Galway housing the ‘political football’ for Civil War parties


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Galway housing the ‘political football’ for Civil War parties Galway housing the ‘political football’ for Civil War parties

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

“Apologies for the mishap,” mumbled Mayor Eddie Hoare (FG) as he struggled to regain control and order during tetchy exchanges at Monday’s City Council meeting.

The apology was shamed out of him by Fianna Fáil Councillor Peter Keane (pictured), miffed that the mayor had disregarded his democratic mandate.

And as ‘mishaps’ go, not bothering to count the votes of councillors who were opposed to a proposal that the mayor supported was an embarrassing one for the First Citizen chairing the meeting. It’s pretty much lesson one of vote-taking: record the votes of those for AND against – abstentions and absentees – not just the winning side.

The proposal voted on was a simple one. But there’s nothing simple about politics – not with a local election around the corner. And so, matters escalated.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien will be in Galway next Monday. He’s Fianna Fáil.

Councillor Clodagh Higgins, (she’s Fine Gael), said this February marked the one-year anniversary of a Notice of Motion that was unanimously passed, inviting O’Brien to meet elected representatives to discuss housing delivery and planning.

The request was also extended to Fine Gael’s Kieran O’Donnell, Junior Minister with responsibility for planning; and Eamon Ryan, Green Party leader and Transport Minister.

Twelve months on, all three ministers have not acceded to the request.

So Clodagh proposed another motion this week. It again asked O’Brien to meet with councillors about housing delivery and planning; he’ll be in Galway meeting City Council Acting Chief Executive Patricia Philbin anyway.

MJ Crowe (Fianna Fáil) queried why Ryan and O’Donnell were not invited too.

Clodagh claimed O’Donnell had agreed to meet, but it was O’Brien who was visiting Galway next week, not her party colleague.

John Connolly (Fianna Fáil) wondered, if O’Donnell had agreed to meet, why the meeting with him hadn’t taken place. Patricia Philbin could not confirm whether O’Donnell had replied to the invite or not.

Clodagh accused MJ of turning the issue into a “political football”. MJ said it was not personal, it was political. This, according to Clodagh, proved her point – he was politicising the motion. MJ argued it was Clodagh who had made it political. He insinuated that by singling out the Fianna Fáil minister and not including the Green or Fine Gael ministers, as per the original motion of February 2023, it was Clodagh who created the political football – and kicked it.

When it came to a vote, Mayor Eddie moved on to the next item on the agenda after hearing 13 councillors were in favour. He failed to acknowledge the votes of three Fianna Fáilers who opposed the motion, until Peter Keane reminded him he was “in the middle of a vote”.

Ironic, in a way, because ignoring the Motion is exactly what Minister Darragh O’Brien will do next Monday during his Galway visit!
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the February 16 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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