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Bradley Bytes

The Galway Tent is dead, long live the Galway Tent

Dara Bradley

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Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

The famous ‘Galway Tent’ at Ballybrit may have been abandoned in 2008 when Brian Cowen became leader of Fianna Fáil . . . but you wouldn’t think it given how often today’s politicians talk about it.

The Galway Tent is alive and well: A trawl of Dáil speeches shows that our politicians cannot let go of the ‘tint’ that was synonymous with Celtic Tiger excess, as much as it was for Fianna Fáil fundraising.

Since the last general election, the Galway Tent has had dozens of mentions in our national parliament.  On the eve of the 2013 Races, we thought we’d give you a flavour of the name blackening the mythical Galway Tent has taken these past few years in the Dáil.

“. . . this party never had a tent in Galway and never shepherded people into it on a regular basis for contributions.” – On his high horse, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny declared to FF leader Micheál Martin in March, 2011.

Seven days later, that other guardian of the moral high ground, Sinn Féin’s Martin Ferris wondered is FG, “genuine about putting an end to the culture of the Galway tent and cosy dinners and golf classics”.

In April, Cork TD Jerry Buttimer wondered, “Is the Galway tent being brought back”; and why not, because according to a Cork colleague 10 days later, “the Galway tent did a roaring trade”.

Buttimer, again, in May 2011, said his constituents are “not the high flyers or the socialites who were drinking in the Galway tent”, and the following month, that he would “not pander to the developers in the Galway Tent”; and in September 2012 he referred to the “Punch and Judy politics . . . of the Galway tent”. And earlier this year he wondered was the “Galway tent a mirage”.

For someone not keen on the Galway tent, Buttimer sure is obsessed with it and mentioned it more than any other TD since the last election, closely followed by Independent Seán Barrett.

Another TD who “never once visited the Galway tent” but who talks about it nonstop nonetheless is Joan Collins (Ind), while Senator Jimmy Harte also never darkened its door but knew that the Galway Tent was a place where “champagne corks popped”. Insightful, is Jimmy.

It took outspoken Tipperary TD Mattie motor-mouth McGrath to point out to FG last June that they were not exactly holier than thou when it comes to fundraising. “Fine Gael attacked the last government for the Galway Tent but those in the party have a fair number of tents themselves and a fair amount of money”. Touché Mattie.

The Galway Tent was accused of a lot of things, since the last election, the most bizarre being, “the destruction of the sugar industry”. That particular gem was a contribution to the Dáil by Tom Barry TD last October. Haven’t the foggiest what it’s about, either.

Long after its demise, the ‘tint’s’ Dáil and Seanad mentions go on and on and on. The Galway tent reference was once a poor attempt at a political putdown . . . now it’s still a tired cliché from lazy TDs who couldn’t be arsed coming up with new insults.

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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