Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley
“I’ll get the usual backlash from a few but what do ye think,” pondered Mike Cubbard, the Independent Galway city councillor, after writing a Facebook post that stoked some antipathy towards Travellers.
Asking the online community for their thoughts on certain activities that are associated with Travellers produces the usual results: lazy, loose-talk from looneys.
A reaction. That’s what he wanted. Cubbard sought attention. And he got it. Through the lowest common denominator – preying on people’s prejudices.
Cubbard told his Facebook followers: “Just passed 4 horses with sulkies coming down the Ballybane Road. Each one with a minimum of 2 kids sitting on the side.”
He added: “This isn’t ‘culture’! This is a safety issue for all road users which is proven by a near accident as they turned for Ballybrit just now as well as an animal welfare issue.”
Fair enough, but why post on Facebook?
If it was a safety issue, and someone just nearly caused an accident, ring the Gardaí; if it was an animal welfare issue, ring the Gardaí, GSPCA and the Council.
Cubbard knew when he typed those words, he’d annoy people. And they’d like and share his post, and comment on it. Classic online trolling. There was no other reason for it.
And do you know how we know this? We know this because Mike Cubbard is the chairperson of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee (JPC).
He’s held this position since he abandoned some of the independent left-wing principles for which he was elected to the Council, and did a deal with the devil – Fine Gael, Labour and right-wing Independents whose policies he purported to be against until he joined them in a mayoral pact.
So, as chairperson of the JPC, Cubbard can actually do something about sulky racing.
He could debate it. He could write bye-laws and get support from colleagues to pass them. He could get clarity from Gardaí on existing laws in relation to sulkies. He could get advice from other JPCs in other parts of the country to see how they deal with it. Armed with that information, there are many constructive things he could do if he was that bothered by sulkies.
Rather than actually doing something, he chose to look like he was doing something . . . and netted a few Facebook likes while he was at it.
Proof positive that politicians would “officially open” anything for publicity and in order to make themselves feel important, came this week with news that Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council, Pete Roche, officiated at the opening of a car park in Cleggan. It was attended by two TDs, including one junior minister, and five County Councillors, including the Cathaoirleach.
Yes, a car park, folks. Opened. OFFICIALLY.
Expensive Future of Media report gathers dust on Taoiseach’s desk
Bradley Bytes, a sort of political column with Dara Bradley
Back when they weren’t bosom buddies, Fine Gael tried to dig up dirt on Fianna Fáil.
Fine Gael found that Micheál Martin, now leader of Fianna Fáil, had spent more than €30 million on 115 reports while he was Minister for Health.
The figure was likely to be even more than that because Martin had actually initiated 145 reports, according to his immediate predecessor, Mary Harney.
And FG ran to the Irish Times with the information, to cause maximum embarrassment to FF.
The Cork politician earned a reputation as someone who would rather commission a report than make an unpopular decision.
Opponents painted him as someone who hid behind reports, or who used them to delay decision-making, rather than someone who took decisive action.
When he did act, Martin used the cover of reports to lay the blame elsewhere, they argued.
Though exaggerated, there was some truth to it.
And he’s still at it. Just look at his unwillingness to take action on the Future of Media Commission Report.
The Future of Media Commission was set up in 2020 during a period of turmoil in the broadcast and print media in Ireland (and globally). A group of experts was engaged to examine what the future held for media in Ireland.
These experts looked at Ireland’s public service broadcasters, commercial broadcasters (radio and TV) as well as print and online media organisations. The Commission considered challenges faced by media, such as sustainable funding sources, changing audience habits and technology advances.
It produced a report with recommendations on how a free media, which is fundamental to democracy, could overcome the challenges.
But it’s sitting on a desk in Micheál Martin’s office, gathering dust for months now.
Bradley Bytes submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request (to the Department of Media, which was transferred to the Department of An Taoiseach) for the report to be released and made public. Officials in Martin’s office refused. They said granting the request, and publishing the report, “would be contrary to the public interest”.
How the publication of a report about a serious topic of utmost importance to the public, such as the future of media, could be deemed ‘contrary to the public interest’ is anyone’s guess.
Officials did grant part of the request about how much public money the Commission spent to produce the report. The answer was €721,127.
