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Bradley Bytes

Spreading rumours only tip of dirty tricks iceberg

Dara Bradley

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Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the dirtiest trickster of them all?

Dirty tricks are part and parcel of election campaigns. Blackening the name of your opponent – and doing it surreptitiously, obviously – forms part of the election strategies of some candidates seeking power and high office.

General Elections are usually dirtier because the stakes are higher, but the local election candidates and wannabe councillors can get down and dirty with the best of the Dáil hopefuls. They’re worse when they put their minds to it!

Some dirty tricks aren’t that dirty. Like telling people on the doorsteps that ‘such and such’ a candidate is safe, and that your seat is in trouble.

It’s backhanded but hardly criminal. This type of trick usually comes from a colleague within your own party and shows that the internal battle is as vicious as the fighting between political parties.

Misrepresenting opponents’ views is another dirty trick essential to any smearing politicians’ armoury – there’s nothing like spreading a false rumour that an opponent supports a Traveller encampment being built in the local green area, to get the electorate’s backs up.

The dirty trickster who started the rumour can sit back and watch the subject of the rumour back-track and tie himself or herself up in knots because when you’re explaining in politics you’re losing. It’s textbook dirty tricks. 

Then there’s the tricksters who deface and steal opponents’ campaign posters. Election posters cost a fortune to replace and the graffiti strewn on them by dirty tricksters can often be derogatory, and even defamatory. Again, so far, so very run of the mill. 

We’ll probably return to the subject of political skulduggery between now and the locals scheduled for next year (God knows there should be enough of it going on) but we thought we’d remind you of two Galway dirty tricks of recent elections:

1. Malicious messages

The following text message was ‘doing the rounds’ among Fianna Fáil supporters in Galway on the Sunday prior to the 2011 General Election polling day.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

 

CITY TRIBUNE

Cheevers takes the hump with FG over mayoral pact

Dara Bradley

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

The bitter fallout from the mayoral pact on Galway City Council lingers. It’s the gift that keeps on giving for local political anoraks. And more bitter it’s getting!

Over two months, the original ruling pact that formed after the May 2019 Local Election, collapsed. And yet the ill-feeling simmers.

The original pact that broke-up in September due to a row over Travellers, included: Noel Larkin, Declan McDonnell, Terry O’Flaherty, Donal Lyons, Mike Cubbard and Colette Connolly (all Ind), Níall McNelis (Lab), Martina O’Connor and Niall Murphy (Green).

The new pact, which holds power at City Hall now, is the old pact, minus McDonnell and Larkin, plus the three Fine Gaelers, Clodagh Higgins, Eddie Hoare and Frank Fahy.

Fianna Fáil’s five councillors had hoped to do a deal with McDonnell, Larkin and Fine Gael to freeze out the rainbow but the Blueshirts had a better offer.

In a pact with FF, there was room for only one FG mayor. And so, led by Frankeen, FG negotiated a deal without FF that included a mayoral term each for Classy Clodagh and Eligible Eddie, in the three remaining years before the next local election.

Not only has the new pact been the ruination of the relationship between the councillors formerly known as the PDs, (few words have been exchanged between Declan, Donal and Terry) it has damaged the FF/FG friendship.

FF newcomer Alan Cheevers, or Cheesy Cheevers as he’s known, had become friendly with FG since his election to the Council. Even some of his party colleagues had remarked it was a ‘bit odd’ that he was phoning the FGers, and Classy Clodagh in particular, on an almost daily basis for chats.

Well, no more. They may have been ‘besties’ for over a year but Cheevers has cut all ties with his FG compadrés.

As well as giving them the cold shoulder at Council meetings, Cheevers snubbed them virtually, too. He has removed or blocked Eddie and Clodagh from his friends list on Facebook.

While Eddie evidently hasn’t noticed, and Classy Clodagh described it as ‘kindergarten stuff’, Cheevers is boiling.

“I’m not impressed with the pact decision. We had an alliance from the start of Council with Fine Gael. They decided to shaft us to get two mayors,” he fumed.

For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway 2020 ‘not ungrateful’ about ‘dour’ RTÉ radio ads

Dara Bradley

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column by Dara Bradley

As you know, RTÉ is national media partner of Galway 2020, the company set up to deliver the European Capital of Culture.

And as such, the national broadcaster promised “deliverables”, to use its own jargon, under the partnership.

