Date Published: 27-Apr-2011
The name of Billy Lawless has cropped up bigtime in speculation in Galway Fine Gael circles in the past week as a possibility for a nomination as one of the ‘Taoiseach’s Eleven’ to the Senate from Enda Kenny – Lawless is the city man with the very strong White House and Obama links.
Before anyone runs off and starts ringing Billy Lawless in Chicago to congratulate him, can I stress that these sort of posts are kept tightly under wraps. The eventual ‘Eleven’ will be divided between Fine Gael and Labour at the end of the Senate election count and after lobbying, pressure and negotiation that will be intense right up to the very last minute.
However, that hasn’t stopped the speculation in FG circles in Galway because of the extraordinary Lawless connections to The White House and because of the importance of the ‘Irish American’ issues in the States because of the numbers of undocumented Irish who are in the US.
It would also provide an unusual link outside the normal run of politics, if Enda Kenny were anxious to spread the ‘experience’ of the Senate a little outside the usual world of politics. That is before the promised referendum is eventually held to abolish the Upper House, in line with the cost-cutting proposals put forward by just about every party in the run up to the election a few weeks ago.
Certainly, if it were decided to give recognition in this way, Lawless would have the kind of credentials which are rare – he runs a major business in the States and he is a personal friend of both President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, that friendship going back some years to the time when Michelle Obama had her own law practice in Chicago.
At the time, Billy Lawless ran a pub, ‘The Cage’ in the Chicago neighbourhood and got to know Michelle Obama, with a friendship growing up between Lawless and then young rising stars of the political firmament. It was at a time when Barack Obame just beginning his meteoric rise from Chicago to the White House.
That friendship was part of the background, for instance, to Galway City Councillor Padraig Conneely getting an invitation as Mayor to the White House St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Billy Lawless has also been deeply personally involved with the whole issue of the undocumented Irish in the United States, something that seems destined to be a major issue in time to come … with the Lawless White House connections being very unique as a possible link to high places in the US administration.
Lawless was home in Galway a few weeks ago to hail the remarkable Fine Gael victory in Galway West, where Brian Walsh and Sean Kyne took two FG Dail seats in Galway West for the first time in almost thirty years.
The very successful Chicago restaurauteur had come home to spend two weeks on the campaign trail full-time with Brian Walsh. That friendship goes back years to the time when Brian Walsh’s late father, Councillor Pascal Walsh, was a popular and long-serving member of Galway City Council.
Meanwhile, other Galway names to watch in Fine Gael – as those Senate votes are counted – are former Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames, Councillor Michael Mullins, Councillor Peter Feeney and Councillor Tom McHugh, the latter three in Galway East where Fine Gael will be seeking to add to its power base in the wake of two Dail seats won (Paul Connaughton and Ciaran Cannon).
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Judge adjourns Connemara assault case
Date Published: 08-May-2013
A date will be set next October for the trial of a 52-year old Connemara man, who is charged with assaulting traditional Irish musician Noel Hill five years ago.
Michael Folan from Teach Mór, Lettermullen, is charged with intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Noel Hill at Tí Padraig Mairtín Beag in Leitir Mór, on St Stephen’s Day, 2008.
The matter had been listed for trial on several occasions before Galway Circuit Criminal Court in the intervening period.
It was referred to the High Court in Dublin last year for judicial review after Michael Folan said he wanted his trial heard ‘as Gaeilge’and that a bi-lingual jury be made available to hear the case.
At Galway Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Rory McCabe adjourned the case for mention to October when it’s expected a date will be set for trial.
Bank of Ireland Galway Shopping Centre branch to close
Date Published: 10-May-2013
Bank of Ireland’s branch at Galway Shopping Centre on the Headford Road is to close in July.
The branch is to merge into the BOI outlet at Galway Industrial Estate in Mervue.
Galway Bay fm news reports the 14 staff impacted are to be offered redeployment and there will be no job losses.
Galway RNLI rescues three people stranded on Hare Island
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Galway RNLI Lifeboat has come to the rescue of three students who got stranded on Hare Island after getting caught in the tide off Ballyloughan Beach.
The two girls and boy, in their late teens had gone for a walk and were spotted waving from the island by a local resident who contacted the emergency Services and Galway Lifeboat.
Conditions at the time (4pm) were very changeable with heavy showers.
Three members of the Lifeboat shore crew were working in the vicinity of the station at the time and launched the boat in six minutes.
The three students were picked up safely and brought back to the Lifeboat Station at Galway Docks where they were warmed up and given tea and did not require medical attention.