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Galway’s Spice Girls add colour – and clout

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Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Galway sisters are doing it for themselves. Well, not quite. But we have counted a fair few members of the ‘fairer sex’ having declared for the local elections.

The current City Council has five women: Terry ‘Polltopper’ O’Flaherty (Ind), Nuala Nolan (Lab), Michelle Murphy (FG), Catherine Connolly (Ind) and Collette Connolly (Lab).

There are 10 men, of course, but that’s still means a third of representatives are women. Not reflective of the general populace in the city but far better than Dáil Éireann where women are more likely to be cleaners of our national parliament than members of it.

Just 15% of the country’s 166 TDs are women. Fianna Fáil has no female TDs, a major problem as it tries to rebuild from electoral oblivion.

All of the five women are going for re-election (Nuala and Michelle weren’t elected but co-opted to fill Derek Nolan and Hildergarde Naughton’s seats).

And they’ll be joined by five more female candidates, making it 10 females so far who have declared for the City Council race by our reckoning.

The others include: Nicola Deacy (FF), Anna Marley (SF), Margo Kelly (FG), Mairéad Farrell (SF) and Monica Coughlan (Lab).

There are three electoral wards but it is over in Galway City East where the battle for the female vote will be most hotly contest.

Sitting councillors, Polltopper and Nuala have competition from three other women, (Kelly, Coughlan and Farrell) as they vie for six seats.

In the City Central Ward, Collette faces competition from just two women, Marley and Deacy, in the pursuit of six seats.

Over in City West, sitting members Catherine Connolly and Murphy appear to have a free-run and are the only female candidates declared.

It’ll be interesting to see when the boxes are open if having more women in a ward, or less, is better in terms of electing women. For example, will the east ward, with five female candidates, split the women’s vote; or will the transfers of five women, properly proportioned, elect more women than the other two wards?

Of course, the real power lies with the executive. It is mostly men, headed by Brendan McGrath, the city manager. Although in fairness, Edel McCormack, a formidable female, holds the purse-strings as the Director of Services for Finance.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

Connacht Tribune

A Moycullen win would add badly needed spice to football’s big day

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Conor Reddington of Annaghdown and Tuam Stars' Adam Carton in action during the North Board Minor B football final at Tuam Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

BEFORE a ball was kicked in this year’s Galway senior championship, the smart money would have been on champions Corofin, Tuam Stars, Salthill/Knocknacarra and Mountbellew/Moylough making it to the semi-finals if they managed to keep out of each other’s way on the road to the penultimate stage off the title race.

Unfortunately, for a Salthill team which, in any event, didn’t scale their expected heights this year, they came up against the champions in the quarter-finals where the Seasiders’ challenge was dismissed in convincing fashion. It was business as usual for Corofin who remain odds on to claim a record-breaking eighth consecutive title.

With Tuam Stars edging out Bearna after extra-time, a Paul Kelly goal helping Moycullen get the better of St James’, and Mountbellew/Moylough powering home against 14-man Killannin, it means that three of last year’s semi-finalists are back seeking a place in the Galway decider this weekend. Mountbellew/Moylough are the odd ones out having fallen to Corofin in the 2019 quarter-finals.

Val Daly’s troops will need the performance of the lives to overturn club’s football’s dominant power, especially as they continue to field without county player John Daly – a son of their manager. Of course, they are not without a chance and if the likes of Michael Daly, Matthew Barrett, Eoin Finnerty, Eoin Ryan and Barry McHugh hit the ground running, they could give Corofin a searching time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Greens see red on gold rush

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Opposition is intensifying to the prospect of a licence being awarded to Canadian gold prospectors planning to explore the heart of Connemara.

Environmental campaigners have warned of the dangers of awarding a prospecting licence to Toronto-based MOAG to mine for gold and silver in land around Roundstone, Ballyconneely and Ballynahinch.

They claim the exploration could devastate water supplies, tourism, wildlife – and also led to tensions in the local community.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton has indicated he intends to grant a prospecting licence to the company to explore for the valuable minerals in townlands in Ballynahinch Barony.

The licence allows the holder to explore for mineral deposits, and does not authorise mining of any materials that are found – that requires further licensing.

And Minister Bruton’s Department insists that the activities permitted under this licence are “non-invasive” and “of minimal environmental impact”.

However, campaigners have warned of the dangers mining can have on Connemara, and have urged the public to object before July 6.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Controversial Ballinasloe landfill prepares for closure

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The Galway dump that forced householders to close their windows during the hottest of summers will take in waste for the last time during the middle of this year.

The pong the emanated from the landfill site in Kilconnell will be no more as it will cease accepting waste by the end of June next year.

Ballinasloe area councillors were told how Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site following the liquidation of the former operators Greenstar.

The Council agreed to accept 300,000 tons of municipal waste over a three-year period and this will come to an end by the middle of next year, after which the dump will be capped and closed the following year.

Director of Services Jim Cullen informed a meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council that following the closure of the dump, there would be long term care of the site to ensure that there would be no adverse environmental issues.

When Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site, an allocation of €300,000 was provided by the Department of the Environment for local projects.

Of this, €120,000 has been given to the area engineer to spend at his discretion and the remaining €180,000 has been dispersed equally among the six Ballinasloe councillors – resulting in each getting €30,000 to spend on projects in their area.

It is expected that a further €300,000 will be allocated to organisations within a certain radius of the landfill site and a committee made up of Cllr Aidan Donohue (FG), Cllr Dermot Connolly (SF) and Cllr Timmy Broderick (Ind) to decide how this fund will be dispersed.

For years, the dump in Kilconnell caused annoyance for local residents because of the smells emanating from the site and many householders say that it is still a major problem.

Cllr Michael Finnerty warned about the possibility of a run-off of leachate – a liquid that drains from landfill sites that can cause pollution – from the site into the future.

He said that he attended a meeting in Ballinasloe in which residents expressed concern about a leachate run-off from the old dump in Poolboy which has been closed down for years.

He was assured by Mr Cullen that the situation in Poolboy was being continually monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency but he would investigate these claims.

With regard to the closure of the dump in Kilconnell, Cllr Aidan Donohue said that he was not convinced about the ongoing maintenance of the site into the future.

He said when the landfill site in New Inn was closed many years ago, the Council just walked away and left the site in an unacceptable state.

The Fine Gael councillor was referring to suggestions that the Kilconnell site might have future potential and may be an asset but he cited what happened in New Inn when he said that it was just abandoned.

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