Some Galway city councillors are just mouthpieces for management


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Some Galway city councillors are just mouthpieces for management Some Galway city councillors are just mouthpieces for management

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Some city councillors are so obsessed with getting traction online they’ve forgotten what their role is or should be.

A handful of them seem to think that it is their job to paint Galway City Council in a positive light.

They forget, however, that they are elected by the people, to work for the people. We did not put them in City Hall to be patsies for management.

They’re supposed to hold accountable the Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, and his team of Directors, for how they run the city.

Now, you can have a certain degree of sympathy with councillors’ predicament because often the general public does not make the distinction between elected members and the permanent public servants who wield the real power.

So, when, on the face of it, there’s a ‘good news’ story emanating from the bowels of College Road, councillors are eager to promote it, rather than to probe it further.

When they do this, they portray a ‘positive’ image of the City Council in order to get likes and shares and ingratiate themselves with management.

But in reality they do a disservice to their voters, to the general public, and to themselves. Because uncritically sharing ‘news’ announced by the Council – ‘news’ remember in this context is written by in-house PR people whose job it is to make the Council look good – is giving their followers the rose-tinted story only.

That’s not to say councillors shouldn’t give credit where it’s due. It’s just that, they shouldn’t swallow everything the Council executive feeds them. Even Council press releases that are, on the face of it ‘positive’, deserve further scrutiny.

But some councillors are too busy competing with each other to be the ‘first’ with the ‘good news’. They’ve forgotten that their job is firstly to probe whether it is in fact good news at all and to ask questions about how it might be better news.

They’ve become propagandists, willingly – or maybe unwittingly? – manipulated to regurgitate the City Council line.

They let the Council off the hook because actually doing their job might not fit into 280 characters on Twitter. Local democracy suffers as a result.

Photo: City Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath: supposed to be held to account by elected representatives.
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the November 4 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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