Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley
Hypocrisy is not new in politics. But when Fine Gael local election candidate Pearce Flannery called for a ban on election posters, he really did take hypocrisy to new heights.
It’s not that banning posters was a bad idea.
It’s just that the person calling for an end to “unsightly, environmentally unfriendly” posters, which are “a hazard to motorists and pedestrians”, was the very person whose mug was on posters on almost every lamppost around Salthill in May.
Pearce ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ Flannery only put them up because every other candidate had posters, he said. Pearce wanted a level playing field. To be poster-less gave the others an edge, he argued.
It couldn’t possibly be that he was being opportunist, or populist, and speaking out of both sides of his mouth. Of course not.
Pearce pledged to ban posters in subsequent elections, if the people backed him on May 23.
They did. And yet we haven’t heard of Pearce’s proposed election posters’ ban since.
No doubt Pearce is using the City Council’s summer recess to come up with a wording for a bye-law that will outlaw the use of election posters in future.
We look forward to reading his proposals in the autumn.
Déjà vu: In the dark
The first City Council meeting in September should be lively. Top of the agenda could well be why City Hall apparently kept elected members in the dark about plans to delay the lowering of the road at Lough Atalia until next year.
Fianna Fáil’s Michael John Crowe was not best pleased to learn of this development in last week’s Sentinel. “One time Galway City Council would have informed councillors” he snorted on Twitter, with a link to our story.
For some reason Lough Atalia is a project that officials prefer not to update councillors on. Remember, when this was discussed at Council level, councillors went bananas over a lack of consultation. That time, councillors learned of the proposal on Galway Bay FM.
We thought it was all water under the, eh, Lough Atalia, bridge . . . until last week’s Council executive booboo.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.
Snubs show City Council protocol has gone to pot!
Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley
City Hall has gone to pot with protocol. It continues to ignore elected representatives of Galway City Council when it comes to issuing invites to events, and is treating lay members of Strategic Policy Committees with disdain, too.
Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) raised the touchy subject of councillors not receiving invites to ministerial envelope-openings around the city.
The King of Knocknacarra recalled at the latest Council meeting, how City Hall failed to invite local representatives to the turning of the sod on the Salmon Weir pedestrian bridge earlier this year.
That omission, reported in Bradley Bytes, put Councillor Frank Fahy’s nose out of joint and led to a grovelling apology from Chief Executive Brendan McGrath. The head honcho said it would not happen again. It did, though.
At the September meeting last week, Cllr Lyons suggested little had been learned from the experience.
A Minister and Junior Minister had been in Galway recently, to turn the sod on a housing development in his Knocknacarra kingdom and nobody thought to tell him, or the Mayor of Galway, or any other councillor for that matter. “It’s not a gripe,” he said, “but it has happened before.”
Cllr Colette Connolly (Ind) also hit out at the lack of invites and breach of protocol. She said that since Covid, local representatives were not getting “any notifications”.
For it to happen once or twice is a mistake. This is beginning to look like a pattern, though. And it has led many to wonder whether there is an unofficial policy in Galway City Council of treating the elected representatives of the people with disdain, by ignoring long-established protocol regarding invites to events and openings.
Standards are slipping, that’s for sure. But it’s not just elected members feeling left out.
Long-time City Council agitator, Derrick Hambleton of An Taisce revealed at last week’s Cost of Living Coalition Galway meeting in the Western Hotel how a lack of courtesy from City Hall was not confined to elected representatives.
Hambleton, a planning expert who annoys officialdom no end, is a member of the Council’s Planning Strategic Policy Committee.
It was due to meet in the past fortnight but didn’t and nobody informed him and a colleague as to why it didn’t.
“We were supposed to have a meeting last week. We weren’t told it was cancelled; we weren’t even informed. It just didn’t happen. We ask questions, we start rows. It’s a waste of time – I’ve been wasting my time for the last twenty years,” Derrick told the Prospect Hill meeting.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
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Councillors conspicuously absent from cost of living ‘crisis’ meeting
Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley
About 60 people attended the Western Hotel on Monday night, for a public meeting about the cost of living and housing crises facing Galway.
Organised by left-leaning lobbyists, Cost of Living Coalition Galway, it lasted about 90-minutes.
Conspicuous by their absence were almost all of Galway’s elected representatives.
Sinn Féin TD in the Galway West constituency, Mairéad Farrell, was a guest speaker and was there for two-thirds of it, before skipping off to another engagement.
But no other Oireachtas representative (TD or Senator) showed up, although Leas-Cheann Comhairle Catherine Connolly (Ind) was listed in literature as supporting the campaign.
