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Bradley Bytes

Cut cat Conneely claws Cat Connolly’s choice, Collette

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In happier times ... Councillors Padraig Conneely and Collette Connolly.

Pádraig Conneely is known to pick fights with his own toenails.  Rumour has it, the outspoken Fine Gael city councillor often gets distracted on his way down to pick fights with his toenails, and ends up getting ratty with his kneecaps.

Apparently he’s been known to eat said kneecaps alive and then continue on down to his toenails. And so it was at Monday’s special meeting of Galway City Council.

The only item on the agenda was the co-option to fill the vacancy left by Independent Catherine Connolly’s election to the Dáil.

Ordinarily, it’s a five minute job. The new councillor is co-opted; everyone says a few nice words of congratulations, maybe a few photographs, and bang – it’s over. There’s usually a celebratory mood.

But not this time. Pádraig doesn’t do celebrations.

Like the bold kid that turns up at parties and bursts all the balloons, the former mayor hadn’t much cheer to spread.

In fairness, the guest of honour – Collette Connolly, who was being co-opted into her sister’s seat – wasn’t there to witness the kerfuffle. Apparently she had a pre-arranged family engagement abroad and so couldn’t make it.

But wherever she was, Collette’s ears were burning. Galway West’s newest TD, Catherine, was in the public gallery, taking notes. They’ll make interesting reading upon her return.

Anyway, it was all going swimmingly until it was Pádraig’s turn to speak. In true contrarian fashion, he went ballistic.

The grenades were lobbed at the Connolly sisters but it was the mayor, Frank Fahy, a party colleague of Pádraig’s, who got caught in the cross-fire.

Acting Chief Executive, Joe O’Neill, took some shrapnel, too.

At one point Frankeen asked Pádraig to stop shouting, to which Pádraig shouted: “I’m not shouting!”

He was puce. And when he wasn’t ‘not shouting’, Pádraig used dramatic effect – he stood up and pointed and wagged his finger – to emphasise his point.

Not everyone was entirely sure what his point was, though.

The co-option meeting was due to be in April but it was brought forward to Monday so that Collette could have a vote in the Seanad elections.

Frankeen thought that was democratic. Pádraig thought otherwise.

Then the meeting was scheduled for last Friday but for some reason it didn’t go ahead – the mayor was in Seattle, there was a mix-up etcetera.

Pádraig has places to go, people to see, so all the changing of fixtures was annoying him. Collette’s absence had him riled, too, but what really had Pádraig fired-up was Catherine’s nomination letter to the Council.

He wanted the letter read out. Frankeen refused. Pádraig shouted. Frankeen relented and read it. It was unspectacular.

The letter wasn’t dated, cried Pádraig. The envelope was, snorted Frank. Everyone else pondered the significance of this seemingly entirely useless piece of information.

Was it Deputy Connolly in the Council chamber with the undated letter? We hadn’t a Cluedo.

It was a rant of epic proportions. Pádraig never mention the ‘N’ word – nepotism – or the ‘C’ word – cronyism – but created enough noise to suggest a whiff of both.

Collette’s first meeting back in the chamber in April should be a sell-out.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

New Year but same rules at ‘meetings about meetings’

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During an eight-hour Council meeting on City Development Plan on Friday, Cllr Eddie Hoare was in Bekan, co-commentating for Galway Bay FM on a senior FBD league football match between Galway and Roscommon.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

At 3.44pm, forty-four minutes into the first City Council meeting of 2022, councillors decided how they would meet for the remainder of January, including having at least three more meetings.

That it took three-quarters of an hour to get to a stage where they voted by a majority that meetings would be conducted online only, until they decide otherwise at another meeting, possibly in February, shouldn’t be all that surprising for anyone who follows these things at City Hall.

But still, even by Galway City Council standards, it was quite something.

The procedures committee met the previous Thursday but failed to agree unanimously that meetings would go online-only. Fianna Fáil, through its councillor on the committee, MJ Crowe, pushed for hybrid meetings, a blend of in-person and online. When agreement wasn’t reached, it went before a full Council to decide.

The first mistake at the Monday meeting, though, was that nobody thought to put it on the agenda.

Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) attempted to introduce the item. There had been no agreement at the procedures committee meeting but, because of the Omicron variant, meetings should move online, she said.

“I don’t see it on the agenda,” said Crowe. “It affects the meetings going forward – we have to deal with it,” replied Colette.

Ailish Rohan, meetings administrator, chimed in. “We’re in a pandemic . . .”

If it was that important, it should be on the agenda, countered MJ.

“It was agreed it would be on the agenda. It’s not on the agenda,” he said. Speaking to Ailish, MJ said it was “not up to you to decide what’s on the agenda”. There were rules governing meetings called standing orders, he said, and suggested people should familiarise themselves with those rules. Ouch.

Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said that the agenda for Monday’s meeting had been sent out on Wednesday, the day before the procedures committee met, so it could not have been put on the agenda.

