As 2011 draws to a close, The Galway Independent looks back a very unpredictable year in politics…
Fine Gael’s Executive Council adds Senator Ciaran Cannon to the party ticket in Galway East and Cllr Hildegarde Naughton and Cllr Sean Kyne to the Galway West ticket.
A public meeting on the economy organised by Fianna Fáil Deputy Frank Fahey descends into chaos as protestors stage a walkout and ‘Anglo Avenger’ Joe McNamara vows to run as an Independent candidate against Deputy Fahey in the General Election.
Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív takes over responsibility for the Department of Defence after the resignation of Tony Killeen. He is later also assigned the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government following the resignation of John Gormley.
Éamon Ó Cuív officially declares his intention to contest the Fianna Fáil leadership battle. He comes second to Micheál Martin.
Following announcements by Fine Gael TDs Paul Connaughton and Ulick Burke, Fianna Fáil TD Noel Treacy becomes the third sitting Galway East TD to announce his retirement from politics, after doctors deem him ‘medically unfit’ to run in the election.
Loughrea-based accountant Michael F. Dolan and Deputy Michael Kitt are selected to run for Fianna Fáil in Galway East.
Disability campaigner Eamon Walsh officially launches his election campaign.
Fine Gael’s proposal to make Irish an optional subject at Leaving Certificate level provokes controversy.
Yet another meeting of Galway City Council is abandoned due to a feud between Cllr Padraig Conneely and city officials, who accuse the councillor of “ongoing gratuitously offensive behaviour towards staff”.
Seán Kyne is elected the final member of the 31st Dáil, following four recounts in Galway West.
Unsuccessful election candidate Fidelma Healy Eames denies suggestions that Fine Gael party headquarters asked her to concede defeat following her request for a recount.
New Galway East TD Ciaran Cannon is appointed Minister of State at Department of Education and Skills.
Galway City and County Councils welcome five new councillors to replace the three Fine Gael and two Labour councillors elected to the Dáil.
Normal service resumes at City Hall after the long-running dispute between Cllr Conneely and council officials comes to an end.
Just four of the 12 Galway-based candidates seeking election to the Seanad prove successful – Michael Mullins, Trevor O Clochartaigh, Fidelma Healy-Eames and Lorraine Higgins. Ahascragh-born Independent Senator Rónán Mullen is re-elected to the NUI Panel, after winning a staggering 6,459 first preference votes.
Former Senator Niall Ó Brolcháin says he is planning to “take a bit of time to see what transpires” following his failed bid to be re-elected to the upper house.
Former Galway West TD Michael D Higgins officially begins his presidential campaign.
Plans to replace up to eight roundabouts across the city with signalled junctions controlled by a manned Urban Traffic Control Centre receive a mixed response from city councillors.
The Court of Criminal Appeal quashes the fraud conviction of Independent Galway Councillor Michael Fahy for the second time. The court determines that his conviction for obtaining €7,000 by false pretences from Galway County Council in 2002 was unsafe.
Minister of State for Training and Skills Ciaran Cannon denies that he is guilty of cronyism by employing his wife and brother-in-law.
City councillors vote in favour of the first phase of the new traffic management programme for the Bothar na dTreabh (N6) – Multi-Modal Corridor Improvement Scheme.
Former Galway West TD Michael D Higgins is selected as the Labour Party’s candidate for the Presidential election, beating Barnardos CEO Fergus Finlay and former Senator Kathleen O’Meara.
Cllr Hildegarde Naughton becomes new Mayor of Galway City. Cllr Michael ‘Mogie’ Maher takes over as Mayor of County Galway from Cllr Jimmy McClearn.
City councillors vote to permit the controversial re-classification of land off the Seamus Quirke Road, owned by former Fianna Fáil Mayor Michéal Ó hUiginn, as a designated district centre.
Cllr Naughton admits to “error of judgement” in blocking Presidential hopeful Senator David Norris from addressing Galway City Council.
Cllr Naughton calls an urgent meeting with city officials and gardaí to discuss traffic management after motorists experience long delays while road works take place on the Quincentenary Bridge, University Road and the Seamus Quirke/Bishop O’Donnell Road.
Speaking at Fine Gael’s ‘think-in’ at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Taoiseach Enda Kenny stands by his assertion that the Vatican attempted to frustrate a state inquiry into clerical child sex abuse.
Galway City Councillor Padraic Conneely says Galway City Council is now a “toxic brand” akin to Anglo Irish Bank following traffic chaos around the city.
Galway County Council become the first local authority to officially nominate Independent Presidential candidate Mary Davis.
Following an investigation into a complaint that Cllr Michael Crowe failed to declare that he was receiving thousands in rent allowance from contracts awarded by Galway City Council under the Rental Allowance Scheme (RAS), the council announces that, while Cllr Crowe breached Section 171 of the Local Government Act 2001, no prosecution is warranted as he had acted “in good faith”.
The majority of city councillors vote for the removal of the existing Font and Morris Roundabouts.
Claregalway resident Dana Rosemary Scallon officially enters the Presidential race, after securing the backing of local authorities.
After a lengthy campaign, Michael D Higgins receives a total of 1,007,104 votes in the Presidential election. Dana Rosemary Scallon comes in second last of the seven candidates, with 51,220 first preferences. Thousands of people later turn out to welcome home the President-elect at an event at the Meyrick Hotel.
Michael D Higgins is officially inaugurated as President of Ireland at a ceremony at Dublin Castle.
Mayor Hildegarde Naughton launches ‘Galway Transport – Engage for a Liveable City’ in a bid to create short-term solutions to traffic delays.
In his Christmas message, President Higgins says that, while the wider global environment is “worrying”, there are some positive signs on the horizon for Ireland, including growing exports and direct inward investment.