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Bradley Bytes

FG-ers don’t play ball so Mayor relies on FF friends in low places

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Ministerial driver? Padraig Conneely with Mary Mitchell-O'Connor.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

The big talking point at this year’s mayoral ball in the Radisson Hotel last Friday revolved not about who was there – but who wasn’t.

Mayor Frank Fahy was in flying form at the annual bash, which raises funds for charity. Around 200 people attended.

That didn’t, however, include any of his Fine Gael Galway City Council colleagues. Blueshirt Galway West TD, Hildegarde Naughton, was there pressing the flesh, as was the county’s newest junior minister, Seán Kyne.

But conspicuous by their absence were: Fine Gael city councillors Pádraig Conneely, Pearce Flannery and John Walsh.

“It was poor form,” snorted one attendee.

What made their no-show even more interesting was the three Fianna Fáilers on the Council – Crowe Bros Ollie and Michael John, as well as Peter Keane – put Civil War politics to one side, and made the effort to wine and dine with the enemy.

The only other city councillors who turned up were Labour’s Niall McNelis, and Independents Terry O’Flaherty and Noel Larkin.

There was no sign of the Shinners although you’d hardly expect them to be there. But what excuse had the Blueshirts?

Times are tough when a Fine Gael mayor can’t rely on his own, and has to call in Fianna Fáil rent-a-crowd. At least they livened up the party.

Keeping enemies close

Seán Kyne’s elevation to high office is a textbook example of how, in politics, knifing someone in the front can reap more rewards than stabbing them in the back.

Ever since the Galway West TD has been elected he’s been trouble.

Well, trouble for his leader, An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, that is.

When the Coalition swept to power in 2011 and held an overwhelming majority, there were rumours that Seán was among the troublesome ‘five-a-side’ group of Fine Gael TDs.

This was a ragbag of bored backbenches, who caused headaches for the party leadership. They weren’t part of the Kenny’s inner circle – they were nowhere near it.

And so they’d sit around and bitch and moan about political reform and other things that didn’t really interest the Mayo man.

Kenny got his own back on Kyne, when, a reshuffle in the last term, rather than promoting Kyne to the Gaeltacht junior ministry.

The Moycullen-er was right to be miffed. He was the only bloody TD in a Gaeltacht county who could speak Irish; and yet he was snubbed by Kenny in favour of Donegal’s Joe McHugh.

What a kick in the teeth for Kyne – McHugh had better Mandarin than Gaeilge and yet still no promotion.

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

 

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.

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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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CITY TRIBUNE

Cribbing at Christmas as Colette and Crowe clash

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley – Fianna Fáil City Councillors Mike Crowe, Peter Keane and John Connolly didn’t hang around to hear the Mayor of Galway’s Christmas well wishes.

The trio were out the gap of the Veranda Lounge of the Galmont Hotel near the end of the final City Council meeting of 2021 before Colette Connolly (Ind) could bellow the words “Nollaig Shona . . . and Happy New Year” from the top table.

“Thank you for your patience” during a “very difficult year” and “trying times”, she added, to a near-empty room of councillors scrambling to get out and colleagues online on Zoom who had switched off too.

Earlier, patience had worn thin inside the rather plush replacement Council Chamber as Colette clashed with councillors, in particular MJ Crowe.

Perhaps it was just as well that Covid-19 restrictions put paid to this year’s instalment of the traditional Christmas drinks, hosted annually by the Mayor for officials and elected members.

Because there was little Christmas spirit or collegiality shown during the Council meeting and adding alcohol to that concoction could have been dangerous.

The exchanges during the meeting, sans eggnog, were pricklier than seasonal holly; the tea – as weak as water – that was served during a break in proceedings didn’t help the mood music.

A combative tone was set early on, when discussing the minutes of the previous meeting. Like conversations about religion or politics with family over Christmas dinner, it’s best to keep the minutes short and sweet. But this section dragged on last Monday, as old sores from old meetings were picked at.

The best thing about a barney that occurred between John Connolly and Colette Connolly over who’d said what at the November meeting, was that it was bilingual, as both speakers moved seamlessly between Gaeilge and Béarla. Their more linguistically challenged comrades looked on, confused: Unsure of what the two were arguing about, but knowing it must be serious because of the teacher-tone used by both.

This was a baptism of fire for the new Meetings Administrator, Ailish Rohan. She translated the Gaeilge, giving real-time subtitles, but also had to defend the accuracy of minutes.

Long story short, John Connolly got thick that a motion he’d tabled at the previous meeting about housing had been ruled out of order. Colette managed to sort of keep a lid on it until MJ chimed in. As Mike said, he was at a loss to understand why it was ruled out of order, Colette ploughed on.

“Is this a dictatorship?” Mike asked. “No, it’s not a dictatorship, it’s a democracy” said Colette trying to sound authoritative but not Putin-level authoritative.

If Colette was the dicator that MJ believed her to be, he was still brave enough to begin a sentence with, “If you want to discriminate against us . . .”

Colette barked back: “A little respect!” Mike cried out: “It works both ways!”

Colette ruled – with an iron fist – that she was moving on rather than “spend another hour on the minutes”. Mercifully, they did move on, or they’d have been there ‘til Christmas.

This is a shortened preview version of Bradley Bytes. To read more, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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