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Bradley Bytes

More likely than not this poll is bull

Dara Bradley

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Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

A new groundbreaking survey has discovered that 99% of people* have never met someone who has taken part in a political opinion poll.

The other 1% of people surveyed are lying.

*This percentage excludes the 46% of ‘Don’t knows’.

The survey has a margin of error of 6.3%; or was that an error and the real margin of error is actually 63%. They ‘don’t know’ apparently.

Warning: Despite the complete unreliability of this survey, it’ll generate acres of newsprint filling lots of white space with politicians yawning about “a snapshot in time” and political correspondents doing what they do worst – Madame Bridget impressions of predicting the future.

Well, have you ever taken part in a political opinion poll? Let us know here

Revealed: The new sharing is caring side to former PDs!

It’s fair to say that the Progressive Democrats weren’t known for their caring side. For all the good they did – and they certainly did some good for the country before becoming extinct – the PDs were known more for their philosophy of economic individualism.

They were the Tories of Irish politics; the Gaelic cheerleaders for Maggie Thatcher and Ronald Regan’s right wing philosophies.

But former PD, now Independent, Galway West Deputy Noel Grealish has a caring side, it seems.

And as we all know sharing is caring.

City Councillor Declan McDonnell, a former PD party colleague of his, is one of the beneficiaries of his generosity.

On an ad-hoc basis the Independent councillor has been using an Oireachtas email address, which is connected to the Dáil deputy, to email press releases to local media.

The most recent one was in June, when Cllr McDonnell was ‘having a go’ at junior minister Jan O’Sullivan and local Labour Party TD, Derek Nolan about housing issues in Galway.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway 2020: No closure on opening ceremony costs saga

Dara Bradley

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Senator Pauline O'Reilly who is putting pressure on her Green Party colleague, Minister Catherine Martin, to seek transparency on costs from 2020.

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Galway 2020, the company set up to deliver the European Capital of Culture this year, advised officials in the Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht in February that costs associated with its aborted opening ceremony in Claddagh “were still being assessed”.

At a meeting with officials, minutes of which were released under Freedom of Information (FOI), “it was noted that much of the cost and activity” relating to the opening ceremony that was cancelled due to Storm Ciara, “were realised, including county events and community engagement over a sustained period”.

Interestingly, even though the costs were “realised” (that is, spent), it wasn’t recorded in the minutes how much Galway 2020 actually spent on the abandoned ceremony.

Fast forward five months to July, and Patricia Philbin, CEO of Galway 2020, who was at that February meeting with Department officials, was again asked about the opening ceremony costs.

This time it was City Councillors probing but the response was similar.

Galway 2020 at a meeting of Galway City Council, could not clarify a breakdown of the total €2.3 million costs to the organisation – and by extension the taxpayer – of the cancelled opening ceremony that was due to go ahead in The Swamp in the Claddagh.

An insurance claim is pending, but surely the public has a right to know how exactly its money has been spent?

How much did the stage cost, for example? Does the final outlay include travel and accommodation costs for VIPs guests such as 10 EU Ambassadors to Ireland who were due to attend? Were the MCs and performers, who were booked months in advance, paid retainers? And so on and so on.

Galway Senators Pauline O’Reilly (Greens) and Ollie Crowe (FF) have called for a full breakdown of how Galway 2020 has spent a total €18m to date. Not another cent of public money should be handed over, until that breakdown is provided.
For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Critic Connolly is Cat who got the cream!

Dara Bradley

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Catherine Connolly, one of the Dáil's most effective Deputies, won the vote for what is an important but impartial role.

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

The cynics among us, if we didn’t know better, might say that the Government lost the vote on Leas-Cheann Comhairle on purpose, rather than by mistake, so as to silence one of the sharpest TDs in Dáil Éireann, and a most vocal and articulate critic of this and the previous Governments.

Alas, even the cynics are all too aware that the current Government hasn’t the capability or capacity to intentionally pull off such a Machiavellian feat, even if it wanted to.

No. Fergus O’Dowd (FG) losing out to Galway West TD, Catherine Connolly (Ind), in a vote on who would become the deputy speaker of the Dáil, was not calculated to sideline Cat Connolly.

It was just another cock-up by the new Coalition of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party that has dithered, stumbled and slept on the job – literally – since it threw together a programme for Government last month.

The upshot may be the same, though. As Leas-Cheann Comhairle, Cat Connolly, the Claddagh Queen, will be non-partisan in the chair. Her personal opinions and take on life will no longer be relevant when she’s deputising for Seán Ó Fearghaíl.

Of course, when she’s not chairing Dáil debates, Connolly is entitled to have her say.

But will she continue to be outspoken? Can you tear lumps out of An Taoiseach Micheál Martin at Leaders’ Questions in the morning, and then expect to be viewed as a neutral arbitrator of contentious debates in the afternoon?

While not wishing to take away from Cat Connolly’s achievement of becoming the first ever woman to be elected into the position – shocking really that it’s taken 101 years to break that particular glass ceiling – from a purely selfish perspective, we hope parliament hasn’t ‘lost’ one of its most effective Deputies to what is an important but impartial role.

She will still be able to submit Parliamentary Questions, and there’s no way Cat Connolly could be fully silenced. But the Public Accounts Committee, in particular, will be less effective in the absence of her razor-sharp analysis, and forensic questioning of waste of public money.
For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cllr Owen Hanley nominates himself for a Mayor’s Award!

Dara Bradley

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Nominator and nominee: Owen Hanley, with his Mayoral Award nomination certificate.

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Usually, there’d be a shortlist of nominees for the Mayor’s Awards before the actual winner is unveiled but this year it was done arseways.

City Councillor Owen Hanley, (Social Democrat) tweeted last week that he had received a “wonderful surprise”, that he was “nominated for a Mayor’s Award”.

“The winners have already been given out but even being nominated is touching,” he said.

He congratulated the winners, and thanked Mayor Mike Cubbard (Ind), “who always supports hardworking volunteers and community activists”.

Apart from doing it in reverse – announcing the winner and then revealing the short-list – what’s odd about this nomination is that city councillors tend not to be included in the Mayor’s Awards shortlist.

It’s not that councillors don’t do things that merit consideration for awards; they do. It’s just that what they do to merit awards tends to be voluntary work, associated with their involvement in politics and the community they represent.

Anyway, Cllr Hanley’s “surprise” that he had been nominated for a mayor’s award seems a bit disingenuous. That’s because, according to the application form, Cllr Hanley self-nominated for the award.

The name ‘Owen Hanley’ appears in the application form under two sub-headings; “nominee details” and “nominator details”. So, he was both nominee and nominator.

The application, received by the Council just before midnight on March 1, then details the work of Galway Pride, a voluntary organisation that organises the gay pride parade in Galway City, and a full week of events around it. It is the longest-running pride parade in Ireland, run by a committee of volunteers of which Owen Hanley is a member.

A City Hall source said the nomination certificates were, naturally enough, sent to the nominees as nominated by the nominators.

Maybe Owen Hanley filled out the form in error. Perhaps he meant to nominate Galway Pride and not himself, ‘Owen Hanley’. That might explain his ‘surprise’ on Twitter at being nominated for an award he in fact nominated himself for.

It’s just as well he didn’t win, because there could’ve been an almighty tug-of-war between himself and the Galway Pride committee over who would get the €500 cash prize, and the specially commissioned commemorative trophy given to award winners.
For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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