Cubbard: Online abuse was ‘vile”

By David O’Connor

MAYOR of Galway Mike Cubbard plans to run for a seat in Dáil Éireann at the next General Election despite recent threats to his family’s safety.

Cllr Cubbard said he was looking forward to the resumption of normality in his council role, but also revealed his ambition to reach the Dáil.

“I hope to win my seat back in the council and get myself well known in Galway West. I want to serve Galway West in Dáil Eireann. If that doesn’t work out, it’s the 2024 local elections again, and someday get back and serve as mayor once more,” he said.

Speaking to Galway Pulse, Cllr Cubbard said he’s asking for the public to back him as they did during his first local campaign and to give him “one chance and if I fail, then throw me out and I’ll only have myself to blame”.

In March, Cllr Cubbard stepped back from public life after receiving numerous death threats and threats towards his family’s safety.

The Mayor took the decision to step back from his role temporarily as he was no longer able to apply himself fully to it.
“I always said that the day I can’t give everything to the job, is the day that I step away,” he said. The abuse was varied and targeted different aspects of his life. One online comment stated that a rock should be tied to Cllr Cubbard’s neck and dropped to the bottom of the River Corrib.

Another individual threatened to burn his wife and children in their sleep, while a third threatened sexual violence against his mother.

Cllr Cubbard maintains that just because he’s a public figure, does not mean that he’s a “free punching bag”.

“When starting out, if I had known that these were the threats I would be in for, I never would have signed up. If we are to have hope for politics in the future, this needs to be stamped out now. Otherwise, people will be discouraged from getting involved,” he said.

Cllr Cubbard also spoke of the influence of his children in how he dealt with the abuse.

“I couldn’t tell my own kids or kids in school to stand up to bullies if I was just going to bury my head in the sand and ignore the threats,” he said.

A Garda investigation is currently ongoing into the abuse.

As his second term as mayor of Galway City comes to an end, the first mayor in over 50 years to hold the position in consecutive years, Cllr Cubbard said that his biggest regret was not getting to visit all the schools.

“I wanted to visit all the schools and try to break down the wall around politics and the idea that it’s elitist. If I can do it, then anyone can. If one person believes they can go into politics and become mayor because of me, then I’ll consider my tenure as a job well done,” he added.

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