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Bradley Bytes

Our Killer City – read ‘that’ Rita Ann Higgins’ poem



Rita Ann Higgins

You’ve read snippets of the poem; you’ve heard praise and much criticism of it; now here, in a Bradley Bytes’ exclusive, read city poet Rita Ann Higgins’ controversial Galway 2020 poem in full for the first time in a newspaper.

Our Killer City

Galway’s bid to win Capital of Culture

is all twenty twenty give the horse plenty.

We’re in with a great chance,

until they hear about

the legionnaire’s disease outbreak

in the fire station,

where our life savers need saving.

The birds are tweeting

about the arrival of the jury this July.

The word is out they’ll rule on the bid.     

Best to keep them councillors out of sight,

with the malarkey they go on with, in City Hall.

Govern, govern my arse

they wouldn’t govern a sly fart on a runway.

We’ll end up crowned the capital of fools.

Accusations of nepotism, potassium.

a host of other isms, chisms, chasms and schisms.

I sent you that letter by mistake

said the CEO, buckling under pressure.

You are not actually co-opted

onto those committees,

FYI, you are co-workered off.

My ogyny, your ogyny, misogyny.

We laugh about it at bus stops.

We say, aren’t some of our

elected representatives a laughing stock.

We’ll never get Capital of Culture

if they look through that window.

Some people live their lives

so they can die on a trolley

in Galway’s A&E.

Just wait and wait and wait

and you’ll die waiting.

Eighteen million on a new block

and not a new bed in sight or on site.

The car park police in the hospital grounds

are a culture shock unto themselves.

Don’t die on a trolley in the bidding city

the forbidding city,

before you have paid your parking

or we will kill your next of kin

with the weight of their parking ticket.

Culture Capital or no Culture capital.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune


Praying for rain to wash the smell of urine off city streets



Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

City dwellers are becoming like their country cousins when it comes to their attitude to rain.

Farmers are famous for complaining about periods of drought and then complaining again when the rain comes and they can’t harvest crops.

City slickers are now getting a similar reputation but for different reasons, here in Galway, the former European Capital of Culture.

During Covid-19, in particular, the streets of Galway became party central, a playground for ‘bushing’ in the absence of public houses.

And so it has continued post-Covid. Which is great for the city’s party reputation, except that the infrastructure, such as toilets, isn’t adequate. What has happened, in the absence of toilets, is that male revellers – it’s almost always men – use the streets as urinals.

Street corners, shop entrances and – as has been highlighted in this column before – unused telephone boxes, have all become unofficial outdoor public conveniences where men unzip and spend a penny.

But back to the weather. During dry spells, the city’s streets are so stained and stinking from urine that city residents and those who work here, pray for rain to wash the stench away.

There’s a better hope of rain falling than the authorities actually power-washing the filth from the pavements.

And then when the rain does come, we forget about the benefits it brings, such as clearing the streets of the stench of urine, and we moan about the weather again.

This is a shortened preview version of Bradley Bytes. See this week’s Galway City Tribune for more. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Classy Clodagh will need to know her ABCs when she takes mayoral chains



Councillors will resume deliberations on the City Draft Development Plan in June. And if the recently-agreed County Development Plan is anything to go by, Mayor in Waiting (MIW) Clodagh Higgins will need to have her ABCs in order to deal with the baptism of fire awaiting her.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Galway City Councillors will resume deliberations on the Draft City Development Plan in June, which means two things: long meetings and an even longer list of abbreviations.

The former is a given when rezoning of land is at play; the latter is also likely if the City Plan mirrors the recently-agreed County Development Plan which contained an alphabet soup of shortened phrases.

From ABTA (Area Based Transport Assessment) to MASP (Metropolitan Area Strategic Plan), NWSMP (National Wastewater Sludge Management Plan) to GCTPS (Galway County Transport and Planning Study), and GCMA (Galway County Metropolitan Area) to UFP (Urban Framework Plan) to name but a few, County Councillors were bombarded with shorthand as they compiled a new Development Plan.

And that’s before you mention the myriad of organisations OPR (Office of Planning Regulator), OPW (Office of Public Works), NTA (National Transport Authority), TII (Transport Infrastructure Ireland) who were making submissions about MAs (Material Alterations), WWTP (Waste Water Treatment Plants), LAPs (Local Area Plans), and LTP (Local Transport Plans) etcetera.

County Councillors needed qualifications in abbreviations and gobbledegook just to keep up with it all; many are now suffering a sort of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and the DTs (Delirium Tremens) or AWD (Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium) since they finalised the plan, but that’s all due to withdrawal from abbreviations rather than alcohol.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Apology means invite ‘snub’ is water under the bridge!



Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

As apologies go, this was fairly grovelling. An admission, too, that all is not well in the corridors of power at City Hall.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, this week wrote an apology to councillors, who felt snubbed for not being invited to a sod-turning event in the city. Though he took full responsibility, he also confirmed that staff turnover at College Road contributed to the error.

Here’s the low-down. On Tuesday, April 26, Minister Hildegarde Naughton, with shovel in hand for the cameras, officially turned the sod to signify construction was beginning on the new Salmon Weir pedestrian bridge. The City Council was a part-funder of the project, but Councillors were not invited to the ceremony; a big break in tradition.

It’s the custom that the democratically elected representatives of the people are invited to the opening of envelopes. Sod-turnings are big business in the world of local politics and to snub councillors, by not inviting them, is akin to heresy in this game.

Procedure committee meeting minutes show that former Mayor, Frank Fahy (FG), chair of the Council’s Transport Strategic Policy Committee, requested an apology for not getting invited to the bridge bash. And McGrath duly obliged.

“I apologise to you that you were not invited to the event,” Brendan began. “I also apologise to all city councillors who did not receive an invitation. All councillors should have received an invitation to the sod-turning. I apologise for any annoyance that the omission, for which I take full responsibility, may have caused to you and other members of the City Council.”

The CE blamed Covid-19 and “significant turnover in staff” for “an outflow of corporate memory regarding events”.

Sod-turnings haven’t happened since before Covid-19, he said. And the Council hasn’t updated its procedures around such events since Covid-19. “As a direct consequence of staff turnover and the lack of an updated written procedure, councillors, erroneously, were not informed of the event.”

Offering again his “sincere apologies and regret for the omission”, he promised that “where such events take place in the future, councillors will be informed and will be invited to attend”.

The apology means the Salmon Weir saga is now water under the bridge. But some councillors remain miffed about another, separate snub. Elected members claimed not to have been invited to the unveiling of Patricia Forde’s poetry plaque on Church Lane/Market Street during the Cúirt International Festival of Literature in April.

They’re still waiting for the Council to say ‘sorry’ for that, ahem, oversight.

(Photo: Minister Hildegarde Naughton TD with City CE Brendan McGrath as she turned the sod on the Salmon Weir pedestrian bridge. The CE subsequently wrote to the chair of the Council’s Transport SPC Frank Fahy as he, along with other councillors, had not been invited to the event).

This is a shortened preview version of Bradley Bytes. See this week’s Galway City Tribune for more. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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