Couldn’t the Council have sent out a supplementary agenda on Friday, after the procedures committee stalemate asked Mike, rhetorically.

Niall McNelis (Lab) wondered how it could now be put on the agenda; Donal Lyons (Ind) made a formal proposal to that effect. But this being the City Council, that proposal couldn’t just be taken, because you can’t change the agenda will-nilly.

The solution? Standing orders had to be suspended, as per the rulebook. How did nobody think of that beforehand?

Eventually they voted 17-0 to suspend standing orders. No such unanimity on the substantive issue of online meetings, though. FF and Declan McDonnell (Ind) argued for in-person to continue, the rest argued against, with a little help from Council staff. Too much help, according to Declan. “With all due respect,” he began. “The meetings administrator should not be coming in after every speaker!”

Ailish had the final say on this matter, though. She read out the roll-call vote on the proposal for online-only meetings – 12 for, five against.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Shinners plan to gobble up Cheesy Cheevers’ support

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Cllr Alan Cheevers: All smiles in 2019 after he won a seat for Fianna Fáil in the City’s East Ward. But Sinn Féin are snapping at his heels as they plan to regain the seat they lost in that ward that year.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Sinn Féin is targeting gains on Galway City Council at the next Local Election – and plans to take out sitting Councillor Alan Cheevers.

The Shinners are still reeling from the last Locals when three of their elected members lost seats.

And while losses for Cathal Ó Conchúir in City West and Mark Lohan in City Central weren’t unexpected, the unseating of ‘golden girl’ Mairéad Farrell in City East sent shockwaves through the organisation.

Of course it was the best thing that happened to Mairéad. She pretty much immediately bounced back and caused a shock in Galway West by taking a Dáil seat in the 2020 General Election. That revival took even Mairéad by surprise.

But the loss of a seat in City East still rankles. And SF sources said they are determined to regain it – and possibly add a second seat – when voters go to the polls again in the Locals in two-and-a-half years.

Social Democrats newcomer Owen Hanley, who caused a stir by taking a seat in this ward at the first time of asking in 2019, is an obvious target for the Shinners.

Firstly, though, they’ve set their sights on taking out Fianna Fáil’s Alan Cheevers. He cultivated much of his support among African and East European immigrant communities in Doughiska, who had felt abandoned or ignored by the Establishment and political system.

Sinn Féin is said to have approached a number of potential candidates of African heritage who are based in Renmore and Doughiska, with a view to one of them becoming the first person of colour to be elected to City Hall.

That’s good news for diversity and democracy, but not necessarily happy days for Cheesy Cheevers, whose strong support among immigrant communities could migrate to any would-be Shinner candidate with first-hand experience of what immigrant communities want from their politicians.

Cheevers, who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer, told us he was unperturbed by the threat from a resurgent Sinn Féin and he remains focused on working hard, serving his constituents on the ground.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cold feet for pedal power as King leads charge against cycle lane

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On your bike: Cllr Donal Lyons, the then Mayor of Galway, during the rollout of the city’s Coca-Cola Zero Bike Scheme in 2014. This September, he was alone in opposing a temporary cycle lane on the Salthill Prom when Councillors voted on the issue. But opinions have changed since then.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

If a vote were taken now on the Notice of Motion by Mayor of Galway, Colette Connolly, that called for a temporary cycle lane along the Salthill Prom, it would not pass. And if it did then it certainly would not pass by a majority of 17-1, as it did in September’s vote.

Only the King of Knocknacarra Donal Lyons (Ind) voted against then. But with the passage of time and the emergence of more details, more Councillors are getting cold feet.

If you heard some of them speak about the plans during the December Ordinary meeting of the Council, you’d be 100% positive that they’d voted against it initially.

City Councillors like Noel Larkin (Ind), Terry O’Flaherty (Ind), John Connolly (FF), Peter Keane (FF), and Declan McDonnell (Ind) – all in favour in September – were cycling in reverse. And fast.

Each of them raised concerns and used strong language in opposition to the plan, that would lead you to believe they would not have voted for it again at the pre-Christmas meeting.

Other supporters like Niall McNelis (Lab) and Eddie Hoare (FG) appeared lukewarm; their support had softened. Even Owen Hanley (Soc Dems), who would vote for it again, recognised problems in the plan to implement the motion.

Mike Cubbard (Ind), Colette Connolly (Ind), Martina O’Connor (Green), and Niall Murphy (Green), remain steadfast in favour of change. But even they recognise the combative tone of contributions from colleagues in opposition to the cycle way.

The motion that passed in September read: “That Galway City Council shall urgently seek to create a two-way segregated cycle track on a temporary basis along the coastal side of Salthill promenade, specifically the R336 from the junction with Grattan Road up to the junction of the Prom/Blackrock Tower and a one-way cycle track from the latter junction up to where the R336 meets with the R337, and shall immediately apply for Covid-19 funding or any available alternative source of funding to facilitate this.”

There was no clarity what implications it would have for two-way traffic, which will for one section at least, go one-way; and for public transport, which will have to re-route.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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