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Bradley Bytes

Pearce ‘Yes We Can’ Flannery learns how to kick some ass

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Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Some of you think we’ve been too hard on Fine Gael City Councillor, Pearce Flannery. But, we suspect, Pearce wouldn’t agree.

Pearce, a self-styled “coach, advisor, motivator”, on his website tells us: “Mediocrity is never acceptable”.

We couldn’t agree more. And it’s for that reason that we hold Pearce – and other politicians – to account.

So, when we give Pearce a little kick up the backside, we do it so as to remind him of his own philosophy – mediocrity is not acceptable.

In that same blog post, from 2012, Pearce is quite revealing about his attitude to promises.

Pearce, who is currently seeking election to Seanad Éireann, said: “Many people have trouble keeping promises to themselves. Even people who are great at keeping their promises to others have trouble with this.

“It’s easy to keep saying one thing and doing another, when your mind thinks that there will be no repercussions. This is the reason why if you need to change your mindset. You must learn to kick your own arse!”

And as Pearce knows, in Ireland, if you’re a politician and don’t master the skill of kicking your own arse, there’s always someone there willing to kick it for you.

Shinners at war

All is not well in Sinn Féin.

Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh was the last man standing in Galway West not to win a seat.

Trevor has less than solid Republican roots – he is ex-Labour – which means that he is disdainfully referred to as a ‘truce-aleer’ by the hardcore Shinners.

This is a snide reference to those who joined the Republican movement after the truce in the War of Independence.

Though he increased his share of the vote by about a third, and narrowly missed out on a seat, his opponents in the party – and they number quite a few – have resurfaced.

The urbanites in SF say Connemara-based Ó Clochartaigh shouldn’t have been on the ticket in the first place.

They argue a city candidate would have been better placed to take advantage of the retirement of city-based Brian Walsh (FG), and the implosion of Labour’s city-based candidate, Derek Nolan.

Maybe they’re right.

But in the aftermath of his election defeat, Trevor laid the blame elsewhere.

He said there was “a concerted effort by the national media to damage Sinn Féin, and I think it shied them (voters) from giving us a vote”. It’s hard to argue with that – The Irish Independent made no secret of its disdain for Sinn Féin.

Trevor added: “There is certainly a sense that ‘Slab’ Murphy, the Special Criminal Court and some economic stuff as well saw us drop 3% to 4% nationally in the last two weeks, and this affected the transfers we were getting . . .”

References to Sinn Féin’s association with Slab Murphy having damaged the party’s standing among the electorate are entirely accurate. But it does not sit well with the ‘whatever you say, say nothing’ militant wing of the party.

If they didn’t like him before, now they’ve more ammunition.

Watch out Trevor: the knives are out.

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

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City councillors see red over Green senator’s tweet  

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Galway Green Party Senator Pauline O’Reilly’s ears must have been burning last week.

City councillors didn’t mention her by name, but it was clear who they referred to. And they didn’t spare her.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) attacked her as a “one-term senator”; a slur he withdrew after Mayor Clodagh Higgins (FG) rebuked him.

There was “no need for that”, she snapped. But Classy Clodagh was not happy with Pauline either.

Declan fumed that a certain Green Party senator had gone on national radio and social media, misrepresenting what councillors had agreed at the previous meeting.

“It’s a disgrace,” he squealed. The unnamed senator (Pauline O’Reilly) hadn’t been at the previous meeting and had interpreted their vote arse-ways, was the gist of his rant.

Classy Clodagh agreed. “We all know what we agreed but the public needs to know; Twitter doesn’t know, Twitter needs to know,” she thundered.

There was more righteous indignation from Cllr Alan Cheevers (FF). The Chief Executive, Brendan McGrat,h needed to unleash the might of City Hall’s Press Office and issue a statement. Set the record straight.

He moaned about “misinformation” and “false information” spouted on the Wild West of social media, Twitter.

Pauline, as is her wont, clearly got under the skin of councillors when she criticised them last month.

On April 18, she tweeted: “The end of the Renmore Ballyloughane cycle lane happened last night. It beggar’s belief that another cycle lane in Galway has been voted down by all but two councillors. It is claimed that it would ‘block off access’. What this really means is that it would reduce car parking.”

This referred to a motion at the April meeting, tabled by Cllr Terry O’Flaherty, seconded by Cllr MJ Crowe.

The motion that was passed, read: “We propose that Galway City Council reject the proposals set out in the Ballyloughane Road/Renmore Avenue Active Travel Scheme in its present format.”

It passed by 14-2, with one abstention. Both Green councillors, Martina O’Connor and Niall Murphy, opposed it.

Councillors at the latest meeting complained the vote was misrepresented. They were angered by Pauline’s tweet and the national media coverage it had garnered her on RTÉ Radio One.

