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
Titans return to the national league for coming season
TITANS BC is returning to the national league for the upcoming 2020/21 season, one of four new teams that will compete in the Men’s Division 1 this year.
The city side will play in the Northern Conference of the league alongside fellow new sides, Drogheda Wolves and Malahide, along with Ulster University from Belfast; LYIT from Donegal; Sligo All-Stars; and Dublin Lions and Tolka Rovers from Dublin.
That looks to be the easier of the two conferences: Dublin Lions were relegated from the Super League at the end of last season, LYIT finished 5th in Division 1, Sligo finished 8th, Ulster University finished 9th, and Tolka Rovers finished 10th in a 12-team league competition that ran as a single league, rather than split into two conferences.
With four new teams for the coming season – Team Kerry are the 4th new side – Division 1 is returning to a split conference format, and all the heavy-hitters would appear to be in the Southern Conference.
Team Kerry will be joined by fellow Killarney side, St Paul’s, which finished second in the league last season, as well as Cork’s Fr Mathews and IT Carlow, who finished 3rd and 4th respectively.
Limerick Celtics and Limerick Eagles, who finished 6th and 7th, are also in the Southern Conference, as well as last season’s bottom two, WIT Waterford and Portlaoise Panthers.
Titans took a one-year hiatus from the league last season, having endured a torrid 2018/19 campaign when it finished with the worst record in the league, winning just two of its 23 league games to finish bottom of the Northern Conference.
Maree and Moycullen will once again represent Galway in the Men’s Super League, which is also being split into a two-conference format, with six teams in each conference. However, while Titans will be looking north for their main opposition, Maree and Moycullen will be looking in the opposite direction as both have been placed in the South Conference.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
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Group hurling ties to be restricted to supporters of participating teams
NO neutrals will be allowed to attend the opening round of the revamped Galway senior hurling championship which is scheduled to start in little more than a fortnight’s time.
A gathering of 500 – likely to also include the rival players and mentors – will be restricted to each group game, with the participating clubs set to be allocated around 200 tickets each for sale/distribution ahead of the fixture.
A mechanism has still to be sorted for this process, but matches will be restricted to Galway’s three county grounds: Pearse Stadium, Kenny Park, Athenry and Duggan Park, Ballinasloe, along with Loughrea. Killimor was the fifth venue in consideration for hosting senior games, but redevelopment work at the ground has ruled out that prospect.
The full round of 12 group ties will go ahead on the weekend ending July 26, but there will be no double headers. Instead, games at the same venues will be staged four hours apart to allow sanitisation of the various grounds.
Only people with tickets will gain entry to the games and there will be no cash taken at the turnstiles.
Street fight thugs from viral video outside Garda HQ avoid jail
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Two men and a woman who were involved in a ‘staged’ fistfight outside the new Garda HQ in Renmore were warned they will serve prison sentences if they don’t stay off social media for two years.
Suspended sentences were imposed on all three over the incident which was recorded on mobile phone and footage went viral on social media.
The altercation between John Maughan (27), formerly of Rinville Park, Oranmore, who now lives in Dublin, and Patrick Maughan (31), of 122 Laurel Park, Newcastle, was filmed on Patrick Maughan’s phone by his wife, Ellen Maughan (31), who is John Maughan’s sister.
The footage was uploaded that evening to YouTube, where it gained a lot of traction.
Galway District Court heard this week the trio were sitting in their cars when Gardaí arrived at the scene within a matter of minutes.
They were subsequently charged with affray at Dublin Road, Murrough, Renmore, on November 2, 2018, in that all three used or threatened to use violence towards each other, thereby putting other people present in fear for their own safety and the safety of others.
Both men were also charged with breaching the peace.
Garda Pat Casey told the sentence hearing the incident occurred at 2.30pm on the main road between GMIT and the Garda HQ.
He said the men’s cars met, whether by accident or design, at that location where they got out and had a fist fight in the middle of the road.
Judge Mary Fahy asked if the location chosen for the fight, right outside the new Garda HQ, was deliberate.
Garda Casey said the men claimed they met by accident, “but that was where they met”, he added.
“The inference is they did it deliberately outside the Station to make it even better on social media. They are an absolute disgrace to do that in public and to do it in front of their children,” Judge Fahy said.
This is a shortened preview version of this court report. To read the article in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.