According to one of the organisers, Adrian Curran, a local rep for People Before Profit, all of Galway’s TDs were contacted about the event, which was used to rally support for a cost-of-living demonstration in Dublin on Saturday, September 24, three days before the Budget.
None of the 18 Galway City councillors showed up either.
Lorraine Lally, volunteer with Galway branch of Access for All, who chaired the meeting, said she didn’t want to name names.
But she said a number of councillors politely made their excuses – there was a City Council meeting they had to attend from early afternoon on Monday, and some had been working prior to the Council meeting. Another event on top of that would’ve been too taxing, they said.
The Mayor of Galway, Clodagh Higgins (FG) told Lally that she had a prior engagement – honouring the All-Ireland winning Galway Intermediate camogie team with a reception at City Hall.
Curran wasn’t so kind. He told the meeting he contacted all city councillors but only one replied. That was the Green Party’s Niall Murphy who, Curran claimed, had informed him he wouldn’t attend because he didn’t support the coalition’s aims.
In his absence, Murphy missed many insults from the floor, including that the Greens were Thatcherites. Councillor Niall McNelis’ ears must have been burning, too – attendees labelled Labour more right-wing now than the main parties they had coalesced with, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, who predictably also got lambasted.
The Cost-of-Living Coalition Galway, which has the support of students’ unions and some trade unions, is planning more events, which councillors cannot ignore forever.
As Farrell and the Socialist Party’s Conor Burke revealed, the group wants communities to replicate the water charges rebellion, and ‘rise up’ to demand action on cutting the cost of living.
(Photo by Joe O’Shaughnessy: Mairéad Farrell (SF) was a guest speaker at a public meeting on the cost-of-living and housing crises, at the Western Hotel on Monday. She was the only Oireachtas member to attend. City councillors, also invited, were absent too. Adrian Curran of People before Profit is beside her).
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the September 16 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Bike brigade get bitchy over cycling campaign!
Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley
Members of the Galway Cycling Campaign have turned on themselves. It was only a matter of time really, wasn’t it?
Set up to badger for improved cycling infrastructure in the city, the group is dominated by cyclists with, ahem, strong personalities.
No stranger to spats with local politicians, it was inevitable they would clash among themselves at some stage.
Who knew it would be so public, though?
An internal row among bike enthusiasts has spilled into the public domain after all 18 Galway City councillors were copied on an email thread, which underlined fissures in the group’s objectives and modus operandi.
It starts with a measured email by Galway Cycling Campaign secretary, Neil O’Leary, who attempted to rebut claims by Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF), that the group is focused solely on Salthill because the east side is “not sexy enough”.
In it, O’Leary pointed to submissions the campaign made about cycling infrastructure out east. So far, so good.
Campaign chair Kevin Jennings replied that O’Leary’s email was “very good”.
Shane Foran, a committee member, described it as a “very comprehensive overview”.
That’s where agreement between Jennings and Foran ended, though.
Foran said the “public silence” from the campaign on Ballyloughane and Renmore cycling projects, “has been very obvious”.
He said he found himself in the “embarrassing position of having to explain to people like Councillor Terry O’Flaherty that I could not count on any public statements from the campaign because of the same apparent lack of interest”.
Foran then went on the offensive, with accusations against Jennings we won’t repeat here. In his emailed reply, Jennings claimed Foran’s analysis was “as usual . . . way off”.
Among other things, which again we won’t repeat, Jennings’ email said he was “getting tired” of Foran’s “constant petty sniping at me”.
Foran then copied Councillors on his even lengthier reply to Jennings.
“Since your letter includes claims regarding the motives of members of the elected City Council, I feel it is best to include them in my response,” Foran began.
“I feel it is important for our elected councillors to understand that when you make comments about them, this cannot be assumed to have the support of other committee members. I also think it helpful for the elected council to get an idea of the manner and tone which members (of) the campaign can expect to be treated by you if they try to maintain a dialogue,” Foran told Jennings on the email CCed to councillors.
Addressing “allegations of petty sniping”, Foran said that highlighting concerns was not sniping but “an accepted duty of any board or committee member”.
Jennings then wrote to councillors, expressing “regret” that they received an email from Foran “which seems to be addressed to me”.
“This is not how we usually carry out our business . . . I don’t really invite a response to this email and would prefer it be excused and forgotten as an embarrassing outburst,” he said.
Councillors were chuffed that cyclists’ ire was directed at each other, rather than elected members. As one former mayor confided, “it couldn’t happen to a nicer group”. Ouch!
(Photo: Shane Foran of Galway Cycling Campaign who is involved in a spat with fellow member Kevin Jennings about what he’s described as the group’s ‘public silence’ on Renmore and Ballyloughane cycling projects).
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the September 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.