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CITY TRIBUNE

Political donors disappear – what price democracy?

Dara Bradley

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Not one Galway City Councillor received a single political donation exceeding €600 to fight last May’s Local Election

Bradley Bytes – A Sort of Political Column with Dara Bradley 

Where have all the political donors gone? When filling out Statements of Expenditure for elections, candidates must declare whether they have received political donations of more than €600. But not one councillor or unsuccessful candidate in May’s local election to Galway City Council, declared that they received €600 or more from a political donor.

Maybe the term ‘political donation’ has been sullied by the brown envelope culture of the past but the tradition of funding candidates’ campaigns – so long as there’s no political favours in return, such as re-zonings – ought not necessarily be a negative thing.

People who donate to charity are lauded, and yet a similar act of civic responsibility by people supporting a candidate because they agree with their political view of the world, is now frowned upon.

It means that candidates must find alternatives. Fine Gael candidates got money back from party HQ – Clodagh Higgins, Eddie Hoare and Frank Fahy were reimbursed €840, €840 and €970 respectively. Unsuccessful candidates John Walsh, Pearce Flannery and Donal Lynch also got some money back from FG.

Fianna Fáil funded one ad worth €500 each to Ollie and Mike Crowe and John Connolly. The Green Party paid €2,206 of Pauline O’Reilly’s campaign and more than €900 for Martina O’Connor’s campaign.

Not everyone was so lucky. Spare a thought for Pat Hardiman, a late entrant into the race in City East. Pat, who stuck by his principles, left Labour to run as an Independent but didn’t feature in the ‘business end’ when votes were counted. A taxi man, Pat’s returns note that he took out a €1,000 credit union loan to fund his campaign, in addition to €1,355 of his own resources.

Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind) said he raised €2,000 from a table quiz – that meant he had to spend just €161 of his own resources on the campaign. Cllr Colette Connolly (Ind) spent just €1,441 in total, and applied for €250 electoral support from ‘Independent Women in Politics’ to offset some of the cost.

Aontú’s Nuala Nolan, unsuccessful in City East, spent €1,700 – but not a cent of it was her own money, and all was raised through GoFundMe, fundraisers or from party HQ. Her party colleague, Cormac Ó Corcoráin, unsuccessful in City Central, also raised nearly €2,000 through GoFundMe and party HQ.

Labour’s John McDonagh, who lost out in City Central, was perhaps the most successful fundraiser – he said he got €2,760 in cash from a barbeque.

Darius Ivan (Ind) in City West, didn’t raise a cent but wasn’t out of pocket – he was the only candidate who filed returns who spent absolutely nothing on the campaign. He got just 30 first preference votes. Others who didn’t break the bank – and whose votes reflected that – were: Independents James O’Toole (spent €75, won 124 votes); Tommy Roddy (spent €116, won 137 votes), Marc Anderson (spent €184, won 91 votes) and Claire Keegan (spent €625 and won 30 votes – €20 per vote).

 

*For more Bradley Bytes see this week’s Galway City Tribune

CITY TRIBUNE

Missing man may be in Galway City

Enda Cunningham

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Gardaí in Cork believe that a man missing from Midleton since last week may be in Galway City. are renewing their appeal for assistance in locating 53-year-old French man Christophe Goutte, is missing from his home in O’Brien Terrace, Midleton since Wednesday 15th January.

From enquiries to date it is understood that Christophe took a bus from Cork Bus Station that Wednesday and disembarked at 5.35pm in Galway City. He is living in Ireland for a number of years.

Christophe was last seen leaving work in Carrigtowhill, Co. Cork at approximately 11am on Wednesday 15th.

He is described as being 5″ 8′ in height, of stocky build with brown short hair and white skin with a sallow complexion. When last seen he was wearing a black coat, black pants, a black woollen hat and a brown pair of boots, he was carrying a dark coloured overall bag.

Gardaí are particularly appealing to those in the Galway city or surrounding areas to report any recent sightings of Christophe.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact Cobh Garda Station on 021 – 4908530, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station

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CITY TRIBUNE

City Council planning €2.5m bailout for Galway 2020

Dara Bradley

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Galway City Council looks set to bail out Galway 2020 – with an additional grant of €2.5 million to cover the European Capital of Culture programming costs.

The local authority has already allocated €6 million for the project, which officially launches on Saturday, February 8, with an event in South Park, Claddagh.

But city councillors will be asked to approve a further €1.25 million in both 2021 and 2022, at a special meeting next Monday.

The city’s ratepayers may ultimately have to cover the extra costs. A 3% higher commercial rate, introduced in the build-up to this year, and retained in 2020 with agreement of business representatives, may be maintained into 2021 and 2022 if management City Hall has its way.

As well as having to find €2.5 million extra for Galway 2020, Chief Executive of the City Council, Brendan McGrath, will ask councillors to sanction a grant of €80,000 to Druid Theatre for a production it is planning for March of this year, which was not part of the original Galway 2020 programme.
This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Holders Rangers advance but Mervue Utd crash out

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Geoffrey Power scored twice for Connacht Junior Cup defending champions, Corrib Rangers, in their 4-2 win over MCR of Sligo.  

Soccer Wrap with Mike Rafferty

The returning Geoffrey Power was to the forefront for Corrib Rangers as the Connacht Junior Cup holders got the defence of their title off to a winning start in Drom on Sunday afternoon with a victory over Sligo visitors, MCR.

Salthill Devon, West United, Maree/Oranmore, East United and Hibernians also all advanced with different degrees of comfort, but there was a big shock as Mervue United suffered a three-goal hammering away against Manulla; while Knocknacarra, Renmore and Merlin Woods/Medtronic also all exited the competition in competitive games.

CONNACHT JUNIOR CUP

Corrib Rangers 4

MCR 2

The break-up of Brendan O’Connor’s Connacht Junior Cup winning side happened probably somewhat faster than the manager might have expected, but the return of Geoffrey Power at the weekend was a huge bonus as the striker contributed two goals as well as lifting a side that just seven months ago won the most coveted trophy in the province.

In a game switched to Drom because their own grounds at Westside are closed, the home side made the perfect start when Power got on the end of a long ball from Sean Keogh and drilled low shot into the corner.

However, the advantage was rather short-lived as a Keith Nibbs header levelled matters; before another set piece goal gave Rangers a 2-1 interval advantage as Stephen Gilmore got on the end of a Mark Wynne free kick to head home.

The Sligo visitors were displaying plenty of ability and they levelled matters for the second time when Ciaran Harvey applied the finish on this occasion with another header to tie up matters at 2-2 on the hour mark.

In a contest in which numerous opportunities were created at both ends, it was Rangers who regained the advantage when Paul Smith linked up with Keogh before slotting home to make it 3-2.

Rangers goalkeeper Shane Richardson continued to play his part with some smashing saves, and as the game entered the final minute, it was Power who again applied the finish that sealed the win and will also act as a confidence booster for a side struggling somewhat in the Premier League.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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