Instead of sitting on a reviewing stand in Eyre Square, resplendent in red robes, city councillors should watch the St Patrick’s Day Parade while “standing shoulder to shoulder” with the people.
This is the view of Fine Gael councillor Pearce Flannery who has called for the reviewing stand for this year’s parade to be “reserved only for the Mayor along with a selection of specially deserving individuals or groups, and also for people with special needs”.
Cllr Flannery has written to Mayor Donal Lyons and his 17 fellow city councillors outlining his proposal, which also seeks for the Mayor to annually nominate an individual to review the parade as Galway’s guest of honour. “It could become an annual Mayor’s award or honour to an individual that has had a significant impact on Galway life or its cultural and social development,” said the Salthill based councillor. “This could become a sort of informal Galway person of the year award.”
Cllr Flannery is critical of councillors sitting in the reviewing stand, believing that it gives an impression of elitism and of politicians being “out of touch”. “The place for an elected councillor is on the street standing shoulder to shoulder with the people who elected them,” he said, “not in a metaphorical ivory tower looking down on the public. It really is an unedifying site when one sees the elected body wearing their red capes up on a covered viewing platform while others with special needs or disabilities view from unsuitable places often in the rain.”