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Own goals abound – but Shatter fall tops all

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Alan Shatter

World of Politics with Harry McGee – harrymcgee@gmail.com

Well it certainly was an equal opportunities week for political parties shooting themselves in the foot.  First there was Sinn Féin contradicting its own arguments on policing standards when criticising the arrest of Gerry Adams.

Then there was Fianna Fáil making a dog’s dinner out of the Mary Hanafin nomination. It was a Lannigan’s Ball performance only that Mary was not willing to step out again when the party told her that her selection to stand on the party ticket was actually a de-selection from standing on the party ticket.

The net effect? It’s more or less guaranteed her election and could also result in Kate Feeney, her running mate, also getting elected.

That kind of sparring generates interest and raises profile. Look at how the spat between Mairead McGuinness and Avril Doyle sorted itself out in 2004. Both of them got elected.

This time around Fianna Fáil may very well buck the trend and win two seats in Fine Gael-dominated Dún Laoghaire when it ought to have won only won. Fianna Fáil has still made a complete mess of it but gets rewarded for its own incompetence.

The third foot wound that was self-inflicted was the most serious. Alan Shatter had been an embattled minister for some months but most people were of the opinion that he had weathered the storm. But lightning sometimes strikes twice in the world of politics.

He had a bad enough start to the week when the Data Commissioner Billy Hawkes criticised his action in releasing personal information on TV about a minor incident where the independent TD Mick Wallace was observed by Gardaí using a mobile phone in his car while waiting for traffic lights to change.

But then thunderbolt was delivered on Wednesday when a solemn Taoiseach informed the Dáil that Shatter had resigned. When one read senior counsel Sean Guerin’s report the reasons became apparent. Guerin inquired into a dossier of ten cases compiled by Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe, alleging incompetence and malpractice in investigations carried out by Gardaí.

What was most damaging was his analysis of the response of the Minister and the Department of Justice. Essentially, there were statutory obligations to inquire into and investigate the claims as long they were not frivolous or vexatious. Guerin found that that wasn’t done, that the Minister, and his officials, had accepted “without question” the work of senior Gardaí.

Had they carried out their own investigation or inquiry, Guerin found, they would have found that the allegations contained in the dossier were substantial.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Mayor’s malevolent mimic strikes with sick message

Dara Bradley

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

It was late on Monday night, November 16, when a male Galway City councillor’s phone rang repeatedly.

When the calls went unanswered, at half past midnight his phone pinged, signalling a WhatsApp had been received.

The message, purporting to be from Mayor Mike Cubbard, disgusted the recipient.

It said: “Please answer your phone, this is an emergency my c*ck has swollen to four or five times its normal size.” The texter left a message suggesting a solution which involved the councillor’s wife.

Mayor Mike hadn’t sent the message. This was just another sinister development and escalation in the ongoing online impersonation of the Independent councillor by a twisted and sick individual with a grudge.

Weeks earlier, Mayor Mike’s malevolent mimic sent a series of WhatsApp texts to a young, good-looking, left-leaning Dublin City Councillor. She, too, was shocked.

The person purporting to be Mayor Mike expressed a desire to see this woman’s breasts “bounce up and down” while they had sex. “What a man gotta do?”, it said.

That’s the PG version; the language used in the actual message was incredibly derogatory and coarse.

It wasn’t the first message sent to this elected representative purporting to be from Mayor Mike.

“I hope that didn’t come across weird,” said one message, and God only knows what ‘that’ referred to.

Another asked her if she was “still interested in taking part?” Again, Mayor Mike shudders to think what sort of sick event this woman was being invited to take part in, in his name. Not nice on his wife or kids to have those kind of messages going around, with his name attached.

The targeting of Mayor Mike began in mid-October. Several Galway City Councillors got messages purporting to be from Cubbard, like this one sent to Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG). “Hi Ed I am just passing on new contact number as I had to have phone repaired thanks.”

