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Bradley Bytes

Not exactly a tús maith for Túsla agency

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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

Greens back Nigerian woman to challenge Cheevers in Galway City East

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Galway City East is probably the most diverse of the city’s three electoral wards.

Doughiska and Roscam have large populations of what we call the ‘new Irish’ who, up until the last local election, felt a bit detached from the political system and the local elected representatives who are supposed to represent them.

Fianna Fáil’s Alan Cheevers changed that. After he lost out on a Council seat in 2014, Cheesy Cheevers targeted the votes of migrants who made Galway City East their homes.

Five years later, the communities of Roscam and Doughiska rewarded Cheevers’ hard work with a seat.

At the time, he credited those two areas, and particularly their diverse communities, for his electoral success.

“People in the Doughiska and Roscam community got behind me. There are 42 nationalities there, who feel under-represented over the last number of years. It was important for me to get elected for the 7,500 people in those two areas,” he told the Tribune after triumphing in 2019.

Black Africans made up a significant portion of his support base. East Europeans, too.

He’ll be hoping to retain their support next year to retain his seat.

But he won’t have it all his own way. The Green Party has announced that Joyce Mathias, a Nigerian, will contest the election in City East next year.

A black woman, who immigrated to Ireland 20 years ago and sees Ireland as home, is aiming to become the first person of colour to be elected to City Hall.

According to the party, Joyce Mathias advocates for social justice here as well as her native country.

“Her humanitarian work in Nigeria includes visits to rural schools to motivate the students on benefits of education. She also visits the prisons to advocate for those wrongfully imprisoned.

“Here in Ireland she has fundraised for LauraLynn, Mater Foundation, Pieta House, Mental Health Ireland and Trócaire,” the Green Party said of the post-graduate of University of Galway who studied Strategy, Innovation and People Management.

Her entrance into the race could put pressure on Cheevers’ first preference votes among the African community.

But as a representative of that community, even Councillor Cheevers will acknowledge that a black African face on the ballot paper will make that ballot paper more representative of the area he represents.

(Photo: City Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF), with Joyce Mathias, Green Party candidate in City East (left) and the Nigerian Ambassador to Ireland, Ijeoma Obiezu, at the Cumasú Centre in Doughiska last week).
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the March 31 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Bridie O’Flaherty delivers – from beyond the grave!

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Even years after their deaths, some Galway politicians are still being credited with securing works.

At a recent meeting of Galway City Council, during discussion about the BusConnects project on the Dublin Road, it was outlined how a traffic lights junction would be installed at the entrance to Merlin Park Hospital as part of the overall works.

Cllr Frank Fahy (FG) said there was nothing new about this proposal – it had been first mooted by the late Councillor Bridie O’Flaherty in The Connacht Sentinel newspaper more than 30 years ago.

Bridie, a former Mayor who retired from politics in 1999 and died in 2008, had for a long time campaigned for the lights.

Her daughter, Cllr Terry O’Flaherty (Ind), confirmed to the meeting it was at least 35 years since her mother had proposed traffic lights at the hospital entrance.

Another former mayor, Cllr Angela Lynch-Lupton (FG), who retired from politics in 2004 and died in 2007, was credited by Cllr Donal Lyons (Ind) for championing a pedestrian bridge on the old Clifden Railway Bridge – a ‘Millennium Project’ that should have been built over 20 years ago but looks set to proceed in the coming years.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) said credit for the bridge was also due to former Fianna Fáil Minister, Séamus Brennan, a Salthill man who was TD for Dublin South until his death in 2008.

“He put it forward as a Millennium Project and I was Mayor at the time,” said Cllr McDonnell.

Maybe when the projects are eventually brought to fruition, they could be named after their original supporters.

The Bridie O’Flaherty traffic light junction doesn’t necessarily trip off the tongue, but the (Séamus) Brennan Bridge has a ring to it.

(Photo by Joe O’Shaughnessy: The late Bridie O’Flaherty with her daughter Terry in 1999).

This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the March 24 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

RTÉ 2FM changes direction but ‘remains committed’ to Gaeilge

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Photo of Dan Healy

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley 

In 2015, RTÉ launched an ‘action plan’ for the Irish language. It contained initiatives such as the introduction of Irish language news bulletins on 2FM, delivered by staff of RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, including those based in Conamara.

Galway man Rónán Mac Con Iomaire, who back then was RTÉ Group Head, Irish Language, said the plan “seeks to integrate the Irish language into everything we do in RTÉ”.

At the time, according to RTÉ News, it was welcomed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny as an “integral part of the implementation of the 20-year strategy for the Irish-language 2010-2030, which is the cornerstone of Government policy in this area”.

Alas, the Irish bulletins on 2FM are not so integral, it seems. The station has now quietly dropped them.

Who cares, you might ask. But RTÉ is the national broadcaster. And as such, it has a special responsibility towards the Irish language. Yes, RnaG provides a vital service to Gaeltacht areas and to its Irish language listenership. But it cannot be expected to do the heavy-lifting alone.

RTÉ radio has a responsibility to the Irish language, whether it likes it or not. Part of its public service remit is a commitment to Irish language programming. That’s not just an aspiration. By law, RTÉ must provide a certain percentage of programming ‘as Gaeilge’.

We know the Coimisinéir Teanga (language commissioner), based in Na Forbacha, has previously highlighted RTÉ’s failures to fulfil its commitment to Irish language programming.

Despite the removal of the Nuacht bulletins, Head of 2FM Dan Healy (pictured) insisted the station “remains committed to the Irish language in its schedule”.

He told Bradley Bytes: “We believe that 2FM’s 1.30pm Nuacht bulletin is not an appointment to listen for Irish language speakers and doesn’t offer a viable listening opportunity to non-fluent speakers.

“In 2023, 2FM has introduced bilingual travel bulletins, Monday to Friday, during our midweek breakfast show. We are also introducing a new weekend bilingual breakfast show with Blaithnaid (sic) Treacy on Saturdays and Sundays, and we will continue with our National Chart Show in both languages.

“These changes represent the start of 2FM bringing more Irish language to our listeners which we believe will better promote the Irish language to our audience.”

Taken on face value, getting rid of Nuacht bulletins and focusing on other Irish language programming appropriate to its young audience, might be in the best interests of 2FM. But is it what’s best for Irish?

And will it encourage the D4 decision makers in Montrose to move to axe Irish-language news bulletins from RTÉ Radio One? If that happens, what’s next?

The reality is that without Irish output on RTÉ, the language is screwed.

So today, St Patrick’s Day, the final day of Seachtain na Gaeilge, is an appropriate time to ponder our national broadcaster’s relationship with, and responsibility to, the Irish language.
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the March 17 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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