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Bradley Bytes

‘Tis thirsty weather for having a go at students

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Nice work if you can get it: President Michael D Higgins meets the Galway United players before the start of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division game against Derry City at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Niall McNelis’ sanctimonious tosh about alcohol is enough to drive anyone to drink.  The Labour Party city councillor was on the Joe Duffy show on RTÉ recently, banging on about students’ drinking habits and Rag Week and Donegal Tuesday and whatever you’re having yourself.

And with St Patrick’s Day looming, no doubt he’ll be finger-pointing again at young people who enjoy a beverage or two.

Cheap-shot student-bashing is populist and will get you plenty of airtime on the national broadcaster. It may even garner a few votes, too.

But you’d swear zero-craic McNelis was a teetotaller, who never indulged in a few scoops during his student days.

He’s towing the Labour line on all of this of course.

The party wants alcohol sponsorship in sport banned; price-fixing – or minimum pricing as they like to call it, which means we pay more for beer and wine; and warning labels and calorie counts on bottles and cans. He’s stopped short at calling for a Michael McDowell ‘café culture’ but, who knows, if it gets him some more radio exposure, McNelis may revive that idea.

Bradley Bytes does seem to recall downing a few pints with McNelis late in a city centre pub on the night/early morning he was first elected to Galway City Council.

Well able to throw them back, too, he was. And the only complaints about drink that night was whether we could get enough of the stuff.

Lovely Lorraine’s self-praise

Politicians want to be bearers of good news. If politicians deliver good news, they reckon that they’ll get a boost from the feel-good factor of being associated with that good news.

And if they’re associated with good news, the likelihood is a gullible electorate will think that the politician is responsible for the good news, as opposed to shamelessly attaching themselves to it.

Sometimes that bandwagon-hopping backfires.

Step forward Labour Party senator Lorraine Higgins who had quite a bit of egg on her face after making a balls of an attempt to be associated with good news.

Lovely Lorraine rushed on local radio, and announced on Twitter, how delighted she was that the Galway Mountain Rescue team was successful in bringing students to safety in Sligo.

A very good news story, you’ll agree.

Except it wasn’t the Galway Mountain Rescue who were involved in the rescue but their counterparts in the Sligo/Leitrim Mountain Rescue.

We hear Lovely Lorraine got a right tongue-lashing from members of Sligo/Leitrim Mountain Rescue, who were understandably upset at not getting the credit for risking their lives to save others.

Their Galway equivalent was apparently mortified at the praise, which in this case, wasn’t due.

Think before you tweet, Lorraine.

CITY TRIBUNE

City Council’s contempt for the public it serves

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A City Council picture showing an aerial view of work on the new pedestrian bridge. The local authority has not covered itself in glory when it comes to informing the public about road closures to facilitate the project.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Galway City Council appears to just do what it wants when it wants.

Last Friday, it officially closed a road at Newtownsmyth. It will be closed until October 28.

The closure, which was to commence last Friday, September 23, was to facilitate construction works on the new bridge at Salmon Weir for pedestrians and cycling.

It is essential work and the closure is necessary for health and safety purposes.

The City Council, as is only right and proper, advertised the closure in advance, online and in a free-sheet newspaper. So far, so good.

Except, as anyone who knows Newtownsmyth is aware, that road has been closed for weeks and even months prior to the September 23 official closure start date.

Trying to find the City Council’s closure order, and public notice, for closing the road at Newtownsmyth prior to September 23 has proved as difficult as sourcing the Third secret of Fatima.

Requests to City Hall’s communications department to confirm whether the Council had a legitimate closure order prior to September 23 have not shone any light on the subject.

And so, in the absence of an adequate response, is it reasonable to conclude that the Council did not have permission to close Newtownsmyth prior to September 23?

And if that’s the case, can the Council now just go around closing roads willy-nilly, without notice and without allowing input from residents and users of the road?

Maybe it was a mistake. If it was, why not say so? The Galway public is forgiving. Maybe they had gone through proper procedure, but why not just show us the notice if that’s the case?

For too long now, though, City Councillors have been treated with contempt by the unelected executive at City Hall and the suspicion is this closure without notice was just another manifestation of that contempt spreading to the public too.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Snubs show City Council protocol has gone to pot!

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City Hall failed to inform Cllr Donal Lyons that a Minister and Junior Minister were coming to his Knocknacarra kingdom to turn the sod on a housing development. None of the other councillors were informed about the event or invited to it either.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

City Hall has gone to pot with protocol. It continues to ignore elected representatives of Galway City Council when it comes to issuing invites to events, and is treating lay members of Strategic Policy Committees with disdain, too.

Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) raised the touchy subject of councillors not receiving invites to ministerial envelope-openings around the city.

The King of Knocknacarra recalled at the latest Council meeting, how City Hall failed to invite local representatives to the turning of the sod on the Salmon Weir pedestrian bridge earlier this year.

That omission, reported in Bradley Bytes, put Councillor Frank Fahy’s nose out of joint and led to a grovelling apology from Chief Executive Brendan McGrath. The head honcho said it would not happen again. It did, though.

At the September meeting last week, Cllr Lyons suggested little had been learned from the experience.

A Minister and Junior Minister had been in Galway recently, to turn the sod on a housing development in his Knocknacarra kingdom and nobody thought to tell him, or the Mayor of Galway, or any other councillor for that matter. “It’s not a gripe,” he said, “but it has happened before.”

Cllr Colette Connolly (Ind) also hit out at the lack of invites and breach of protocol. She said that since Covid, local representatives were not getting “any notifications”.

For it to happen once or twice is a mistake. This is beginning to look like a pattern, though. And it has led many to wonder whether there is an unofficial policy in Galway City Council of treating the elected representatives of the people with disdain, by ignoring long-established protocol regarding invites to events and openings.

Standards are slipping, that’s for sure. But it’s not just elected members feeling left out.

Long-time City Council agitator, Derrick Hambleton of An Taisce revealed at last week’s Cost of Living Coalition Galway meeting in the Western Hotel how a lack of courtesy from City Hall was not confined to elected representatives.

Hambleton, a planning expert who annoys officialdom no end, is a member of the Council’s Planning Strategic Policy Committee.

It was due to meet in the past fortnight but didn’t and nobody informed him and a colleague as to why it didn’t.

“We were supposed to have a meeting last week. We weren’t told it was cancelled; we weren’t even informed. It just didn’t happen. We ask questions, we start rows. It’s a waste of time – I’ve been wasting my time for the last twenty years,” Derrick told the Prospect Hill meeting.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors conspicuously absent from cost of living ‘crisis’ meeting

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

About 60 people attended the Western Hotel on Monday night, for a public meeting about the cost of living and housing crises facing Galway.

Organised by left-leaning lobbyists, Cost of Living Coalition Galway, it lasted about 90-minutes.

Conspicuous by their absence were almost all of Galway’s elected representatives.

Sinn Féin TD in the Galway West constituency, Mairéad Farrell, was a guest speaker and was there for two-thirds of it, before skipping off to another engagement.

But no other Oireachtas representative (TD or Senator) showed up, although Leas-Cheann Comhairle Catherine Connolly (Ind) was listed in literature as supporting the campaign.

According to one of the organisers, Adrian Curran, a local rep for People Before Profit, all of Galway’s TDs were contacted about the event, which was used to rally support for a cost-of-living demonstration in Dublin on Saturday, September 24, three days before the Budget.

None of the 18 Galway City councillors showed up either.

Lorraine Lally, volunteer with Galway branch of Access for All, who chaired the meeting, said she didn’t want to name names.

But she said a number of councillors politely made their excuses – there was a City Council meeting they had to attend from early afternoon on Monday, and some had been working prior to the Council meeting. Another event on top of that would’ve been too taxing, they said.

The Mayor of Galway, Clodagh Higgins (FG) told Lally that she had a prior engagement – honouring the All-Ireland winning Galway Intermediate camogie team with a reception at City Hall.

Curran wasn’t so kind. He told the meeting he contacted all city councillors but only one replied. That was the Green Party’s Niall Murphy who, Curran claimed, had informed him he wouldn’t attend because he didn’t support the coalition’s aims.

In his absence, Murphy missed many insults from the floor, including that the Greens were Thatcherites. Councillor Niall McNelis’ ears must have been burning, too – attendees labelled Labour more right-wing now than the main parties they had coalesced with, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, who predictably also got lambasted.

The Cost-of-Living Coalition Galway, which has the support of students’ unions and some trade unions, is planning more events, which councillors cannot ignore forever.

As Farrell and the Socialist Party’s Conor Burke revealed, the group wants communities to replicate the water charges rebellion, and ‘rise up’ to demand action on cutting the cost of living.

(Photo by Joe O’Shaughnessy: Mairéad Farrell (SF) was a guest speaker at a public meeting on the cost-of-living and housing crises, at the Western Hotel on Monday. She was the only Oireachtas member to attend. City councillors, also invited, were absent too. Adrian Curran of People before Profit is beside her).

This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the September 16 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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