Niall Ó Brolcháin’s political career has been dramatically resurrected following his appointment to Seanad Éireann, but it has come in for stinging criticism from Fianna Fáil councillor Ollie Crowe, who said it was “a betrayal of the electorate”.
Mr Ó Brolcháin was today chosen by The Green Party to take a seat in the Seanad, following vacancies which arose in the upper house of the Oireachtas following the deaths of senators Tony Kett and Peter Callanan.
The appointment had been widely tipped for months. However it is still a major turn-around in political fortunes for Mr Ó Brolcháin as his political career appeared dead after he lost his Galway City Council seat in June’s local elections.
He now joins his fellow Green senators Dan Boyle and Déirdre de Búrca to take the party’s numbers up to three seats in the house. He is also the third Galwegian to sit in the current Seanad alongside Fine Gael’s Fidelma Healy Eames and Independent Rónán Mullen.
The appointment is a major personal and career boost for Mr Ó Brolcháin, who is widely seen as The Green Party’s ‘Man in Connacht’ and one of its few high profile members in the province. The appointment will raise his profile and could see him consider running again in future local elections.
However his elevation to the Seanad has not met with universal acclaim and it has come in for criticism from Cllr Crowe.
“Two and a half years ago Mr Ó Brolcháin stood for election to Dáil Éireann and was not even within shouting distance of winning the seat,” he told the Galway Advertiser. “In June he stood for re-election to the Galway City Council and was not successful, now he has been appointed a senator.”
Sen Ó Brolcháin is a well known critic of the Galway City Outer Bypass and believes it is not the solution to Galway’s traffic problems. This puts him at odds with his fellow Government TDs like Frank Fahey as well as members of the Galway business community who favour the bypass.
“It’s a poor show when the Government appoints a man that was against the bypass, came out strongly against it, and campaigned against it,” he said. “The bypass is the most important piece of infrastructure the city will build, and now in the Oireachtas Galway has a man who is against it. I know it was a Green Party nomination but it makes you question the political system. It goes against all logic.”