Date Published: 15-Mar-2011
Nothing can have better illustrated the devastation which had befallen Fianna Fail in the General Election than the graphics representing Dail chamber seat occupancy which were published in some of the daily newspapers in the past week.
Fianna Fail, who up to a week previously were regarded as ‘the natural party of power’ for eighty years, were now confined to a very small area indeed of the Dail chamber, while Fine Gael and Labour sprawled all over the place.
In those graphics, FF looked like some sort of slightly puffed-up Progressive Democrats from a few elections ago. People were trying to put words on it. I heard Eamon Ó Cuív TD being interviewed about how sparse the front bench must have looked when it was reduced to less than a handfull. But I think Ó Cuív might have been more familiar with those blanked-out photos occasionally used to show the effects of emigration on football and hurling teams in small clubs in rural areas.
What happened in the election was that someone took that Fianna Fail ‘team picture’ and wiped out more than 50 of the faces with which we had become familiar …. and replaced then with ranks of Fine Gael, Labour, Sinn Fein and Independents; new faces which we are all going to have to learn to recognise from the news bulletins.
Ó Cuív is one of those who will have to attempt to pick up the pieces – including a rare old battle which is going on at the moment to stop long-term senators like Donie Cassidy and Terry Leyden, who haven’t any ambition or chance of being new TDs of the future, from running for the Senate. In other words, what Fianna Fail now wants to develop is winners for the future.
Right now though, that looks like it will be a tough business indeed and it will be interesting to see if the FF powers-that-be still have the influence and the backing to implement the kind of ruthless regime which Fine Gael introduced in the wake of the FG 2002 General Election disaster.
It ruthlessly used the Senate and the the 2009 Local Elections to rebuild the party. Remember, Fine Gael in 2002 had fallen from 54 Dail seats to 31, but by the Local Elections of 2009 Enda Kenny had rebuilt it to the point where it swept to its biggest number of Local Council seats ever.
That’s the base from which Fine Gael achieved its success of a week ago. It was in the wake of the Local Elections that Enda Kenny first went on the record as saying that from that point, FG could take 70 or more Dail seats. Some laughed, but the base had been laid for a push for power.
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.