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Bradley Bytes

Not exactly a tús maith for Túsla agency

Dara Bradley

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Art attack: Artist Joe Caslin's portrait of Peter Bradshaw, son of Galway Harbour CEO Eamon Bradshaw, on the front of Comerford House beside the Spanish Arch.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Deputy Mayor, Independent City Councillor, Noel Larkin recently launched what was described as a “new innovative useful” website. It was developed by Túsla, the new child and family agency set up by Government in January.

We didn’t log on but apparently this super-d-duper website contains all sorts of information about resources available to children and families in Galway and Roscommon.

Though we haven’t looked, we can say with almost 100% certainty that Túsla’s savage cuts to the budget of the Therapeutic Learning Centre in Ballinasloe, does not feature on this new fandangle website.

No, there were no fancy launches and press releases announcing Túsla’s 50% cuts that will rob over 60 toddlers throughout Galway of early intervention therapy.

That cut was one of the first things Túsla did since it came into existence.

Tús maith my eye!

Calamity Jane

On the subject of Túsla, did you see Fine Gael Galway senator Hildergarde Naughton on the Vincent Browne show on TV3 recently?

She was on to talk about the Tuam babies – shameless bandwagon jumping, but we digress – and calamitously kept calling Túsla, Tulsa, as in the city in Oklahoma and not the child and family agency.

If we’re not mistaken, didn’t Hildergarde play Calamity Jane in Patrician Musical Society’s production of Oklahoma a few years back?

An art-attack!

Eamon Bradshaw, Galway Harbour CEO, tells us he nearly had an ‘art-attack’ and crashed the car every morning travelling to work last week.

It’s not that his driving skills have changed. It’s just that the large art installation on the front of Comerford House beside the Spanish Arch has been giving him a fright.

The large-scale portrait drawing exhibit of a young man is from artist Joe Caslin’s latest project Our Nation’s Sons.

The portrait, on a smaller scale, is also on the front page of the Galway Film Fleadh programme.

Turns out that the ‘young man’ in the portrait is Peter Bradshaw, Eamon’s son, who apparently was randomly approached by Joe to model for the project while he was sitting next to him on a Galway-Dublin train.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

 

CITY TRIBUNE

Trying to keep up with Zoom Council meeting

Dara Bradley

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Monday’s Galway City Council meeting, which took place on the video conferencing app, Zoom, was to last no more than one hour and 55 minutes.

Even though it was a remote meeting, three participants shared a room for it.

Mayor Mike Cubbard, Chief Executive Brendan McGrath, and Meetings Administrator, Gary McMahon, sat socially distanced in the Council Chamber at City Hall. Elected members, other staff and media tuned in remotely from their homes.

“Thank you, Mayor, just trying to keep up,” said a breathless Gary McMahon about two-and-a-half hours into the supposed two-hour meeting.

The delayed response was to a query from Mayor Mike as to whether Gary was okay. Moments of excruciating dead air filled the Zoom call before the reply came.

Gary wasn’t the only one finding it difficult to keep up, in fairness. But there were mitigating circumstances.

He was one of the three amigos – along with Mayor Mike and Brendan – in the same room, when it was informally agreed to extend the meeting beyond 115 minutes.

For his own safety and to comply with Covid-19 public health guidelines on social distancing, Gary left the Chamber, and dashed upstairs to his office to facilitate the remainder of the meeting. Mayor Mike stayed put and Brendan retired to his office.

After 15 minutes’ recess, with all three men marked safe and Zooming in from separate rooms, the meeting resumed, and it was easy to see why Gary McMahon was flummoxed.

Firstly, he’d forgotten to bring his rule book of Standing Orders upstairs with him. And elected members weren’t exactly helping either, with contradictory voting on whether to formally proceed with the meeting they had already informally agreed should proceed, in order to vote on whether it should proceed proper.

Before the break, Martina O’Connor (Green), called for the meeting to be stopped and adjourned until next Monday. Collette Connolly (Ind) agreed; the 115 minutes was up. John Connolly (FF) said okay but only if it went ahead in Leisureland, not on Zoom.

If three people could socially distance in a room to facilitate a Zoom call, 18 councillors plus staff could socially distance in a room that normally holds hundreds, he argued.

Brendan McGrath said the HSE advice was that physical meetings should not happen during lockdown and at a time when the UK variant was spreading fast.

Noel Larkin (Ind) wanted to keep going on Monday. John Connolly supported him.

The 115-minute time limit had passed when a vote was called. Gary McMahon said it couldn’t be taken because, by then, they were well over the health and safety time-limit for meetings. They adjourned.

