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Praying for divine intervention – to pick up bar tab



Bradley Bytes with Dara Bradley

Though the invite was very late arriving by fax, we thought it rude not to attend the new mayor’s party last week. We, like most attendees, went out of politeness and a sense of duty . . . nothing at all to do with the free bar.

In fairness to the newest first citizen, City Councillor Pádraig Conneely, ‘twas a good auld party out the back of O’Connell’s Bar, Eyre Square.

The sun was shining, the barbeque was going ninety, the pints were flowing, Don Stiffe was rattling out the tunes and the craic, as they say, was mighty.

Even Galway West Fine Gael TD Seán Kyne, who can often look uncomfortable at these types of social events, appeared to be enjoying himself.

What, we wondered, was the secret to such a successful mayoral bash? “I went to Mass that morning down at the Poor Clares’ and prayed for fine weather and that it would go well,” revealed Pádraig.

Now if only the Poor Clares could pray hard enough to make his bar tab disappear . . .

Insider story of Mayor’s Party

We could fill several columns with the goings-on at the mayoral bash but we won’t bore you, and will keep it to a dozen observations.

Sight of the Night: Outgoing mayor, Terry O’Flaherty showing off bruises on her leg, still visible through her dark-coloured tights. The scars were picked up when she fell climbing Croagh Patrick.

Functional Fashion of the Night: Terry, again. Now that she has no mayoral car to chauffeur her round, she wore flat shoes in case she had to walk home to Mervue.

Conspicuous Absentee of the Night: Independent City Councillor Donal Lyons. We wondered why Donal wasn’t there. “He hasn’t gone to one in ages,” snorted one of his colleagues, who declined to elaborate.

Most Unwelcome Invited Guest of the Night: Too many to mention – the host has many political enemies!

X-Factor Moment of the Night: No contest here. Labour Party City Councillor Nuala Nolan wins hands-down. The Bacardi and Coke, we reckon, gave Nuala the ‘Dutch courage’ to grab the microphone off Don Stiffe and regale us with her crowd-pleasing rendition of the Tennessee Waltz.

Party Animals of the Night: No contest here either. St Michael’s GAA Club members . . . still on a high after beating Killererin in the senior championship.

Sour Pusses of the Night: The rest of the Labour Party councillors in attendance . . . apparently not enough champagne or smoked salmon for these ‘socialists’.

Quote of the Night: “They’re either here for the free drink or my seat is in trouble!” – Fianna Fáil City Councillor Ollie Crowe as he watched scores of whom he thought were supporters of his, and committed ‘number ones’, file into his constituency rival’s, the Fine Gael mayor’s party.

Worried Look of the Night: Ollie again, as he muttered the above words.

Most Relieved Look of the Night: Pádraig, when the barmen cut-off the gratis booze.

Early Leavers of the Night: Independent City Councillor Declan McDonnell and new City Manager, Brendan McGrath, were both spotted slipping away early. Not together, we hasten to add.

Late Arrival of the Night: Director of Services Ciarán Hayes, a nemesis of the host (the pair have regularly clashed, publicly) arriving at the top of the queue for the BBQ to be told all the burgers were gone.  Apparently Seán Kyne got the last one . . . no wonder the normally deadpan Moycullen man managed to crack a smile.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel. 


Greens back Nigerian woman to challenge Cheevers in Galway City East



Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Galway City East is probably the most diverse of the city’s three electoral wards.

Doughiska and Roscam have large populations of what we call the ‘new Irish’ who, up until the last local election, felt a bit detached from the political system and the local elected representatives who are supposed to represent them.

Fianna Fáil’s Alan Cheevers changed that. After he lost out on a Council seat in 2014, Cheesy Cheevers targeted the votes of migrants who made Galway City East their homes.

Five years later, the communities of Roscam and Doughiska rewarded Cheevers’ hard work with a seat.

At the time, he credited those two areas, and particularly their diverse communities, for his electoral success.

“People in the Doughiska and Roscam community got behind me. There are 42 nationalities there, who feel under-represented over the last number of years. It was important for me to get elected for the 7,500 people in those two areas,” he told the Tribune after triumphing in 2019.

Black Africans made up a significant portion of his support base. East Europeans, too.

He’ll be hoping to retain their support next year to retain his seat.

But he won’t have it all his own way. The Green Party has announced that Joyce Mathias, a Nigerian, will contest the election in City East next year.

A black woman, who immigrated to Ireland 20 years ago and sees Ireland as home, is aiming to become the first person of colour to be elected to City Hall.

According to the party, Joyce Mathias advocates for social justice here as well as her native country.

“Her humanitarian work in Nigeria includes visits to rural schools to motivate the students on benefits of education. She also visits the prisons to advocate for those wrongfully imprisoned.

“Here in Ireland she has fundraised for LauraLynn, Mater Foundation, Pieta House, Mental Health Ireland and Trócaire,” the Green Party said of the post-graduate of University of Galway who studied Strategy, Innovation and People Management.

