation with gardaí and residents,” said Ms Uí Chionna.

Chief Superintendent Gerard Roche said Gardaí were waiting to see what happened with the legislation for later opening hours.

“On one hand, not having 5,000 or 10,000 people coming out at the one time will be a benefit but the question is if they won’t [come out at one time]. And will businesses buy into it?” questioned the Chief Supt.

Meanwhile, another Bowling Green resident and former city councillor, Nuala Nolan, raised concerns about the new model of policing and said rostering, which had gardaí working three days on and four days off was making it difficult to follow up on matters with community gardaí.

“You can’t get that person when they’re off for another four days – the continuity is gone,” said Ms Nolan.

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