Date Published: 13-Apr-2011
Events move on rapidly in politics. It seems like only yesterday the Fianna Fail West Galway selection convention was on and the ticket essentially selected itself – Eamon Ó Cuív, Frank Fahey and Mayor Michael Crowe.
On the night, two Dail seats seemed like they just might be possible, despite truly awful opinion polls nationally. One of the ‘hopefuls’ waiting in the wings was City Councillor Peter Keane, who had intimated his interest in possibly standing, but who had to ‘give way’ to the two sitting TDs and the Mayor on the basis that this was felt to be the best ticket that could be selected.
It’s very early days yet – and we still have to have the 2014 Local Elections before the next General Election if this Fine Gael-Labour Government runs its course – but the ‘field’ for Fianna Fail has now opened up in front of young city solicitor Peter Keane, with Eamon Ó Cuív the only survivor of the FF ticket.
Frank Fahey has bowed out of the Dail after thirty years of service in the constituency and then came last week’s announcement by Mayor Michael Crowe that he is to take a back seat from politics in the months to come as he devotes more time to business interests.
So, the opportunity has now opened up for Peter Keane – a man who has been making considerable headway on the city council and who is very prominently associated with the hugely important discussion on whether the City Plan is in fact legal, or may be subject to any number of challenges.
Peter Keane proved one of the surprise packets on an otherwise awful day for FF in the Local Elections in 2009 when he took a seat in the five-seater City West area (Knocknacarra, Salthill, Claddagh), where there were some pretty fancied other contenders still left in the race in the shape of Fine Gael’s John Mulholland and the Green Party’s Niall Ó Brolchain. They were still in the running when Peter Keane took his seat.
Keane got 869 first preferences and held on to take a seat that was a bit of a coup for Fianna Fail on a day when the party was being wiped out all over the place. Equally importantly, the party will have noted that he brought with him a decent personal vote, along with a series of personal contacts which proved very useful when it came to the all-important last minute campaigning by phone.
However, being a city councillor and translating it into a Dail seat where you have to get 5,000 votes to be even ‘in the mix’ is a very different contest, and the first thing Keane has to do is consolidate his local Galway City Council base, hold his city council seat, and then try to push on with whoever might be his running mate at the time of a General Election in five years time.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Galway County VEC Chief takes High Court case
Date Published: 07-May-2013
The High Court is hearing arguments from the state in an action brought by two VEC bosses who are challenging the loss of an annual allowance worth 12 and a half thousand euro.
Former president of the GAA Joe McDonagh who’s the CEO of County Galway VEC and Dr Katie Sweeney, CEO of Mayo VEC, say a special Transport Liaison Officers Allowance should not have been cut, even though that part of their role no longer operates.
Lawyers for the Department of Education deny the allowance is part of their pay.
The case is in the context of planned changes within the VEC system under the Croke Park agreement.
Planning go ahead for community facility in Doughiska
Date Published: 09-May-2013
A hotel in the city is to be changed into a community facility.
Planning permission has been granted to DRA Community Development Company Limited to redevelop the ‘Racing Lodge Hotel’ in Doughiska.
It’s planned to use the building for community, educational and pastoral use.
Planners have attached 4 conditions to the development, including the stipulation that all uses at the building be on a not-for-profit basis.
Galway call for Transport Minister to intervene in bus strike
Date Published: 13-May-2013
City Councillor Michael Crowe is calling on the Transport Minister Leo Vradkar to urgently intervene to end strike action by Bus Eireann in Galway.
Major travel disruption is expected in Galway and nationwide as the national strike enters its second day.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing their picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city.
It’s understood up to 80 Galway workers took part in the picket on rotational rosters yesterday.
Speaking on Galway Talks, City Cllr Michael Crowe said Minister Vradkar needs to take urgent action to intervene so that transport services can be restored.