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CITY TRIBUNE

Lyons’ Leisureland launch a ‘snub’ to Mayor McNelis

Dara Bradley

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Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

The knives are out for Donal Lyons. An apparent inoffensive-enough Independent city councillor, his colleagues on the Council don’t seem to think so.

A couple of them are spitting fire at the antics of the King of Knocknacarra, who committed the cardinal sin of local politics: dissed the office of Mayor.

You see, Donal Lyons, as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Leisureland, officially launched a photography exhibition ‘Old Salthill’ by guest curator Tom Kenny at the Council-owned building.

These launches are ordinarily done by the First Citizen, whose position – regardless of the personality wearing the chains – brings some prestige to proceedings.

Donal, the Deputy Mayor, would be well aware of the protocol, given that he was twice Mayor in the past. But for clarity, according to the etiquette, the only person who takes precedence over the Mayor is the President of Ireland.

Mayor McNelis wasn’t asked to open the exhibition (someone will pay for that mistake), although sources close to the Mayor say he was invited to the ceremony – and attended – as a mere councillor for the City West electoral ward. Onlookers say he skulked at the back of the room, minus the mayoral chain, and left early.

Not alone did McNelis not get the gig, he took a ‘dig’ from the man that opened the exhibition in his stead. During his speech, Donal apparently opened up old wounds and reminded the audience how councillors jumped ship from the Leisureland Board some years ago when the going got tough over the facility’s row with clubs over increased fees.

McNelis was one of the ‘deserters’; Donal held firm, remained on the board, and is evidently bitter that his rivals didn’t hang tough.

Donal’s launching of the exhibition last week (without the Mayor getting first refusal) has been described as “very childish” by one Council colleague.

All councillors were invited, but only Terry ‘Polltopper’ O’Flaherty and McNelis were spotted at it. John Walsh, Noel Larkin, Pádraig Conneely, and Billy Cameron, current board members of Leisureland, were conspicuous by their absence.

A councillor contacted Bradley Bytes claiming Donal “broke all protocols” by launching the exhibition when the mayor was available. “This is absolutely wrong and nothing short of bad manners.”

Another elected member fumed: “I’ve never seen it before, that a councillor would upstage the Mayor like that. It’s all ego. Can you imagine if it was the other way around, and Donal was Mayor and McNelis was chairperson of Leisureland and launched the exhibition instead of the Mayor? There’d be holy war – Donal would go mad.”

This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here.

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CITY TRIBUNE

€46,000 Lotto winner comes forward as deadline looms

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Knocknacarra winner of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus from the 12th of December has come forward to claim their prize, just two weeks before the claim deadline.

The winning ticket, which is worth €46,234, was sold at Clybaun Stores on the Clybaun Road on the day of the draw, one of two winners of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus prize of €92,000.

A spokesperson for the National Lottery say we are now making arrangements for the lucky winner to make their claim in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Lotto jackpot for tomorrow night (27th February) will roll to an estimated €5.5 million.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.

Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.

The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.

“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.

“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”

Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.

“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.

The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools

Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.

“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.

“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.

A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
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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