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CITY TRIBUNE

Fianna Fáil on warpath over ‘aloof’ City Hall management  

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Bradley Bytes – A Political Column with Dara Bradley

The Soldiers of Destiny are on a war footing – and preparing to strike back at management of Galway City Council.

Fianna Fáil’s five city councillors are spitting fire with the ‘powers that be’ at City Hall, who, they say, are ignoring their concerns . . . and keeping their distance.

FF claims officials are aloof, and trying to avoid all contact with humble councillors, which is reflected in decisions being taken without consultation and without taking on board elected members’ concerns.

The tensions have been bubbling over for a couple of years under Chief Executive Brendan McGrath’s reign; but the recent decision by the Council to agree to road closures in the city centre this August – as reported on page one of Galway City Tribune last Friday – has brought matters to a head.

“Our view is that they’re trying to do everything their way, all of the time. They have no interest in developing a relationship with councillors. This is a new Council; and I can tell you we’re not going to put up with it,” said Michael John Crowe, FF’s ‘Chief of Staff’ on the Council.

Fighting words, but he went further. “We’re at war with senior management . . . we have respect for the roles that they play, and we treat management with respect, but some of them, to put it mildly, don’t reciprocate. That is our view, the Fianna Fáil view,” he said.

Michael John didn’t mince his words either when he said that the management team at City Hall, “only comes to Councillors when they need a vote [passed]”.

“That’s not on . . . we respect their role but there needs to be mutual respect. It is our view that they don’t, that some of them in senior management, don’t want to deal with councillors,” he added.

The introduction of Councillor Liaison Officers within Council departments has worked well in certain cases, but it is a bone of contention.

Fianna Fáil believes that the system of liaison officers is just a ‘buffer’ to keep Directors of Services at a distance from having to deal with the great unwashed councillors.

“There’s no accountability with some of them, but it won’t continue, mark my words,” added MJ.

With FF already at war with the ruling rainbow pact, and now at loggerheads with management of City Hall, an autumn and winter of discontent could lie ahead.

 

Hildegarde posts victory

over Kyne on GPO gallery

Hildegarde Naughton has been ahead of the game in terms of the politics behind the bid to make the building that is home to the current Arts Festival art gallery, behind the GPO, into a permanent cultural space for the city . . .

*For more Bradley Bytes see this week’s Galway City Tribune

 

CITY TRIBUNE

Salthill will NOT have one-way traffic under new cycleway plans

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Salthill will not be reduced to one-way traffic under plans for the new cycleway along the Promenade, following the intervention of the National Transport Authority in the controversy.

It was confirmed yesterday (Thursday) that a design is now being considered to “ensure the widest support possible”.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council – which recently created cycleways in Dublin – will now be involved in the design process.

Last September, city councillors voted in favour of creating a two-way segregated cycle lane along the coastal side of the Prom from Grattan Road to Blackrock as a six-month trial.

However, it subsequently emerged that this would involve introducing one-way traffic along the Prom, with the outbound lane closed to make way for bicycles – this information has not been presented to councillors as they decided to vote on the cycle lane without any prior discussion.

Galway West TD and Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton, subsequently asked the National Transport Authority (NTA) to intervene in the row.

“As a result of a meeting held last week between the NTA and the City Council, I can confirm that both parties are working to review proposals that will meet the objectives of the [City Council] motion while also looking to retain two-way traffic,” she said.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Criminal Assets Bureau targets two Galway families

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Garda raids at seven locations on the east side of the city earlier this week were aimed at ‘hitting in the pocket’ two families alleged to be heavily involved in the drugs trade, the Galway City Tribune has learned.

Close to 100 personnel from different Garda and Customs specialist units were involved in the searches of residences in the Castle Park and Radharc na Gréine estates early on Tuesday morning.

According to Garda sources, they are confident that the raids – which also involved the seizure of a 191 Audi car worth an estimated €45,000+ in the Garryowen area of Limerick – will lead to arrests over the coming weeks and months.

Files have already started to be prepared for forwarding to the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) in relation to the seizures on Tuesday which included €22,000 in cash; £4,450 in sterling; a range of high-value designer goods, as well as the freezing of €17,000 in a bank account.

Searches carried out prior to this week’s operation by specialist Garda units had resulted in the seizure of €18,680 in cash and the freezing of bank accounts to the value of €66,000. Two Rolex watches were also seized – these items have a value which can range between €10,000 and €100,000 each.

The strategy behind the CAB/Garda crackdown on illegal drugs gangs is based on striking at the finances of the local drug barons – as well as the seizure of cash/goods and the freezing of bank accounts, Revenue are closely involved in the ‘monitoring of income’ of the gang members with a view to issuing substantial tax bills.

Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins, who is in charge of crime operations in the Galway Garda Division, said this week’s searches were part of an ongoing operation aimed at tackling the sale and supply of illegal drugs across the city and county.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read more on the raids and Garda Asset Profilers, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cyberattack leaves HSE in the dark on children’s mental health in Galway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The full extent of the waiting list for community mental health services for children is unknown because of the cyberattack on the HSE.

There were 48 young people in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon on a waiting list last March for the community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), according to the HSE.

Most of them were waiting less than 12 weeks, and seven of them were waiting between 12 and 26 weeks.

This is relatively good compared to other Community Healthcare Organisations in other parts of the country – the West made up just 2% of the 2,384 children nationally who were waiting for CAMHS referrals.

But the HSE has conceded that the data is not up to date – and so the full extent of waiting list in the West is not known.

“As a result of the recent cyberattack on HSE systems, the latest set of full data for the number of children waiting to be seen by CAMHS is from March 2021,” said Jim Ryan, Assistant National Director of the National Mental Health Services.

Mr Ryan was responding to a Parliamentary Question submitted by Galway West TD, Noel Grealish (Ind) and supplied to the Galway City Tribune.

He said that CAMHS provides specialist mental health care to children aged up to 18, “who have met the threshold for a diagnosis of moderate to severe mental health disorder that requires the input of a multi-disciplinary mental health teams”.

(Photo: The CAMHS unit at Merlin Park)

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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