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Bradley Bytes

Retiring ‘rebel’ revels in rainbow revolution!

Dara Bradley

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Bradley Bytes – A political column with Dara Bradley 

One of the last acts as a city councillor for Labour’s Billy Cameron was to meet Cuban Ambassador to Ireland, Hugo René Ramos Milanés, and Consul Soraya Torres Jaime.

The three Sinn Féin city councillors (Cathal Ó Conchúir, Mark Lohan and Maireád Farrell) who lost their seats in the local election, but officially remained elected members until last Friday, met the visiting dignitaries too.

Along with Comrade Cameron and the three Shinners was Mayor of Galway, Niall McNelis (Lab); all five were present when the Cuban flag was hoisted over City Hall last Tuesday week.

It was a big day for the Lefties; and a particularly special one for Comrade Cameron, a long-time admirer of Fidel Castro, who travelled to Cuba in 2016, in a personal capacity, with President Michael D Higgins.

The Cubans came to Galway last week bearing gifts, including famed cigars and bottles of rum from the South America socialist outpost.

Some days later, a ragbag of left-leaning city councillors – including McNelis – joined forces with right-leaning city councillors, including the former PDs, to form a Rainbow mayoral pact.

No blood was shed – yet – but it was truly revolutionary, and it is believed to be the first time Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have been frozen out of the controlling pact, and associated spoils, on Galway City Council’s history.

Though he wasn’t involved in the horse-trading, Comrade Cameron, not normally one to give in to temptation, felt the Rainbow Revolution was as good a reason as any to crack open his newly acquired bottle of Havana Club rum, and a much-sought-after Cuban cigar.

“Viva la rainbow revolución,” he toasted.

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

CITY TRIBUNE

Critic Connolly is Cat who got the cream!

Dara Bradley

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Catherine Connolly, one of the Dáil's most effective Deputies, won the vote for what is an important but impartial role.

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

The cynics among us, if we didn’t know better, might say that the Government lost the vote on Leas-Cheann Comhairle on purpose, rather than by mistake, so as to silence one of the sharpest TDs in Dáil Éireann, and a most vocal and articulate critic of this and the previous Governments.

Alas, even the cynics are all too aware that the current Government hasn’t the capability or capacity to intentionally pull off such a Machiavellian feat, even if it wanted to.

No. Fergus O’Dowd (FG) losing out to Galway West TD, Catherine Connolly (Ind), in a vote on who would become the deputy speaker of the Dáil, was not calculated to sideline Cat Connolly.

It was just another cock-up by the new Coalition of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party that has dithered, stumbled and slept on the job – literally – since it threw together a programme for Government last month.

The upshot may be the same, though. As Leas-Cheann Comhairle, Cat Connolly, the Claddagh Queen, will be non-partisan in the chair. Her personal opinions and take on life will no longer be relevant when she’s deputising for Seán Ó Fearghaíl.

Of course, when she’s not chairing Dáil debates, Connolly is entitled to have her say.

But will she continue to be outspoken? Can you tear lumps out of An Taoiseach Micheál Martin at Leaders’ Questions in the morning, and then expect to be viewed as a neutral arbitrator of contentious debates in the afternoon?

While not wishing to take away from Cat Connolly’s achievement of becoming the first ever woman to be elected into the position – shocking really that it’s taken 101 years to break that particular glass ceiling – from a purely selfish perspective, we hope parliament hasn’t ‘lost’ one of its most effective Deputies to what is an important but impartial role.

She will still be able to submit Parliamentary Questions, and there’s no way Cat Connolly could be fully silenced. But the Public Accounts Committee, in particular, will be less effective in the absence of her razor-sharp analysis, and forensic questioning of waste of public money.
For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cllr Owen Hanley nominates himself for a Mayor’s Award!

Dara Bradley

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Nominator and nominee: Owen Hanley, with his Mayoral Award nomination certificate.

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Usually, there’d be a shortlist of nominees for the Mayor’s Awards before the actual winner is unveiled but this year it was done arseways.

City Councillor Owen Hanley, (Social Democrat) tweeted last week that he had received a “wonderful surprise”, that he was “nominated for a Mayor’s Award”.

“The winners have already been given out but even being nominated is touching,” he said.

He congratulated the winners, and thanked Mayor Mike Cubbard (Ind), “who always supports hardworking volunteers and community activists”.

Apart from doing it in reverse – announcing the winner and then revealing the short-list – what’s odd about this nomination is that city councillors tend not to be included in the Mayor’s Awards shortlist.

It’s not that councillors don’t do things that merit consideration for awards; they do. It’s just that what they do to merit awards tends to be voluntary work, associated with their involvement in politics and the community they represent.

Anyway, Cllr Hanley’s “surprise” that he had been nominated for a mayor’s award seems a bit disingenuous. That’s because, according to the application form, Cllr Hanley self-nominated for the award.

The name ‘Owen Hanley’ appears in the application form under two sub-headings; “nominee details” and “nominator details”. So, he was both nominee and nominator.

The application, received by the Council just before midnight on March 1, then details the work of Galway Pride, a voluntary organisation that organises the gay pride parade in Galway City, and a full week of events around it. It is the longest-running pride parade in Ireland, run by a committee of volunteers of which Owen Hanley is a member.

A City Hall source said the nomination certificates were, naturally enough, sent to the nominees as nominated by the nominators.

Maybe Owen Hanley filled out the form in error. Perhaps he meant to nominate Galway Pride and not himself, ‘Owen Hanley’. That might explain his ‘surprise’ on Twitter at being nominated for an award he in fact nominated himself for.

It’s just as well he didn’t win, because there could’ve been an almighty tug-of-war between himself and the Galway Pride committee over who would get the €500 cash prize, and the specially commissioned commemorative trophy given to award winners.
For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

City Council tries to recoup cost of Mayor’s NYC flights

Dara Bradley

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Mayor Mike whose trip to Seattle for St Patrick’s Day was grounded by Covid-19. PHOTO: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Complaints about airlines have soared during the coronavirus pandemic. In April, the Irish Times reported that the Commission for Aviation Regulation was receiving around 200 complaints every day.

They mostly related to the refusal of airlines to offer refunds for flights that were cancelled due to Covid-19.

Despite being obliged to refund, airlines were instead offering vouchers and credit notes as they faced a cash shortfall and existential crisis.

If you’re one of the thousands of customers awaiting a refund, you’re in good company – so, too, is Galway City Council, which is awaiting a refund on flights for Mayor of Galway, Mike Cubbard.

Mayor Mike, his wife Karen and four close family members were due to fly to Seattle in March.

In keeping with a recent annual tradition, the First Citizen was invited to be part of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations, in Seattle, a sister city of Galway. Mayor Mike was then due to travel onwards to New York for official engagements with Galway Diaspora in the Big Apple.

Director of Services, Tom Connell was scheduled to accompany him, representing Council management.

Then Covid-19 happened and the trip didn’t proceed.

Following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, the City Council has confirmed that the money it spent to book flights for the trips has not yet been recouped.

Invoices show that flights for the First Citizen, his wife and four family members from Dublin to Seattle, and returning to Dublin via New York JFK Kennedy International cost €4,017.83. They were scheduled to travel economy class.

A Council spokesperson said that while the booking was made collectively, and the Mayor and his wife’s costs were covered by the local authority, the four other family members were flying at their own expense.
For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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