Greens back Nigerian woman to challenge Cheevers in Galway City East


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Greens back Nigerian woman to challenge Cheevers in Galway City East Greens back Nigerian woman to challenge Cheevers in Galway City East

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Galway City East is probably the most diverse of the city’s three electoral wards.

Doughiska and Roscam have large populations of what we call the ‘new Irish’ who, up until the last local election, felt a bit detached from the political system and the local elected representatives who are supposed to represent them.

Fianna Fáil’s Alan Cheevers changed that. After he lost out on a Council seat in 2014, Cheesy Cheevers targeted the votes of migrants who made Galway City East their homes.

Five years later, the communities of Roscam and Doughiska rewarded Cheevers’ hard work with a seat.

At the time, he credited those two areas, and particularly their diverse communities, for his electoral success.

“People in the Doughiska and Roscam community got behind me. There are 42 nationalities there, who feel under-represented over the last number of years. It was important for me to get elected for the 7,500 people in those two areas,” he told the Tribune after triumphing in 2019.

Black Africans made up a significant portion of his support base. East Europeans, too.

He’ll be hoping to retain their support next year to retain his seat.

But he won’t have it all his own way. The Green Party has announced that Joyce Mathias, a Nigerian, will contest the election in City East next year.

A black woman, who immigrated to Ireland 20 years ago and sees Ireland as home, is aiming to become the first person of colour to be elected to City Hall.

According to the party, Joyce Mathias advocates for social justice here as well as her native country.

“Her humanitarian work in Nigeria includes visits to rural schools to motivate the students on benefits of education. She also visits the prisons to advocate for those wrongfully imprisoned.

“Here in Ireland she has fundraised for LauraLynn, Mater Foundation, Pieta House, Mental Health Ireland and Trócaire,” the Green Party said of the post-graduate of University of Galway who studied Strategy, Innovation and People Management.

Her entrance into the race could put pressure on Cheevers’ first preference votes among the African community.

But as a representative of that community, even Councillor Cheevers will acknowledge that a black African face on the ballot paper will make that ballot paper more representative of the area he represents.

(Photo: City Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF), with Joyce Mathias, Green Party candidate in City East (left) and the Nigerian Ambassador to Ireland, Ijeoma Obiezu, at the Cumasú Centre in Doughiska last week).
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the March 31 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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