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Bradley Bytes

Flush Frankeen digs deep for show of flower power



Bradley Bytes – a sort of  political  column by  Dara Bradley

Auction politics: Frank Fahy, the Fine Gael city councillor, raised the bar on it recently when he revealed he had to flash the cash to keep them sweet in Menlo.

Fianna Fáil’s Ollie Crowe was moaning about the lack of City Council supplied flower pots about the town, and Frank, a taxi driver, agreed with him.

Frank then revealed he had been begging City Hall for ages for a few potted pansies to spruce up his neighbourhood but obviously he’s got no sway with the flower department in the Council because he didn’t get any.

The Council placed 24 planters on the Headford Road between Tesco and the Galway Shopping Centre but couldn’t spare four for poor Frankeen out in Menlo.

To save face among his electorate – who must have pointed out to him that other areas have lovely planters, why don’t we? – Frankeen dug deep into his own pockets and bought four planters for Menlo from his own money.

That put it up to the rest of them. Next time Ollie’s looking for flowers round Bohermore, he’ll have to dip into the tips’ jam jar at Crowe’s bar. 

Two things about Frank’s flower power fund: A) Did Frank use his hoarded Communion money to make the purchase and, if not, since when did taxi drivers, famous for giving the poor mouth spiel, overtake consultants on the salary league tables capable of buying planters for everyone?

And B) are the people of Menlo sorry now they didn’t ask him for something more valuable, like the latest iPhones?

Derek hits bulls-eye as Fine Gael jumps gun

Last week we brought you news of the local Fine Gaelers making announcements about school investments in Galway, ahead of their Government colleagues in the Labour Party.

FG may have been first to break the news but accuracy appears to be the casualty of jumping the gun; and the slower Labourites – presumably tardy with the announcement because they checked their facts – at least got the schools right.

FG Junior Minister Ciaran Cannon announced that ‘Scoil Mhuire, Oranmore’ had been given the go-ahead to tender for a new school building. Great news, except there’s another Scoil Mhuire just down the road in Maree, which neighbours Oranmore . . . and it turns out it was Scoil Mhuire, Maree – known locally as Maree National School – that was getting the lolly, and given the go-ahead to tender for a new school.

But Cannon and FG colleague Brain Walsh announced it as Scoil Mhuire, Oranmore (as did the Education Department) that had been given the go-ahead even though it is still in the early stages of plans for development work, but is not at the stage to go to tender with the project.

Their Labour Party rival, Derek Nolan, who evidently had his finger on the pulse, was two hours slower sending out his release but identified the correct school.

We hear Walsh even went so far as to contact Maree NS to express regret that funding hadn’t been forthcoming by which time the champagne corks were already popped at the teachers’ room round Scoil Mhuire, Maree!

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel. 




Bridie O’Flaherty delivers – from beyond the grave!



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



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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Support your corner shops – while they’re still viable



Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Newsagents and convenience stores are closing in Galway City at a rate that should cause concern.

If it were pubs or restaurants shutting up shop for good, there’d be lobby groups up in arms.

But the small retailers, who sell pints of milk, newspapers, light bulbs, chocolate bars and sliced pans, are disappearing from the city’s retail landscape and nobody is shouting ‘stop’. And it’s not a good thing that they’re gone or going.

There are many reasons for closing and each is unique and particular to each individual shop.

Some of these reasons are straightforward, some are more complex. The bottom line, though, is that our shopping habits as consumers have changed.

There has been a growth in larger supermarkets since the arrival of the German discounters into Ireland. That’s had an impact, for sure.

Lidl and Aldi can buy in bulk and undercut the traditional newsagents that were often family-run businesses, handed down through generations.

More modern petrol stations with a diverse offering of confectionary, freshly-brewed specialist coffees, freshly-prepared breakfast rolls and even bottles of wine, have also heaped pressure on the old-style corner shop.

Covid-19 didn’t help either and hastened the demise of some city centre corner shops. The rising cost of keeping the lights and heat on is another factor.

The shops that survived have had to re-invent their offering.

It’s sad to see. More corner shops will go out of business unless we support them while they’re still viable and before it’s too late.

And when that happens, we’ll be left with generic retail spaces; streetscapes you’d find in any city in Brexit Britain, never mind the capital of the West of Ireland.
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the March 10 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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