Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column with Dara Bradley
You’d know there’s a general election on the horizon, with the way some city councillors are taking aim at each other in the Council chamber.
Mayor Mike Cubbard (Ind) ruled with an iron fist at the latest ordinary sitting of the Council, which ensured there were no unseemly out-and-out slagging matches between elected members. But there were skirmishes and snide digs aplenty.
Greens versus Fianna Fáil; Social Democrats versus Fianna Fáil; Fianna Fáil versus Fine Gael; and Independents versus Greens. It was hard to keep up.
Many of the flashpoints came during a discussion of that hot topic, climate change.
Pauline O’Reilly (Greens) was close to having a conniption when John ‘Comeback’ Connolly (FF), had the temerity, as she saw it, to welcome the Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, which outlined some of the possible ‘positive’ impacts of global warming on the city – increased tourism, because of sunnier days and less rain.
In fairness, after one of the wettest August’s on record, reasoned John, the people of Galway might welcome a few more beach days. Pauline, puce, said he’d shown a complete lack of understanding of global warming.
In a tag-team against John, Owen Hanley (Soc Dems) chimed in, and said a 1% average increase in temperatures would bring hotter summers in Ireland and death in poorer countries.
Council employee Paul Patty, who prepared the draft strategy, was asked to adjudicate. They were both right, he said. There are potential benefits to Galway (more sunny days and increased tourism) but climate change will have a devasting effect on developing countries. A diplomatic response.
Pauline, the Greens general election candidate in Galway West, pointed out that only she and her party colleague, Martina O’Connor, had made submissions to the strategy. Colette Connolly (Ind), whose sister Catherine will face a challenge to her Dáil seat from Pauline, went bananas and issued a riposte about her “casting aspersions” on other councillors.
Earlier, John, a teacher, must’ve felt like a pupil getting told off in class when Pauline barked at him for interrupting.
“We can have a chat outside, if you like, but this is actually a Council chamber; now, if I could just make my point,” she snorted.
John was in the wars again later. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael had almost done a deal on a mayoral pact, but subsequently couldn’t cobble together the numbers (don’t mention the war!) and yet they were at each other’s throats about homelessness.
John lashed the FG-led Government for being out of touch, a Dublin-centric administration that cared little about the housing crisis. It was being propped up by FF, but he urged party leader Míchéal Martin to pull the plug on confidence and supply. Rookie Eddie Hoare (FG) made a meek response about Connolly having ‘some neck’. But it was left to seasoned Blueshirt Frank Fahy who gave FF welly, when reminding the Soldiers of Destiny of the Fianna Fáil tent at the Galway Races, where developers rubbed shoulders and drank expensive plonk with FF Government ministers, during the Celtic tiger construction boom. Civil War politics at its finest.
For more Bradley Bytes see this week’s Galway City Tribune
Gardaí raid cocaine lab in Galway City
Two men have been arrested following a Garda raid in which a cocaine laboratory was discovered in Galway City.
In total, Gardaí seized €178,500 in cash, €50,000 worth of cocaine (subject to analysis) and a number of drug manufacturing components as part of an intelligence-led operation into the sale and supply of drugs in the Galway Garda Division.
At 7.40pm yesterday (Sunday) the Divisional Drugs Unit in Galway stopped and searched a car on the M6 motorway in the vicinity of Loughrea where €17,580 worth of cash was seized.
As part of a follow-up search, Gardaí uncovered what is believed to be a cocaine processing laboratory and seized cocaine (pending analysis) with an estimated value of €50,000 at an address in Galway City.
At this address, Gardaí seized a quantity of mixing agent, a cocaine press, vacuum packer, industrial gas masks, and a cash counting machine, which are believed to have been used in the manufacture of cocaine for sale or supply.
In a further follow-up search, Gardaí seized €161,000 in cash at a separate premises in the city.
One man in his 20s was arrested following the detection on the M6, while a second man in his 30s was arrested at a property in Galway City.
Both men are currently detained at Galway Garda Station under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drugs Trafficking) Act 1996.
These seizures were part of an intelligence led operation and were detected by the Galway Divisional Drugs Unit with the assistance of the Western Regional Armed Support Unit.
“It will be akin to the notorious Rahoon flats”
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – More than 700 local residents have signed a petition against plans for the construction of 330 apartments in Knocknacarra – which have been likened to “the notorious Rahoon flats”.
Child safeguarding concerns have also been raised by the principal of Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh – who pointed out that the apartments will look directly into 19 classrooms.
A total of 27 objections were lodged against Glenveagh Living’s plans to build 332 apartments in six blocks – ranging from four storeys to seven storeys in height.
Locals have demanded An Bord Pleanála hold an oral hearing into the plans – that planning authority is due to make a decision by March 20, although it can decide to hold such a hearing first.
One of the objections – which accuses the developer of designing “tenement style” homes in a “blatant attempt to profiteer from the housing crisis” – was signed by more than 700 local residents.
Another objector said the development was “akin to the notorious Rahoon flats, with people being packed on top of each other”.
Locals have raised concerns about the huge number of apartments planned; overshadowing of homes; inadequate open space, playing pitches and community infrastructure; parking and traffic problems; low quality of design and road safety.
Glenveagh Living did not respond to a request from the Galway City Tribune for comment.
This is a preview only. To read extensive coverage of the Glenveagh plans and objections, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here.
Arts fraternity rallies as Theo faces deportation
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Less than a year after being invited by the Arts Council to perform at a conference about diversity in the arts, a musician, DJ and rapper – who is about to embark on a project for Galway 2020 – is facing deportation.
Theophilus Ndlovu left Zimbabwe after what he claims was a lifetime of abuse at the hands of the people who were supposed to mind him.
His mother left when he was just six years old and he never met his father. He was placed in the care of an unofficial foster family but it was never a happy arrangement.
“These people I stayed with were abusing me. They were never my family. I was running away from persecution and abuse and the way I was treated by these people. I had to fend for myself since I was ten years old,” he recalls.
When Theo was 20, he saved up enough money from mowing lawns and selling chickens to escape, arriving in Ireland where he sought asylum. Authorities placed him in a Direct Provision Centre in Finglas for a fortnight before he was transferred to the Great Western Direct Provision Centre off Eyre Square, where he has remained for nearly four years.
Almost immediately, Theo felt at home.
“This is my family. Galway is where I found my voice. It has become my home. It is just where I’m meant to be.”
Theo has immersed himself in the arts community and has become a leading hip-hop artist, known as Touché, performing regularly at venues such as the Róisín Dubh and the Black Gate. He was instrumental in getting fellow asylum seekers and refugees involved in music collaborations.
He is a founding member of the multicultural music project ‘Atmos Collective’ and has facilitated numerous music workshops in Galway, “teaching, motivating and inspiring hundreds of young people along the way”, according to co-founder Alice McDowell, an Australian filmmaker and fiddler.
The collective was recently granted funding by the Galway European Capital of Culture 2020 committee to host community music workshops in the city and county over the next year as part of their ‘Small Towns Big Ideas’ scheme.
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.
The petition is available online HERE