Councillors argued that the phrase “in its current format” meant it was not “the end” of the scheme, as she’d claimed on social media. Instead, the Council executive could come back with more palatable proposals.

Brendan McGrath concurred. He “didn’t see the need” to issue a statement to articulate the decision they made. It was “wrong”, he said, if that decision had not been communicated or interpreted correctly. But it was “abundantly clear” to management what councillors had decided.

Meanwhile, Pauline’s ‘offending’ tweet remains up.

(Photo: Pauline O’Reilly at the Mayoral Ball with Green councillors, Niall Murphy and Martina O’Connor).
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the May 19 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

FG in Galway eyes Padraig Conneely comeback and Conroy coup! 

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Fine Gael is getting desperate to find a candidate in Galway City East.

After a number of potential candidates turned-down requests to contest the Local Election in 2024, including pharmacist Barra Nevin, the party returned to the drawing board.

Sources have confirmed that FG is currently weighing up two ‘left-field’ options to run in this electoral ward.

One suggestion is to lure Pádraig Conneely back out of retirement. The corridors of power at City Hall have been quiet since controversial Conneely stepped away from electoral politics prior to the last Locals.

City councillors, many of them former colleagues of Conneely, have been whispering in recent weeks that his return to front-line politics may not be as far-fetched a notion as it was, say, two years ago.

At first it was said jokingly. But talk of the former mayor (or Mayor Emeritus as he refers to himself) making a comeback is growing legs.

A Marmite candidate, he has plenty of enemies, having attacked various policies and people during heated outbursts at Council meetings and in media interviews down through the years.

But he still retains a sufficient number of admirers inside and outside FG who grudgingly support his views, even if they’re a little uneasy at his abrasive method of articulating them.

That the former City Central rep is living on College Road, just inside the City East boundary, where there is a FG vacancy, has fuelled speculation that he could be welcomed back.

That’s a controversial call and one that will be resisted by many.

And it has led some in the party to look elsewhere for fresh blood. One high-profile man with impeccable credentials who is being sounded out is Galway senior footballer and St James’ legend, Paul Conroy.

It’s understood the Fine Gael organisation plans to approach Conroy to persuade him to put his name forward and will dangle the carrot of guaranteeing a shot at the Dáil, if he were to run in the Locals and take a seat.

A brilliant ambassador for the GAA, for his club and community, and for the Irish language, FG – and other parties – could do worse than to have Paul Conroy’s name representing them on the ballot paper.

There is an element of kite-flying by Fine Gael in touting Conneely and Conroy as possible election candidates to help win back the seat lost by John Walsh in 2019.

But if either could be coaxed onto the ballot paper (and it’s a big ‘if’), they would be serious contenders in a six-seater where Fine Gael has a natural support base.

It’s bound to be a topic of debate as the great and the good gather for Mayor of Galway Councillor Clodagh Higgins’ Mayoral Ball in the Ardilaun this weekend.

(Photo: Padraig Conneely)
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the May 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City Council in no rush to discuss move to Crown Square

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

The haste shown by Galway City councillors in approving a €45.5m loan to buy Crown Square was unusual, as has been noted previously in this column.

That they approved a loan three days after they received an official report which detailed options, including a recommendation to move City Hall to Monivea Road, was atypical of an organisation that rarely rushes to do anything.

It has reverted to type, though.

An updated Crown Square report for city councillors, prepared by the Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath – who is one of the main proponents of the move – has been on the Council agenda since January of this year.

Four months and as many ordinary Council meetings later, elected representatives have still not debated its contents.

It’s taking them so long to get to the report, a cynic might suggest that they don’t want to discuss the Crown Square move because a number of councillors have had second thoughts on it, despite initially voting in favour.

Among those gone cold on the idea is Green Party councillor in City West, Niall Murphy, who said on Facebook that he had voted for the original plan “in the belief that there would be reduced parking at the Crown site”.

Cllr Murphy said McGrath “nearly had me in tears of joy”, when the CE “gave his best speech ever” about the local authority leading by example on reducing car-parking spaces at its brand new HQ. His tune has changed, though.

Niall’s reverse ferret came days after the Galway City Tribune revealed, through documents released under Freedom of Information, that the Council had struck a deal to buy 200 car-parking spaces, not 100 as originally planned. It “agreed to purchase 200 exclusive underground car-parking spaces at €3,087,500 exclusive of VAT”.

For Cllr Imelda Byrne (FF), it took less than a week after voting in favour of the loan to change her mind, after she claimed that councillors were “hoodwinked” about what the City Hall site would be used for once it was sold.

Other councillors, while still in favour of the move, are concerned that they were not given the full picture before they voted for it, and now they are vulnerable to criticism for approving something they clearly were not fully informed about.

Will councillors finally get to discuss the report that has been on their agenda since January, when they meet this May, or will it be long-fingered again?

(Photo: Green Party councillor, Niall Murphy).
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the May 5 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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