This included pledges to broadcast The Late Late Show and other high-profile programmes from Galway, for example. It included collaboration on specific projects, such as a planned “major televised” midsummer concert at NUIG by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

The media partnership agreement with RTÉ also gave Galway 2020, “significant opportunities for branding”.

This involved RTÉ giving free advertising space to Galway 2020 on radio, television and online. Not only did RTÉ give over free airtime, they also produced the ad promotions for the group, like they did with other partnerships, such as Fleadh Cheoil.

But emails released under Freedom of Information (FOI) show the tensions between both organisations during the making of these ads, with Galway 2020 not altogether satisfied.

In August last year, Joe Hoban, Head of Communications and Corporate at RTÉ, told Fintan Maher, the then Communications Director of Galway 2020 who has since left, that the caveat was, “we are producing these from within our existing comms budget”.

“We work miracles” he said, with “some practical limitations”. But RTÉ puts forward “the best creative we can” to “produce something stunning”.

When Joe sent Fintan the results on September 6, he said the “piece is almost exactly as ideated and presented – a rare occurrence”. Alas, Galway 2020 wasn’t so sure!

Fintan replied that they “like the overall feel” of the TV ad, and then he listed all the things “we don’t like”. Fintan suggested: “Could you brighten this” and “beach doesn’t look great” and “heart looks anaemic”.

Most criticism was directed at the radio ad. “We don’t like the voice of the guy – it sounds dour”, Fintan said.

“Could he do more upbeat (voice)”, and “pace is very slow”, Fintan observed, with instructions to add and drop words.

Joe reminded Fintan that the Memorandum of Understanding “doesn’t commit RTÉ to producing the campaigns” but they did so “in the spirit of goodwill”. With limited budget, no extra resources and “challenging weather”, Joe replied, “we produced an ad of excellent overall quality”.

Agreeing to some tweaks, Joe said “we needed to be flexible with our expectations and realistic about what is achievable”. Regarding the radio, he said it was “a shame you don’t like it”.

“TG4 sourced us a west of Ireland actor with a Gaeilge blas (accent) to record it, and we felt he had nailed it”.

Fintan replied the “general agreement” in Galway 2020 was it was “too downbeat”. They “love the pronunciation of Gaeilge just the tone and pace is too slow”, and “we would rather a younger voice”.

He added the feedback on the ads, “was in no way to undermine” the support of RTÉ “or to appear in any way ungrateful”.
For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Don’t allow the Covid-19 grinches steal Christmas

Dara Bradley

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

The ‘Covid-doesn’t-care-about-Christmas’ brigade would make the needles on your Christmas fir tree wilt and turn yellow. And it only early November!

It is true, deadly viruses tend not to mark public holidays or changing seasons. And of course, Coronavirus doesn’t care about Christmas. It didn’t care about St Patrick’s Day. It didn’t care about Easter or Summer. Nor did it care about Halloween.

It doesn’t care about Christmas. But we do. We care about Christmas.

So rather than sucking the only good out of what’s been a shitty year, what’s wrong with giving people hope that restrictions will ease for a period so we can enjoy a safe Christmas?

These ‘Covid-doesn’t-care-about-Christmas’ turkeys would have us locked down, in Level 5 or harsher, interminably ’til a vaccine is found.

The Government was right to resist attempts by NPHET (National Public Health Emergency Team) to plunge the country into a full lockdown earlier, on October 5; the public wasn’t ready or conditioned for it, and might not have complied with the rules before being ‘softened up’.

The Government was also correct to go ‘nuclear’ when it did, two weeks ago, as confirmed cases of Covid-19 had escalated out of control . . . even though in hindsight, Level 3 restrictions now appear to have worked.

The results of the blunter Level 5 curtailment on society and economy will filter through soon. And all going well, by December, we’ll be back to a position where we can open up again, just in time for Santy.

Whether it’s Level 3 or 2, depends on the numbers of cases, hospital admissions, and patients in ICU, and how much pressure is applied from shuttered businesses.

Nobody wants a yo-yo situation, whereby we’re locked down again in January or February, as punishment for festive fun. And Christmas will be different this year; it has to be.

But Christmas in Level 5 or 4 – without allowing people travel home, crossing county boundaries – is unconscionable, and the Grinches calling for it should be ignored.
For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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