On resumption, they voted on Larkin’s amendment to keep going. Twelve for; five against. The amendment carried and became the substantive motion, and they voted again on it. This time it passed 15 to one (Collette). Mike Crowe (FF), who voted against the first time, had left. Donal Lyons (Ind), Martina and her fellow Green Niall Murphy voted for the meeting to proceed, even though seconds earlier they had voted against it proceeding.

Confused? Finding it hard to keep up? Now you know how the Meetings Administrator felt.

(Photo: Meetings Administrator Gary McMahon)
For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Mayor Mike is quiet on renaming Queen Street

Dara Bradley

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SIPTU trade union rep and former Sinn Féin City Councillor Mark Lohan proposed late last year that Queen Street should be named in honour of Cllr Mícheál Breathnach, who was killed by the Black and Tans in 1920. Mayor Mike Cubbard has yet to reply to his request.

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Mayor Mike Cubbard revealed some Republican leanings early in 2020 during the Black and Tans commemoration controversy.

Mayor Mike was flung into the national spotlight in January when he followed the lead of other mayors and refused an invitation from the then Fine Gael Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan to attend a commemoration of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC).

Speaking from the high moral ground at the time, Mayor Mike said: “Attending this event would be hypocritical of me as they directly opposed those whose lives were lost creating the free Ireland we enjoy today. History cannot be re-written.”

A united Ireland, he added, was “something I want to see happen”.

It played well with among some Celtic-jersey-wearing nationalist-leaning people in his support base, and he even attracted a swell of support from Shinners . . . although they returned to their natural Sinn Féin home in the General Election in February, electing Mairéad Farrell as a TD in Galway West.

Interesting, then, that Mayor Mike has stayed stumm about another issue that could have reconnected him with grassroots Irish Republicans in Galway.

Mark Lohan, SIPTU trade union rep and former Sinn Féin City Councillor, wrote to the CE of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, and Mayor Mike, late last year, calling for Queen Street, off Eyre Square, to be renamed Cllr Mícheál Breathnach Street to honour the man killed by the Black and Tans.

What better way to mark the centenary year of the assassination of the Galway Sinn Féin Councillor by RIC and British Army forces in 1920?

McGrath said the Council would look into it, which was good of him, and just before Christmas, Gary McMahon, Acting Senior Executive Officer at Corporate Services responded.

He said “unfortunately it is not possible to progress your request at this time”.

“Further consideration of this item would, in the first instance, require it to be tabled for discussion with members of the Corporate Policy Group and further consideration with the Coiste Logainmeacha (Placenames Committee).

“I will seek to place this item on the agenda for a meeting of the CPG during the first half of 2021,” added McMahon.

Not totally ruling it out and at least it was a response from City Hall. Lohan said he had yet to hear back from Mayor Mike on the matter.

(Photo: SIPTU trade union rep and former Sinn Féin City Councillor Mark Lohan proposed late last year that Queen Street should be named in honour of Cllr Mícheál Breathnach, who was killed by the Black and Tans in 1920. Mayor Mike Cubbard has yet to reply to his request.).
For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Slán to ramping up substantial meals in new normal wet pubs!

Dara Bradley

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Of all the things 2020 will be remembered for, bad language will be low on the list. But wouldn’t it be great all the same to consign to the dustbin of history certain words and phrases that plagued us during last year?

‘Ramp up’ is one of those terms that’d make your blood boil. That’s partly because the people using it – mostly politicians and health chiefs – didn’t ramp up the things that they said they were going to. Or certainly not as quickly as we’d have liked.

They were ramping up test-and-tracing, ramping up bed capacity and the vaccination roll-out, and ramping up this, that and the other.

What happened to increase, as in, increasing such and such a thing?

Now, some of you might argue, get over it. Ramp up is the new normal. And you’d be wrong. In fact, the only time it should be acceptable to use the term ramp up is in connection with new normal. We’ll call it the new normal exception to the ramp-up rule.

As in, you are allowed to ramp up the physical violence you inflict on someone who continues to use the term ‘new normal’. Stop it. There is no such thing as a new normal.

Nothing is normal about this pandemic. Lockdowns and not hugging and isolation and excessive hand-washing and mask-wearing and being socially distant and so on and so forth is not normal. It’s no longer new either. So, let’s stop calling it what it’s not.

Like wet pubs. Wet pubs were always just pubs until the Coronavirus came along. Now they’re all shut. Is the opposite of a wet pub a dry pub, as in a pub that’s dull and boring?

Of course, in order to distinguish between pubs serving a substantial meal – another god-awful term that needs to go – someone came up with the term ‘wet pub’. Clearly, someone who doesn’t frequent pubs of any description, wet or dry. And yes, ‘wet pubs’ fits better in headlines than ‘pubs that serve food’ but stop it, please.

As a New Year’s resolution, let’s say slán in 2021 to the ramping up of substantial meals in new-normal wet pubs.
For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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