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How much did councillors spend per vote received?

Dara Bradley



Cllr Mike Cubbard ran a frugal election campaign, spending just €1.67 per vote received

Bradley Bytes – A Sort of Political Column with Dara Bradley 

Councillors have filed their Statements of Expenditure listing the amount of money they spent on their campaigns to get elected to Galway City Council in May.

All 18 of them were elected, so it was money well spent, but who got more bang for their buck?

We’ve had a gawk at the files to find out how much each City Councillor spent on posters, canvass literature, advertising etcetera, vis-à-vis the number of votes received.

Fine Gael newcomer, Clodagh Higgins, spent the most of any candidate in the 2019 local election – her total expenses incurred were €6,139. And Classy Clodagh also spent the most of any city councillor per vote received – each of her 811 first preference votes cost her €7.56 in election expenditure.

Iron Mike Cubbard, who went on to become mayor, got the most value per vote out of his local election spend compared with the 17 other councillors elected.

Iron Mike (Ind) spent €2,161 on electioneering, and won 1,292 first preferences, which works out at just €1.67 per vote.

The only other councillor to spend less than €2 per vote, was Fianna Fáil’s comeback kid, John Connolly – an election outlay of €1,251 for a campaign that was rewarded with 734 first preferences, or €1.70 per vote.

Here’s a list of the remaining 15 councillors and the amount of money they spent on their campaigns per first preference vote received, from highest to lowest:

Mike Crowe (FF) €6.86 per vote
Frank Fahy (FG) €6.57 per vote
Peter Keane (FF) €6.38 per vote
Owen Hanley (Soc Dem) €5.77 per vote
Niall McNelis (Lab) €5.47 per vote
Eddie Hoare (FG) €5.23 per vote
Declan McDonnell (Ind) €4.75 per vote
Noel Larkin (Ind) €3.57 per vote
Ollie Crowe (FF) €3.70 per vote
Colette Connolly (Ind) €2.92 per vote
Martina O’Connor (Greens) €2.67 per vote
Pauline O’Reilly (Greens) €2.56 per vote
Terry O’Flaherty (Ind) €2.42 per vote
Alan Cheevers (FF) €2.39 per vote
Donal Lyons (Ind) €2.10 per vote

For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune 



Patients moved from Merlin ‘to bolster private numbers’

Enda Cunningham



Merlin Park: Patients were moved to private hospital.

Health Minister Simon Harris has said he will ask the HSE why patients requiring rehab services were moved from Merlin Park to a private hospital, leaving the state-of-the-art facility idle.

He was asked in the Dáil last week why waiting lists were not being tackled, when capacity at the Galway Clinic and Bon Secours private hospitals is at 15-20%.

Last month, the State entered a deal to ‘take over’ the country’s private hospitals – which has come under criticism in the Dáil with claims of under-utilisation of facilities.

Galway West Deputy Catherine Connolly asked for full details of the agreement with the private hospitals – worth €115m per month nationally – and said nothing about it made sense to her.

“We have major waiting lists and our two private hospitals in Galway City are at 15% to 20% capacity. The hospital itself [UHG] – I must be wrong about this figure but it is what I have been told – was at 30% to 40% capacity as of May 15,” she said.

Department of Health figures for last week show a 39% ‘utilisation’ rate for the Bon Secours and 16% for Galway Clinic.

“The Minister has stood in the Chamber and told us he had to make such arrangements, and certainly I welcomed the narrative at the time that we were taking over the private hospitals to deal with a pandemic. However, we are not utilising them.

“Merlin Park has a state-of-the-art rehab service. It has a gym and all types of therapists but it is now lying idle because, under this deal, the Government transferred the patients from that wonderful facility to a private hospital.

“It took the therapists and patients into the private hospital to allow them to get up to 15% or 20% capacity. It sent the nurses into the public system and left the system empty at Merlin Park, and that is to mention only one service.

“None of the way this has been done makes sense to me. Surely anybody with a bit of sense would know that when the terms and the heads of agreement were signed, it should have allowed for change.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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Barriers set to halt groups drinking at quayside

Francis Farragher



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Access to the green quayside areas off Wolfe Tone Bridge will be blocked from today to prevent large groups of people drinking over the Bank Holiday weekend.

And the message from Garda Chief Superintendent Tom Curley is – enjoy the glorious weekend of weather that’s in store, but diligently maintain the two-metre social distancing rule and don’t consume booze in public areas.

“We are not killjoys and the lovely weather is a boost to everyone’s spirits. People will enjoy the outdoors this weekend but it’s illegal to consume alcohol in public areas and we will be enforcing that bylaw.

“In this kind of weather, there will inevitably be groups of people congregating in outdoor areas – but the message is simple and crystal clear: at all times maintain the two-metre social distancing guideline,” Chief Supt Curley told the Galway City Tribune.

On Tuesday evening last, Gardaí did enforce a dispersal procedure in the Spanish Arch/Claddagh Quay area of the city, after about 200 young people had gathered there, many of them consuming alcohol. They continued to patrol the area yesterday.

A spokesperson for Galway City Council confirmed yesterday that a green area on the Claddagh Quay side of the river – where large groups of young people had gathered this week – would be closed off to the public, probably from today (Friday).
This is a shortened preview version of this article. Please remember that without advertising revenue and people buying and subscribing to our newspapers, this website would not exist. You can read the full article by buying a digital edition of this week’s Galway City Tribune HERE.

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Westwood owners plan tourist accommodation usage

Enda Cunningham



The Westwood student accommodation complex site this week.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The owners of the new Westwood student accommodation in Newcastle are planning to use part of the complex for tourist and business traveller accommodation “in light of the current health pandemic”.

NTM ROI Seed Capital is currently building the five apartment blocks off the N59 and has sought a determination from An Bord Pleanála on whether it would need to apply for planning permission to allow “partial occupation for tourist and visitor use in the academic year from September 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021”.

Under the existing planning permission, the development “shall only be occupied as student accommodation . . . and shall not be used for any other purpose without a prior grant of planning permission for a change of use”.

However, the company has drawn up a contingency plan in the event that construction may not be completed for the coming academic year.

The plan involves allowing tourists and other ‘non-student’ users to be accommodated in the complex – An Bord Pleanála has been asked to determine whether the change would be a ‘material alteration’ of the planning approval or not.

If it is ruled a material alteration, the Board can then invite submissions from members of the public before it decides on whether to approve or reject it.

Already, local residents – who strongly objected to the entire development during the planning process – have expressed concerns about parking issues which they believe would arise if the Westwood is used for tourist use.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. Please remember that without advertising revenue and people buying and subscribing to our newspapers, this website would not exist. You can read the full article by buying a digital edition of this week’s Galway City Tribune HERE.

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