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Government ministers hiding as Galway violence escalates

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From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Government ministers hiding as Galway violence escalates Government ministers hiding as Galway violence escalates

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Simon Harris, the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, was due in Galway on Tuesday of this week, to make a “significant announcement”.

On the evening before the Fine Gael TD was due in the city to unveil investment in GRETB training centres in Clonbur and Mervue, his advisors tipped off local media of his impending arrival and availability for interviews.

Then, on Tuesday morning, an email from the Minister’s office confirmed that the opportunity for reporters to speak with Minister Harris had been cancelled.

“This event is now not going ahead due to unforeseen circumstances,” the Department’s press office said.

His handler also confirmed as much on Tuesday morning. “Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Minister will no longer be travelling to Galway today, I’m afraid. However the announcements of capital funding at both locations may still be proceeding,” he said.

Nobody elaborated on what these “unforeseen circumstances” were.  But cynics speculated that they related to a senior Government Minister wanting to avoid questioning on the shameful ongoing violence and lawlessness in Galway that has escalated in the past week.

The city has been gripped by fear after videos of disgraceful law-breaking clogged residents’ WhatsApp chats and went viral on social media. People are on edge, wondering when and where the next violent outburst will be and whether innocent bystanders will become victims.

We don’t know for sure why Simon Harris, at the eleventh hour, decided to cancel his Galway visit.

But if you were the man who was stand-in Minister for Justice for months, up to June of this year, covering for Helen McEntee’s maternity leave, wouldn’t you want to keep a low profile while RTÉ beams footage of Galway resembling a warzone into homes across the country?

If you were a Fine Gael leader-in-waiting, like Harris, and one of your competitors for that top job was McEntee, wouldn’t you cancel your little jaunt to Galway, if you thought your ‘good-news-announcement’ was going to be completely overshadowed by questions from pesky journalists about criminal behaviour rampant on the city’s streets?

Or as one Galway TD put it to us, off the record: “Why would he take Helen’s heat?”

Perhaps it was a happy coincidence that ‘unforeseen circumstances’ meant Harris dodged difficult questions during a planned interview. But if it was as the cynics suggested, you’d have to fear for the future of the self-proclaimed party of law and order!
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the September 15 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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