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CITY TRIBUNE

Vote validity uncertain as Council chaos reigns

Dara Bradley

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Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column with Dara Bradley 

The latest Galway City Council meeting ended in such chaos that a question mark hangs over decisions taken at the end of proceedings.
The meeting, which started at 2.30pm, was due to finish at 7pm, but midway through councillors agreed to suspend standing orders, take a tea break around 6pm-ish, and finish at 7.30pm.
This suited the Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, who had a 7.45pm function to attend afterwards; and the Fianna Fáil councillors – Mike and Ollie Crowe and Peter Keane – who had a party meeting at 8pm.
But when 7.30pm came around the Mayor, Niall McNelis, wanted to extend the meeting again by 15 minutes.
Brendan McGrath was reluctant – 15 minutes, after all, is never 15 minutes when it comes to Council meetings.
Ollie Crowe was having none of it, either.
Mayor McNelis ploughed on regardless and attempted to take notices of motions. Ollie became irate. “You said we’d finish at 7.30pm, and it’s now 7.32pm,” he roared.
Mayor McNelis was undeterred. Ollie got angrier. Just to emphasise that he was not allowing the meeting to proceed past the deadline, he stood up and put on his jacket indicating he was ‘good to go’.
“Don’t be pandering to other councillors,” Ollie told the Mayor, and reiterated that the meeting had officially ended at 7.30pm.
There was commotion on all sides of the chamber. Some councillors upped and left. Others were packing their bags readying to go. More were trying to get their notices of motion agreed. Chaos reigned.
Colette Connolly (Ind) had a motion she wanted passed, and was willing to have it voted on, without debate. No can do, said the Mayor. As a sop, he agreed to put it as the first item of the agenda of the next meeting.
The Shinners – Mark Lohan and Maireád Farrell – also had a motion, and were willing to take it without debate. This one related to the housing crisis. It wasn’t accepted, the Mayor said, but it too would be first on the agenda next time.
Interestingly, during the ruckus, Mayor McNelis managed to get a proposer and seconder to agree item eight on the agenda: approving attendances at conferences and training courses in November, for which, incidentally, councillors are reimbursed with expenses.
Leaving aside the fact that a vote approving attendance at conferences took precedence over a notice of motion about building affordable homes – which sends out all the wrong signals – the validity of that vote is now in doubt because it took place after 7.30pm, when the meeting officially ended.

CITY TRIBUNE

Swimmer rescued in Salthill by Galway Lifeboat crew

Enda Cunningham

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Galway RNLI Lifeboat rescued a swimmer who got into difficulty near Blackrock this afternoon in poor weather conditions.

The alarm was raised at 12.25pm by a pedestrian who saw the woman struggling in the water between Blackrock and Ladies Beach. The Irish Coast Guard sought the assistance of the RNLI Lifeboat who launched from Galway Docks a short time later.

The woman who was a couple of hundred metres from the shore opposite the Galway Bay Hotel.  They took the woman on board and brought her back to the Lifeboat Station where an ambulance was waiting. Paramedics assessed the woman’s condition and she was allowed home a short time later.

Shane Folan, Deputy Launch Authority with Galway Lifeboat said: “We would advise anyone thinking of going swimming to let someone else know. Today, for example, there were very challenging weather conditions with high winds and breaking surf.”

The lifeboat volunteer crew on the call-out were: David Badger (Helmsman), Martin Oliver, Ross Forde and James Rhattigan.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Gardaí warn GMIT students about weekend travel as Covid numbers rise

Enda Cunningham

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Students at GMIT have been warned by Gardaí that there will be checks at the bus and train stations to ensure compliance with the 5km travel rule – as the HSE warned today of increasing numbers testing positive for Covid-19 in the Galway City student outbreaks.

The college emailed all students to inform them that management had a meeting with Gardaí in relation to students planning on travelling home at weekends.

While students are permitted to travel to and from GMIT for educational purposes when there are onsite classes, there are no onsite classes scheduled at the moment and therefore there should not be any travel for educational purposes.

“The Gardaí have notified us that there will be checks at the bus and train stations to implement the 5km travel rule, as well as checkpoints on the roads, and that fines will be given for any non-compliance with this rule,” the email reads.

Meanwhile students at the college were also told that following the Covid outbreak last week among GMIT students, numbers are still increasing.

“The HSE informs us that numbers testing Covid positive continue to rise,” the email reads.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Help local charities by sharing your pandemic feelings

Dara Bradley

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Donncha Foley at the Galway Volunteer Centre.

The public has been invited to write down and share with others their experience of living in Galway through the global Coronavirus pandemic.

‘Three Questions’, an initiative spearheaded by Galway Volunteer Centre, wants people of all ages and backgrounds to log their thoughts and feelings on the past year living with the reality of Covid-19.

The project aims are twofold: to develop a written archive of the memories of Galway people from the past 12 months but also the act of writing down those memories can act as a sort of therapeutic exercise for the public.

People are being asked to divulge their memories by answering three questions: what was your biggest challenge in the past year; what was the biggest lesson you have learned in the past year; and can you think of someone or something you are grateful for over the past 12 months and why?

The collection of people’s written memories will form an archive that will benefit all, but the individual act of writing down memories is also beneficial to the person who takes part, explained Donncha Foley, Manager of Galway Volunteer Centre.

“There’s a lot of science behind this in that there’s a lot of evidence to show that reflecting on the past and learning from it is of great benefit from a mental health perspective and personal development and also the idea of showing gratitude to somebody else has huge mental health benefits as well,” he said.

Mr Foley said what is unique about Covid-19 is that everybody has been impacted by it, and everyone has a memory of it.

“Some changes have been very dramatic for some people, for others maybe not so much but everybody has been affected in some way. There are very few opportunities to meet up and talk about the challenges of the last year, and from a mental health perspective we feel it would be useful for people to use this initiative to think about what’s happened over the last 12 months,” he said.

The project is part of the Keep Well campaign launched by Government and funded through Healthy Ireland and Pobal.

People who respond to the initiative are asked to nominate a local charity or community group and there are two prizes of €500 up for grabs for those organisations if your memories are chosen as the winner.

Submissions will be reviewed by Galway Volunteer Centre and a selection will be published – with permission of the participants – on social media and in the Galway City Tribune.

“We’re hoping that we gather enough so that people can look at other people’s experiences and get their perspectives on the year and see that many people have had the same challenges.

“The phrase that has been used often is that ‘we’re all in this together’ and this is an opportunity to reflect together while still maintaining social distancing,” Mr Foley said.

Applications are available in this week’s Galway City Tribune, and can be returned to Volunteer Galway, 27 William Street West, Galway.  To submit your answers online, visit the centre’s website.

The deadline for submissions is March 9, and there is no word count limit – contributions can be long or short. Entrants must include contact details.

(Photo: Donncha Foley of Galway Volunteer Centre)

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