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Bradley Bytes

Galway’s culture – you won’t find it in fancy 2020 bid books

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Spot the difference: Senator Hildegarde Naughton’s ‘entitlements’ leaflet on the left, and party colleague’s, Deputy John O’Mahony’s, on the right.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Now that Galway has been short-listed for the European Capital of Culture 2020 – well done Galway, ya ride ya – it is perhaps an apt time to ponder the city’s culture.

We mean Galway’s real culture. Of the variety you won’t find in any official ‘bid book’. Or #IBackGalway hash-tags trending on Twitter.

Think Galway’s drink culture; where getting scuttered after a day watching horses run around a field, or while wearing a Donegal GAA jersey at 10am while waiting for student pubs to open on a certain Tuesday, is socially acceptable. Drunkenness is such a cultural norm in Galway you could fill an entire bid book on it.

So too our culture of treating people with mental health like they’re pariahs. Galway, where we have a culture of closing mental health beds in Ballinasloe, and cramming mentally ill patients into a psychiatric unit in University Hospital Galway (UHG) where they must first pass through the overcrowded Emergency Department.

A culture exists where patients expressing suicidal thoughts could just as easily be told to ‘take an overdose’ in order to get into the psychiatric unit, and those who are in there can abscond and take their own life. And there’s no outrage . . . sure isn’t it part of our culture?

Of course psychiatric patients aren’t the only ones treated with contempt in culturally diverse Galway. We also have a culture of allowing sick, vulnerable and often elderly patients wait on trolleys for hours on end in corridors of the Emergency Department.

It is now a cultural norm to spend hours in ED . . . and if you’re lucky enough to get seen in the ED described by the Taoiseach as “not fit for purpose” and have been treated but have no nursing home to go to, it’s your fault and you’re a bed-blocker.

And what about our culture of profligacy? This is a city where a culture of paying shed-loads of money for things we don’t need/nobody wants, like a revamped Eyre Square or an art house cinema, prevails. That’s not in any bid-book either.

We could go on – Galway’s culture of discrimination of Travellers, of electing gombeen politicians, of teachers and their children sleeping rough in their cars, of spending hours and hours on end in traffic jams and so on and so forth – but you get the drift.

So every time over the course of the next year you hear someone talk about ‘backing Galway’ in its bid for city of culture, spare a thought for Galway’s true cultural heroes, the three Ps: the pissheads, and the pariah psychiatric patients, and the bottomless-pits of money wasted on projects.

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

CITY TRIBUNE

New Year but same rules at ‘meetings about meetings’

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During an eight-hour Council meeting on City Development Plan on Friday, Cllr Eddie Hoare was in Bekan, co-commentating for Galway Bay FM on a senior FBD league football match between Galway and Roscommon.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

At 3.44pm, forty-four minutes into the first City Council meeting of 2022, councillors decided how they would meet for the remainder of January, including having at least three more meetings.

That it took three-quarters of an hour to get to a stage where they voted by a majority that meetings would be conducted online only, until they decide otherwise at another meeting, possibly in February, shouldn’t be all that surprising for anyone who follows these things at City Hall.

But still, even by Galway City Council standards, it was quite something.

The procedures committee met the previous Thursday but failed to agree unanimously that meetings would go online-only. Fianna Fáil, through its councillor on the committee, MJ Crowe, pushed for hybrid meetings, a blend of in-person and online. When agreement wasn’t reached, it went before a full Council to decide.

The first mistake at the Monday meeting, though, was that nobody thought to put it on the agenda.

Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) attempted to introduce the item. There had been no agreement at the procedures committee meeting but, because of the Omicron variant, meetings should move online, she said.

“I don’t see it on the agenda,” said Crowe. “It affects the meetings going forward – we have to deal with it,” replied Colette.

Ailish Rohan, meetings administrator, chimed in. “We’re in a pandemic . . .”

If it was that important, it should be on the agenda, countered MJ.

“It was agreed it would be on the agenda. It’s not on the agenda,” he said. Speaking to Ailish, MJ said it was “not up to you to decide what’s on the agenda”. There were rules governing meetings called standing orders, he said, and suggested people should familiarise themselves with those rules. Ouch.

Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said that the agenda for Monday’s meeting had been sent out on Wednesday, the day before the procedures committee met, so it could not have been put on the agenda.

Couldn’t the Council have sent out a supplementary agenda on Friday, after the procedures committee stalemate asked Mike, rhetorically.

Niall McNelis (Lab) wondered how it could now be put on the agenda; Donal Lyons (Ind) made a formal proposal to that effect. But this being the City Council, that proposal couldn’t just be taken, because you can’t change the agenda will-nilly.

The solution? Standing orders had to be suspended, as per the rulebook. How did nobody think of that beforehand?

Eventually they voted 17-0 to suspend standing orders. No such unanimity on the substantive issue of online meetings, though. FF and Declan McDonnell (Ind) argued for in-person to continue, the rest argued against, with a little help from Council staff. Too much help, according to Declan. “With all due respect,” he began. “The meetings administrator should not be coming in after every speaker!”

Ailish had the final say on this matter, though. She read out the roll-call vote on the proposal for online-only meetings – 12 for, five against.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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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.

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

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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