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
Hospital worker failed to self isolate after trip to red-list country
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Management at University Hospital Galway have been asked to investigate ‘as a matter of urgency’ an allegation that a security employee at the hospital returned to work within the 14-day restriction period after coming back from a ‘red-list’ country.
The person has already worked at least two shifts at the hospital – including looking after an elderly patient – despite the fact that the restriction period would not have expired until this Sunday, September 20.
The Galway City Tribune can reveal that in a letter from SIPTU official to a senior UHG manager, it is alleged there was breach of protocol over recent days by an employee of an outsourced security company.
According to the letter to Services Manager Geoff Ginnety, while the worker was not covered under HSE employee rules, “they still must comply with the Government issued protocols”.
The letter from SIPTU states that the worker in question had told his colleagues that he was in a red-listed country and that ‘he did not have to restrict his movements’ for 14 days and could return to work.
“I request that you [Services Manager at UHG] address these concerns as a matter of urgency and provide clear guidance on how to deal with the issue,” the SIPTU letter states.
According to information accessed by the Galway City Tribune, the employee in question returned from a red-listed country on September 6 last and underwent a test for Covid-19 five days later on September 11.
Shortly after that, according to his employers, the results of his Covid tests came back as negative. The Galway City Tribune understands that he returned to his night-shift work on Tuesday night, September 15, and also worked the Wednesday night shift of September 16.
This newspaper has also been informed by reliable sources that on his first night back on duty the employee was left in charge of an elderly patient, while on his second night back at work, he was dutied to the Emergency Department.
When contacted by the Galway City Tribune, a spokesperson for the HSE said that they could not comment on issues relating to individual staff.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Leisureland sinks with €20,000 per week losses
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The plug is being pulled on Leisureland – leaving hundreds of swimmers, mostly children, and trainee lifeguards, high and dry.
Galway Salthill Fáilte CLG, the company that operates the publicly-owned facility, has confirmed it plans to shut down its swimming pool and gym, leaving members of six aquatic clubs, hundreds of schoolchildren, and the general public, without an amenity for the foreseeable future.
Swimming clubs fear they will lose a whole generation of young swimmers in Galway if the pool closes. And they have warned that it could end up costing €1 million to repair and reopen the pool after a prolonged closure.
Leisureland blamed the impact of coronavirus for its financial woes, with losses running at an average of €20,000 per week.
The company said that by August it had already spent its annual €300,000 subsidy subvention from Galway City Council, and the local authority has indicated it is not in a position to increase the subsidy further in 2020.
The planned closure – which could result in the furloughing of over 20 staff from next month – has shocked the local aquatic community.
A lengthy hiatus with Leisureland closed will mean Galway will lose a ‘whole generation’ of swimmers, according to Eamon Caulfield, President of Galway Swimming Club and member and former chairperson of Corrib Water Polo Club.
“We’re particularly upset and aggrieved that this is going ahead, it’s shocking. They should be looking to reverse this decision,” he said this week.
The majority of the five aquatic clubs that use the facility (Galway SC, Shark SC, Laser SC and Tribes and Corrib water polo clubs) are made up of children aged 10-18, including some international athletes. Hundreds of children from Galway schools also learn to swim there.
A water safety group has been using the pool every Sunday morning since it opened in 1973, he said.
“Historically it is where Galway gets its lifeguards from. How can you not have swim lessons in a public pool? How can you not have water safety taught in a pool in Galway?
“It beggars belief, we’re on the sea. The water safety people, where are they going to go, how are we going to get lifeguards for beaches? How are we going to get teachers for teaching swimming?” asked Mr Caulfield.
The clubs have roughly 150 members each and generate €150,000 revenue annually for Leisureland.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full version, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Galway Gardaí get more than 1,000 house party calls
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway Gardaí have responded to more 1,000 house calls relating to house parties during the pandemic from mid-March to early September – the vast majority of them in the city area, it was revealed this week.
Chief Superintendent, Tom Curley, told the Galway City Tribune, that the figures for house party Garda call-outs were ‘startling’ and a source of major concern.
“This is a no-brainer. For anyone thinking of a house party, the simple message is – don’t do it. A serious amount of Garda time is now being spent dealing with house-party related incidents,” he said.
Between March 18 and September 1 this year, the Galway Garda Division responded to 1,034 house-party related calls, most of them in the city area.
“This a real and pressing issue not only for the Gardaí and the health authorities but also for the general public at large.
“Large numbers of people gathering in an enclosed house setting can be potentially disastrous in terms of our efforts to contain the spread of this virus. House parties are out – it’s as simple as that,” said Chief Supt Curley.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read more on Covid in Galway, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.