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.
Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent
Date Published: 07-May-2013
A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.
That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.
The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.
Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.
Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.
Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.
A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.
Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.
Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.
Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.
Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action
Date Published: 12-May-2013
The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.
There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.
Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.
However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.
Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.