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CITY TRIBUNE

Mairéad Farrell flogged online over flag

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Galway West Sinn Féin TD, Mairéad Farrell, marked the anniversary last month of the beginning of the Cuban Revolution, by posting a photograph on Twitter of herself and another woman at the Claddagh, holding a tricolour with the image of Ché Guevara on the white middle section.

With a smiley head on her, she tweeted that Galway was “in solidarity with the Cuban people”.

Done on the spur of the moment, it was a fairly innocuous political message from an Irish politician of Left persuasion . . . or so she thought.

It didn’t quite get the reaction Mairéad hoped for. While the tweet took off, and was shared multiple times, it was mostly by people giving out and accusing her of “defacing” the national flag.

There are too many responses to her social media post to recount, but here’s the gist – A) the image of Ché Guevara on brat na hÉireann was disrespectful because it defaced the flag and B) the Shinners know sweet FA about what’s going on in Cuba and/or are on the wrong side of the argument on Cuba.

Here’s a flavour of the printable ones:

“A sitting TD disrespecting the national flag wow” – Mark Kearney; “Yet again Sinn Féin shows ‘solidarity’ with a violent totalitarian autocratic regime but ignores the decades of suffering of the Cuban people” – IrishinBRU; “Defacing the Flag. Shameful” – Michael Barry.

Others were a lot more nasty, but the funny thing is, Mairéad Farrell was oblivious to most of them, until a friend pointed out the abuse.

“Twitter ages ago suggested to me to change settings to only view the responses of people who follow you, so I didn’t see the abuse. I didn’t even realise until someone said to me ‘did you see that?’ I don’t block anyone. But your filters on Twitter can be changed to see responses only from people who follow you. I don’t care; it doesn’t bother me. All these people getting worked-up, giving out to me and I can’t even see it,” she laughed.

As for the substantive charge they were making, that a sitting TD should show more respect to the flag, Mairéad said she borrowed it from a mate. “You’d swear I put it (image of Ché Guevara) on the flag. It was July 20, a really important day for the people of Cuba, the 20th of July movement and all that, and it represents their revolution, really.

“With the continued blockade and that, a lot of people around the country decided to send solidarity greetings to the people of Cuba. I didn’t have a Cuban flag, and had that flag, so . . .”
This is a shortened preview version of Bradley Bytes. To read more, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors back bid to ban city centre parking in Galway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors have unanimously agreed to ask Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to limit parking to residents only in the city centre.

Pedestrians in the city are being treated like second-class citizens, according to the Mayor, who said cars continued to get the priority on Galway’s streets.

At a meeting of the City Council this week, Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) said the city had come to a standstill in car traffic, and pedestrians and cyclists were suffering the consequences.

“At junctions, why am I a second-class citizen in my own city as a pedestrian? It rains in Galway for 300 days of the year, but I am a second-class citizen when priority is given to motorists.

“It’s always the pedestrian that waits,” she said, hitting out at the length it took to get a green light to cross at pedestrian crossings.

One way to reduce the number of cars in the city centre would be to limit parking to residents only in the city centre, said the Mayor.

In a motion she proposed, seconded by Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind), councillors unanimously agreed to write to the Minister for Transport to demand he pass the necessary legislation to enable the Council to do this.

The Mayor said residents were “sick, sore and tired” of people parking where they wanted when they visited the city and said despite a desire to introduce this measure going back almost 20 years, the Council was hamstrung by national legislation that prevented them from proceeding.

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

Planners approve homes for ‘cuckoo fund’ investor

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The green light has been given for the construction of 345 apartments at the Crown Square site in Mervue – the majority of which will be put on the rental market and operated by a ‘cuckoo fund’ for a minimum of fifteen years.

Crown Square Developments, which is owned by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has secured permission from An Bord Pleanála for the ‘Build to Rent’ development, with four blocks ranging ranging from four to nine storeys in height.

There will also be a neighbourhood facility with a gym, a primary care medical centre with pharmacy, a ‘working from home’ lounge, six shops, a games room and a creche.

There will be 240 two-bed apartments, 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds, all of which will be specifically for the rental market and not available to purchase.

A breakdown of the apartments shows there will be 240 two-beds; 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds.

To meet social housing requirements, the developer plans to transfer 35 of the apartments (20 two-bed, 10 one-bed and 5 three-bed) to Galway City Council.

A total of 138 car-parking spaces have been allocated on the lower basement levels of Crown Square for residents, along with shared access to another 109 spaces and another 13 for use by a ‘car club’. There will be 796 secure bicycle parking spaces to serve the apartments.

The Board has ordered that the apartments can only be used as long-term rentals, and none can be used for short-term lettings.

Under ‘Build to Rent’ guidelines, the development must be owned and operated by an institutional entity for a minimum period of 15 years and “where no individual residential units shall be sold separately for that period”. The 15-year period starts from the date of occupation of the first residential unit.

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

Councillors divided over vote on Salthill Prom cycleway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to install a temporary two-way cycle lane along Salthill Promenade hangs in the balance, with city councillors split ahead of a vote next week.

On Monday night, the 18 city councillors will discuss Mayor Colette Connolly’s motion that the lane be installed on the coastal side of the road from Blackrock to a point opposite Galway Business School.

A poll of the councillors carried out by the Galway City Tribune yesterday found nine in favour of the proposal, with one indicating they will abstain. A simple majority is required and if there is a 9-9 split, the Mayor holds a ‘casting’ vote, effectively a second vote.

There has been a flurry of lobbying by cycling campaigners urging councillors to vote in favour, as well as some complaints from residents worried it will again impinge on their parking as visitors to Salthill seek somewhere to park up while they swim or walk along the most utilised resource the city has.

During lockdown, Gardaí removed parking on the Prom to deter people from gathering in a public space. This resulted in motorists blocking driveways and entering private estates, leading one estate off Threadneedle Road to hire a private clamping company.

Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) believes there are a maximum of 250 spaces that would be lost to the project on one side of the road as currently proposed, including seven disabled spaces, which could be reassigned close by.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the issue and to see how each councillor intends to vote, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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