Her entrance into the race could put pressure on Cheevers’ first preference votes among the African community.

But as a representative of that community, even Councillor Cheevers will acknowledge that a black African face on the ballot paper will make that ballot paper more representative of the area he represents.

(Photo: City Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF), with Joyce Mathias, Green Party candidate in City East (left) and the Nigerian Ambassador to Ireland, Ijeoma Obiezu, at the Cumasú Centre in Doughiska last week).
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the March 31 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Bridie O’Flaherty delivers – from beyond the grave!



Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Even years after their deaths, some Galway politicians are still being credited with securing works.

At a recent meeting of Galway City Council, during discussion about the BusConnects project on the Dublin Road, it was outlined how a traffic lights junction would be installed at the entrance to Merlin Park Hospital as part of the overall works.

Cllr Frank Fahy (FG) said there was nothing new about this proposal – it had been first mooted by the late Councillor Bridie O’Flaherty in The Connacht Sentinel newspaper more than 30 years ago.

Bridie, a former Mayor who retired from politics in 1999 and died in 2008, had for a long time campaigned for the lights.

Her daughter, Cllr Terry O’Flaherty (Ind), confirmed to the meeting it was at least 35 years since her mother had proposed traffic lights at the hospital entrance.

Another former mayor, Cllr Angela Lynch-Lupton (FG), who retired from politics in 2004 and died in 2007, was credited by Cllr Donal Lyons (Ind) for championing a pedestrian bridge on the old Clifden Railway Bridge – a ‘Millennium Project’ that should have been built over 20 years ago but looks set to proceed in the coming years.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) said credit for the bridge was also due to former Fianna Fáil Minister, Séamus Brennan, a Salthill man who was TD for Dublin South until his death in 2008.

“He put it forward as a Millennium Project and I was Mayor at the time,” said Cllr McDonnell.

Maybe when the projects are eventually brought to fruition, they could be named after their original supporters.

The Bridie O’Flaherty traffic light junction doesn’t necessarily trip off the tongue, but the (Séamus) Brennan Bridge has a ring to it.

(Photo by Joe O’Shaughnessy: The late Bridie O’Flaherty with her daughter Terry in 1999).

This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the March 24 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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RTÉ 2FM changes direction but ‘remains committed’ to Gaeilge



Photo of Dan Healy

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley 

In 2015, RTÉ launched an ‘action plan’ for the Irish language. It contained initiatives such as the introduction of Irish language news bulletins on 2FM, delivered by staff of RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, including those based in Conamara.

Galway man Rónán Mac Con Iomaire, who back then was RTÉ Group Head, Irish Language, said the plan “seeks to integrate the Irish language into everything we do in RTÉ”.

At the time, according to RTÉ News, it was welcomed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny as an “integral part of the implementation of the 20-year strategy for the Irish-language 2010-2030, which is the cornerstone of Government policy in this area”.

Alas, the Irish bulletins on 2FM are not so integral, it seems. The station has now quietly dropped them.

Who cares, you might ask. But RTÉ is the national broadcaster. And as such, it has a special responsibility towards the Irish language. Yes, RnaG provides a vital service to Gaeltacht areas and to its Irish language listenership. But it cannot be expected to do the heavy-lifting alone.

RTÉ radio has a responsibility to the Irish language, whether it likes it or not. Part of its public service remit is a commitment to Irish language programming. That’s not just an aspiration. By law, RTÉ must provide a certain percentage of programming ‘as Gaeilge’.

We know the Coimisinéir Teanga (language commissioner), based in Na Forbacha, has previously highlighted RTÉ’s failures to fulfil its commitment to Irish language programming.

Despite the removal of the Nuacht bulletins, Head of 2FM Dan Healy (pictured) insisted the station “remains committed to the Irish language in its schedule”.

He told Bradley Bytes: “We believe that 2FM’s 1.30pm Nuacht bulletin is not an appointment to listen for Irish language speakers and doesn’t offer a viable listening opportunity to non-fluent speakers.

“In 2023, 2FM has introduced bilingual travel bulletins, Monday to Friday, during our midweek breakfast show. We are also introducing a new weekend bilingual breakfast show with Blaithnaid (sic) Treacy on Saturdays and Sundays, and we will continue with our National Chart Show in both languages.

“These changes represent the start of 2FM bringing more Irish language to our listeners which we believe will better promote the Irish language to our audience.”

Taken on face value, getting rid of Nuacht bulletins and focusing on other Irish language programming appropriate to its young audience, might be in the best interests of 2FM. But is it what’s best for Irish?

And will it encourage the D4 decision makers in Montrose to move to axe Irish-language news bulletins from RTÉ Radio One? If that happens, what’s next?

The reality is that without Irish output on RTÉ, the language is screwed.

So today, St Patrick’s Day, the final day of Seachtain na Gaeilge, is an appropriate time to ponder our national broadcaster’s relationship with, and responsibility to, the Irish language.
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the March 17 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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