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CITY TRIBUNE

Tea, biscuits and a warm welcome for Ambassador

Dara Bradley

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Bradley Bytes – a political column with Dara Bradley 

An extract from the mayoral visitors’ book contains a message from Ambassador of Israel, Ophir Kariv, who said: “Thank you for the warm welcome”.

It was dated February 15, the day of the visit of the ambassador to City Hall; a visit that was not communicated to elected members of Galway City Council, or publicised more widely.

Records released to this newspaper under Freedom of Information (FOI) now shine some light on the visit, which was criticised by councillors for being ‘secret’.

The “courtesy call”, as it was officially called, was instigated by the Israeli Ambassador.

His assistant wrote to the Mayor’s Office on February 4, to say that he was visiting Galway 11 days later, and “would be delighted to have the opportunity to pay a courtesy call to the Mayor of Galway City.”

An official in the Mayor’s Office responded to say that the request was forwarded to Mayor Niall McNelis.

He added that the mayoral diary showed McNelis had appointments in the morning of February 15, but there was a “possibility” of an afternoon appointment. The Ambassador’s office replied to say he’d be glad to meet in the afternoon, and asked for a specific time.

McNelis then told his own office that he was “not available” because he had a NWRA (Northern and Western Regional Assembly) meeting. “Can you ask the deputy mayor to attend,” he asked.

There is no correspondence with Cllr Donal Lyons, but he obviously agreed to deputise and met Mr Ophir on February 15.

The Ambassador’s office didn’t sound too disappointed that McNelis couldn’t attend and reported that Mr Kariv, “would be delighted to meet with the deputy mayor”. She attached a biography of the Ambassador, so that Donal could brush-up for the small talk.

On February 11, the office of Chief Executive, said “it looks like” Brendan McGrath “will not be available” to meet the Ambassador as he was at meetings “right up to 3pm” and another at 3.15pm and 3.30pm. “But you never know, he may pop down if free.”

The Mayor’s Office submitted an order for “tea/coffee/biscuits/water” for four people for the Mayor Room on the day of the visit. No minutes of the meeting were recorded, although photographs of Deputy Mayor and the Ambassador shaking hands, were taken inside City Hall.

The meeting appears to have been nothing more than a photo opportunity – so why the secrecy? And despite the charm offensive, the mayor seconded a motion by Colette Connolly, this week, calling on RTÉ to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest ‘as long as it is held in Israel’.

Byrne’s ‘sexting’ leaflet is the talk of the town!

“Are your horney?” isn’t the run of the mill sort of question you’d expect to see on local election literature. But then again, the election leaflets of Fianna Fáil’s second candidate in City Central, Imelda Byrne, are no ordinary leaflets . . .
This is a preview only. To read more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.

CITY TRIBUNE

Council to consider new pedestrian ‘plaza’ for Galway City

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors will be asked next month to consider a sweeping overhaul of traffic flow in the city centre as the local authority seeks to create a more pedestrian-friendly core in the wake of Covid-19.

Currently under proposal in City Hall are major alterations to traffic flow which will allow for restricted car access to Middle Street – creating additional outdoor seating space for businesses in the area struggling to cope amid social distancing requirements.

Senior Engineer at City Hall, Uinsinn Finn, said they are currently considering three different proposals to alter traffic flow on Merchants Road, Augustine Street and Flood Street to reduce the need for car access to Middle Street, while still maintaining access for residents.

“We already pedestrianised Cross Street and we will be maintaining that, and there will be a proposal for Middle Street and Augustine Street.

“Businesses in the area are very much in favour of pedestrianisation – one business has objections but the others are supportive. Another consideration is that there are residents there with parking spaces and we are trying to encourage people to live in the city centre,” said Mr Finn.

The Latin Quarter business group submitted proposals for the temporary pedestrianisation of Middle Street and Abbeygate Street Lower but Mr Finn said the proposals the Council were considering were more in the line of creating adequate space for pedestrians while still allowing residents vehicular access.

This would involve creating a circuit for car traffic moving through Merchants Road around onto Augustine Street and exiting at Flood Street.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Residents want laneway closed following pipe bomb scare

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Residents in part of Knocknacarra are calling for the closure of a laneway and for more Community Gardaí to be put on the beat following the discovery of a ‘viable’ pipe-bomb type device in the area last weekend.

Up to 13 homes in the Cimín Mór and Manor Court estates had to be evacuated on Friday evening last when the incendiary device was discovered by Gardaí concealed in an unlit laneway, leading to the emergency services being notified.

An Army EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit was called to the scene and removed the device – according to local residents and councillors, the Gardaí have confirmed that the device was viable.

Gardaí have declined to comment on the detail of the case but have confirmed that the matter is being ‘actively and vigorously investigated’.

Chairman of the Cimín Mór Residents’ Association, Pat McCarthy, told the Galway City Tribune that the discovery of the viable device on the narrow laneway that links their estate to Manor Court was extremely frightening for all concerned.

“For the best part of the past 20 years, we have been seeking action to be taken on this laneway which has been used for dumping and unsociable behaviour on a repeated basis.

“But what happened last Friday evening was really the last straw for us. This could have resulted in serious injury to innocent people and what is also of concern to us is how close this was to the two schools in the area,” said Mr McCarthy.

He said that over the coming days, the residents’ association would be petitioning all residents in the three estates concerned – the other two being Manor Court and Garraí Dhónaill – for action to be taken on the laneway.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway designer’s necklace is fit for a princess!

Denise McNamara

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Kate Middleton wearing the necklace designed by Aisling O'Brien

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A Galway jewellery designer is the latest to experience the ‘Kate effect’ after fans tracked down the woman who created a necklace for the Duchess of Cambridge which she has worn several times since it was gifted to her during her trip to the city last March.

Aisling O’Brien’s website crashed on Wednesday night when orders poured in for the piece from around the world. The necklace costs €109 with initials, while the earrings retail for €49.

“I’d never sold more than two things outside of Ireland before. I only had three of Kate’s necklaces in stock – and now I have orders for at least 50. I’ll have to start recruiting some elves,” laughs Aisling, who only set up her website during lockdown.

The 14-carat gold necklace and earrings set was designed by Aisling specially for Kate after examining her style – “understated, elegant, simplicity” is how the Tuam native describes it.

She was contacted about the commission by physiotherapist Thérèse Tully, who wanted to give the future queen a gift as she was using her room to change at Árus Bóthar na Trá beside Pearse Stadium when the royal couple were meeting with GAA teams.

(Photo: Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton wearing the necklace)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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