Date Published: 18-May-2011
Word in Fianna Fáil circles is that we can expect to see Micheál Martin in Galway in the not too distant future. The slow and painful process is beginning at a national level of attempting to rebuild the party after the electoral massacre of just a few weeks ago.
And, for anyone in Galway Fianna Fáil looking for ammunition in the past week, well, there may be two Fine Gael and one Labour TD in Galway West – but the potential closure threat to Galway Airport is a political hot potato that reminds just how politics can change so quickly.
There is no secret to precisely what Martin will be doing as he goes around the country. He will be ‘taking a leaf out of the Enda Kenny book’, holding mass meetings of hundreds of members, where the hope will be that the enthusiasm of getting together again in big numbers, will engender some of the old confidence, swagger and self-belief.
The climb back will be from an extraordinary low point and no one in FF is assuming that the party will bounce back. It has fallen to a record low of 20 Dáil seats, there is widespread demoralisation at grassroots level and the anger is still palpable at local level in places like Galway West, where many members feel they were mere cannon fodder in recent times.
But Martin will also know that if the opinion polls don’t start to drift in FF’s favour in the coming year, he doesn’t have until the 2014 Local Elections. The knives will be out for him . . . just as they were for Kenny only a year ago!
However, I hear word on the grapevine that in some cases they are not waiting for the national effort –Martin will also be going to Galway East as part of his national tour, but there is word that the former minister and TD, Noel Treacy, has been quietly doing some work at grassroots level there already.
A huge task lies ahead of Treacy and others in places like Ballinasloe and Loughrea before the next Local Elections where the party must start by winning back Council seats, but against a very different ‘new’ FG with Junior Minister Ciaran Cannon and Deputy Paul Connaughton Jnr setting the pace.
A comeback in the Locals was the foundation of the Fine Gael revival after their 2002 General Election disaster and the 2014 Local Election date seems to be the key one now being set throughout the FF organisation.
However, FF are not the only ones, mind you, who are mindful of the need to keep on working on the grassroots. I hear that new Labour TD Colm Keaveney has not been allowing things to slip – there is talk of branch-building going on and even some high-level recruitment and Keaveney has been active in the Dáil.
After all those nights of slogging in the rain from door-to-door, Keaveney is determined to hold on to that seat, though the outburst of Tommy Broughan TD during the week, when he had harsh words to say about the Fine Gael-Labour Government, shows how the pressure will mount in time to come, especially in a huge majority and with Labour tied to unhappy choices.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Appeal for information following Portumna crash
Date Published: 08-May-2013
Gardai are appealing for witnesses following a single vehicle crash at the Portumna bridge this morning.
The road from Nenagh to Loughrea reopened shortly after 11 this morning following the completion of a technical exam.
Four men were travelling in a van when they hit the Portumna bridge around 6:30 this morning.
Gardaí, ambulance and two units of Portumna fire services rushed to the scene, and one of the men was taken to Portiuncula hospital in Ballinasloe.
He is being treated for head injuries, which have been described by Gardaí as serious.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Portumna Garda station on 09-097-42060
President Higgins among GMIT’s first ever honorary fellowships
Date Published: 10-May-2013
GMIT is to honour seven outstanding individuals including President Michael D Higgins with Honorary Fellowships at a special ceremony later this month.
It’s the first time in the 40 year history of the Institute the Governing Body of GMIT has decided to award honorary fellowships.
The GMIT Honorary Fellowships will be conferred at the g Hotel in the city this day two weeks Friday 24 May at 2.30pm in front of 200 invited guests.
Galway commuters hold their breath as LRC intervenes in bus strike
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Galway commuters are holding their breath as there has been a potential breakthrough in the Bus Eireann dispute, as both sides have agreed to talks at the Labour Relations Commission.
The LRC intervened this afternoon, on day two of strike action that has seen 95 per cent of bus services disrupted across the country.
The LRC’s Director of Conciliation Services, Kevin Foley, says the National Bus and Rail Union and the company have agreed to meet for mediated talks at 8 this evening.