Using this ‘new’ number, the person pretending to be Mayor Mike created a WhatsApp group with several councillors, and messaged: “Hi all just think it is good for us to keep in communication with each other as a group can you please add those who I have missed as I do not have access to everyone’s number thanks Mike.”

Jessica Fletcher-like Cllr Owen Hanley (Soc Dem) smelt a rat, and replied: “You’ve missed someone. The mayor.”

He then took a screenshot and alerted the real Mayor Mike to what had happened.

That was October 15, days after Mayor Mike was vocal about right-wing anti-mask protestors. Since then at least two councillors have received sexually explicit messages.

Mayor Mike’s fear is that many more councillors received similar sexual innuendo, believing it to be from him. And he’s right to worry; one screenshot reveals that the impersonator had 68 unopened messages, presumably replies.

The Gardaí are investigating, but we should be worried – an attack on the mayor is an attack on us all, and on local democracy.
For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Grandparents are the glue that became unstuck during Covid

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

IT goes without saying that lockdown has been hard for everyone – with the possible exception of hermits – but few have felt it more than grandparents, confined to barracks and deprived of those hugs from the grandchildren.

Looking at them through windows may only have made it worse, because little kids don’t understand why nana and granddad won’t come out; they don’t realise they want to, more than anything in the whole world.

This pandemic has given us plenty of time to reflect; a chance to remember what is truly important and what we should cherish instead of taking for granted.

And arguably, grandparents should be on top of that list.

You’ll have heard it said that being a grandparent is like you’ve been given a second chance; an opportunity to spend time in retirement with the next generation that work deprived you of when it came to your own.

There’s also a notion espoused by some of those grandparents that you love them more than your own kids, because this time, when you’re finished playing with them, you can give them back.

I never knew any of my four grandparents, because they were all dead before I was born. My own sons never knew my parents because they too had long departed before the next generation arrived.

But thankfully they did grow up with two grandparents as an integral part of their lives – and not just minding them, which they did with a commitment for which we will be ever grateful.

The measure of success in this department is that your children see your parents as just a part of the family; there’s an easy familiarity every time they meet, just like picking up the pieces without a second thought.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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Connacht Tribune

Galway square up to Limerick a little earlier than we anticipated

John McIntyre

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Galway’s Padraic Mannion breaking away from Tipperary’s Paul Flynn during Saturday's All-Ireland hurling quarter-final at the Gaelic Grounds. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

After the initial skirmishes in the hurling championship, the widespread perception was that Limerick and Galway were the two best teams out there, leading to an anticipation that next month’s final would end being a repeat pairing of the 2018 decider.

Of course, that assumption was premised on both teams staying winning, but after Galway were caught napping by Kilkenny in the Leinster Final all bets were off. Now as it transpires Galway and Limerick will be meeting after all except it will be earlier than expected – a semi-final instead of a final.

From the outset, Galway have been burdened with the mantle of being the only team which has the capacity to stand up to Limerick physically. It’s a fair assessment when you shift through the imposing figures on the Tribesmen team, notably Daithí Burke, Joseph Cooney, Fintan Burke, Gearóid McInerney, Joe Canning and Conor Cooney.

They have several other six footers plus as well and given the vast experience in their ranks, it’s probably accurate to suggest that if Galway can’t stop Limerick no team can. But how good are Limerick? I for one don’t think they are quite as formidable as some commentators would have us believe.

If we go back to the 2018 final, remember Galway had come into that game possibly fatigued after being taken to replays by both Kilkenny and Clare. They conceded three goals from turnovers; were eight points down after 68 minutes, and were still only beaten by a point as the Shannonsiders staggered over the line.

Furthermore, they were taken out in last year’s semi-final by an average Kilkenny team – granted their average is higher than everybody else’s – which ended up losing the final by 14 points to Tipperary. More recently, they had a lot of troubled passages in their Munster Final triumph over Waterford.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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