It includes €264,329 for “payroll”; €431,418 for incidental expenses and training and development (including Irish language and sign language translation services and website costs); and €24,714 on office equipment and supplies, including software licences and design of publications.
So that’s an outlay of almost three-quarters of a million euro on a report that has remained private, save for the bits that were deliberately leaked to national media to suit someone’s agenda.
Another case of Martin dithers, as media burns.
(Photo by Gavan Reilly. Media Minister Catherine Martin and An Taoiseach Micheál Martin speaking to media on Monday. The Future of Media report they commissioned, at a cost of €750,000, is gathering dust on the Taoiseach’s desk.)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. For more Bradley Bytes, see the July 1 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Greens’ ghosting of Colette during mayoral swansong
Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley
Did the Green Party deliberately ‘ghost’ Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) during her last meeting as chair of Galway City Council last Friday? It would appear so.
The part of the meeting where the mic goes round the table and Councillors take it in turns to congratulate the outgoing Mayor for having had such a wonderful year was never going to be straightforward for Colette.
That’s not because she didn’t have a good year as Mayor, in fairness she did; it’s mostly because she was never flavour of the month with her colleagues. Ideologically to the left, and far left, of most members she shares a ruling mayoral pact with, Colette clashes with Councillors regularly. That’s the rough and tumble of politics.
In fairness to even her arch rivals – and maybe this is also credit to the respect she earned as Mayor – they put their differences aside and all praised Colette for different aspects of her term in office. It wasn’t fake either; most had something positive, however small, to say.
Even those Independents on the right, Declan McDonnell and Noel Larkin, and Fianna Fáil, who argued often with her, said something nice about Colette. Keep your friends close and all that.
It was noticeable, though, that those closest ideologically to her, the Green Party’s two Councillors, Martina O’Connor and Niall Murphy, said nothing. Larkin, the polar opposite of Colette, had the backbone to acknowledge she was fair as chair. But the Greens said nout!
Colette didn’t exactly shower Martina with praise for being Deputy Mayor during the year. She did thank her though. And for the two Greens not to open their mouths about Collette reflected badly on them, especially when they gushed later on about the new Fine Gael Mayor, Clodagh Higgins.
(Photo: Outgoing mayor, Colette Connolly, with the newly-elected Clodagh Higgins. Green Party councillors gushed about the new Mayor but had no praise for Colette’s work during the year, despite being ideologically close to her. Councillors of other persuasions praised the left-wing Independent).
This is a shortened preview version of this article. For more Bradley Bytes, see the June 24 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Lightning (almost) strikes twice for lucky councillor!
Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley
Galway City Councillor John Connolly (FF), Chairman of CLG Bhearna, was inundated with well wishes last month after he scooped the jackpot (€10,700) in his own GAA Club’s lotto.
There was the odd sly dig on social media (wrongly) suggesting it was a ‘fix’, and some people made light-hearted references to that famous Fr Ted quote, “The last raffle I was at was very interesting, because the people who ran the raffle, actually won it!”; but the vast majority of messages were positive.
The win was pure coincidence, obviously, and most Barna GAA members were delighted that A) someone local had won it and B) that it was won by someone who buys lotto tickets every week and who has volunteered with the club for most of his life.
During a Facebook Live broadcast, after it emerged his winning numbers had been drawn on May 23, John said his success showed anyone could win the Barna lotto. His was the fourth jackpot win in six months.
“Please God we’ll keep giving away jackpots but we can only do so if people continue to buy, so keep supporting it,” he said.
His hope that the club would continue to give out jackpots nearly materialised sooner than he’d thought; and John Connolly himself was – again – nearly the beneficiary!
Two weeks after his four numbers (4, 14, 24 and 28) came up to land the jackpot, a “J Connolly” matched three of the four numbers in last week’s club lotto (3, 4, 14, and 24).
Just one number away from lightning striking twice and winning another ten grand!
(Photo: John Connolly, Chairman of CLG Bhearna, and Lotto Officer Murt Conneely. John won the club’s jackpot of €10,700 last month and nearly won it again two weeks’ later when three of his four numbers came up).
This is a shortened preview version of Bradley Bytes. See this week’s Galway City Tribune for more. You can buy a digital edition HERE.