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CITY TRIBUNE

Having a gay old time – without Fianna Fáil!

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Bradley Bytes – A Political Column with Dara Bradley 

Gay Pride offers liberal politicians and political parties an opportunity to show how ‘right-on’ they are.
Liberalism is the new religion, and so attending Galway Pride parade, as well as being a practical and welcome show of support to a minority grouping, also offers an opportunity for virtue signalling . . . and some positive PR.
The support of the LGBT+ community has long been coveted by the liberal Left, but now even a traditionally conservative party like Fine Gael – which is led by a gay man, Leo Varadkar – is vying for the pink vote.
The annual Pride parade through the city is an opportunity for political parties to flex their muscles. The number of marchers in the Pride parade offers an unofficial guide to the relevant strength of each political movement, at that particular moment in time. The 2019 edition, the 30th Galway Pride, was no different.
The Social Democrats, the gayest of all parties having sprung up post the marriage equality referendum, has been well represented at Pride ever since it was founded in 2015. There were so many Soc Dems marching in the parade this year – Owen Hanley, a gay Galway City Councillor chief among them – that a rival suggested they must’ve been bussing them in.
The Greens were well represented, too. Back from the brink, and now with two city councillors (Pauline O’Reilly and Martina O’Connor) and one county councillor (Alistair McKinstry), the green revival in the local elections was reflected in their bigger than usual gang at Pride.
The hard left was this year represented by People Before Profit, including Joyless Joe Loughnane, and they’d a decent turnout, although reports that they split due to a rift mid-way down Shop Street couldn’t be confirmed.
Speaking of splits, Sinn Féin, in Galway is divided on whether it should be a socially liberal party, as opposed to a socially conservative one (this divide exists at national level and led to a breakaway party, Aontú being established). Nevertheless, the local Shinners marched in Pride this year, albeit in fewer numbers, with just Mark Lohan and Maireád Farrell, who lost their Council seats in May, joined by a couple of others.
Labour, whose membership is dwindling more than any other leftie party, managed to muster up five marchers, including councillor Niall McNelis and his former Council colleague, the retired Billy Cameron. They had as many marches as SF, and nearly as many as Fine Gael, who in fairness, despite their conservative bent, had the most high-profile turnout of all political parties. The Blueshirts were out in force with Government Chief Whip Seán Kyne, and his constituency colleague, Deputy Hildegarde Naughton, joining new city councillors Eddie Hoare and Classy Clodagh Higgins in the parade. The youth wing of Fianna Fáil (Ógra) was in attendance too, but newbie councillor Alan Cheevers was the only elected member of the Soldiers of Destiny spotted marching at Galway Pride.

Mayor Mike in Milwaukee
Mayor of Galway, Mike Cubbard posted a photograph online last week, of the Galway stand at Milwaukee Irish Fest . . . for more Bradley Bytes read this week’s Galway City Tribune 

CITY TRIBUNE

Council rows back on ‘reduced delays’ projections for Kirwan junction

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists have described it as ‘a disaster’ and a former mayor has said the project gave very poor value for money, but Galway City Council have this week asked the public to be patient with the revamped Kirwan junction, close to the Menlo Park Hotel.

Since the four-arm signalled junction opened early last week, motorists have complained of traffic queues stretching back to the Quincentenary Bridge and Corrib Park.

And now the Council has rowed back on its consultants’ claims that the junction would increase capacity by 15% and reduce waiting times by 25%.

Former mayor and local taxi driver, Cllr Frank Fahy, told the Galway City Tribune that given the negative impact of the junction on traffic, the €5 million spent on the project represented ‘very poor value’ as regards taxpayers’ money.

“I will admit that the junction is now safer for pedestrians in that they can hit a button to give them a safe crossing, but since it opened there have some very serious traffic tailbacks,” said Cllr Fahy.

However, City Council Acting Director of Services for Transport, Uinsinn Finn, told the Galway City Tribune that the new junction needed time to ‘bed in’ with a familiarisation process.

“The main objectives of this project were to make far safer for pedestrians and cyclists to negotiate, as well as making it safer for motorists too, without impacting [negatively] on the traffic flow,” said Mr Finn.

He added that since it opened – and over the coming few weeks – data on all aspects of how the junction was functioning would be compiled which could involve changes to light sequencing, lanes and peak traffic flows.

One motorist who contacted this newspaper said that the daily “nightmare” journey from the Barna Road to the Headford Road during the morning peak traffic time had added up to 40 minutes to his journey time.

“The two lanes are regularly gridlocked from the junction, back the N6, over the Quincentenary Bridge and back to Corrib Park.

“In the mornings, it’s now easier to go down Taylor’s Hill and into town, past Eyre Square and up Bohermore to get down to the Headford Road.

Councillors were told by consultants in 2017 and again in 2018 – when they voted to proceed with the changeover to a junction – that average delays would be reduced by 25% and junction capacity would increase by 15%.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Man hospitalised following Eyre Square assault

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Gardaí have appealed to the public for information into an assault in Eyre Square last weekend which led to a young man being hospitalised.

The victim of the assault – a man in his early 20s from the city area – suffered a cut to his knee and may have had a substance sprayed towards his eyes.

Following the incident – that occurred close to the Eyre Square taxi rank shortly after midnight on Saturday night last – the victim was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Galway.

It is understood that the victim was released later that morning and has made a full recovery. This week, Gardaí are poring over CCTV footage in an effort to try and identify the perpetrators of the assault.

The assailants are understood to have fled on foot after the incident towards St Patrick’s Avenue on the east side of Eyre Square.

A Garda spokesperson has appealed for anyone who was in the vicinity of the taxi rank on Eyre Square between 12 midnight and 12.30am on the Sunday morning (Saturday night) of July 25 last, and who may have witnessed the incident to contact them.

(Photo: the assailants fled on foot towards St Patrick’s Avenue off Eyre Square)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Council turns down controversial phone mast plan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Galway City Council has refused an application by Eircom to erect a 12-metre telecoms mast in a housing estate in Knocknacarra.

The local authority turned down the company’s application for planning permission to install the structure in the heart of Drom Óir over concerns that it would create a visual obstruction in a residential area – and would have a detrimental impact on property prices.

Eircom had also sought retention to keep a concrete foundation for the mast in situ after it was forced to abandon works earlier this year, amid protests from residents in Drom Óir and Leitir Burca. This was also rejected.

City planners issued the company with a warning letter in April to cease works after contractors on site drew the ire of nearby residents, who accused Eircom of seeking to install the mast ‘by stealth’.

A total of 26 letters of objection were submitted to the Council from residents of the two estate.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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