Cllr Alan Curran takes seat on Galway City Council
by Seán Lyons
Cllr Alan Curran has officially been co-opted by the Social Democrats to Galway City Council.
Cllr Curran was nominated to fill the vacant seat left by Owen Hanley. Hanley resigned in January following allegations made against him on social media.
A secondary school teacher at Coláiste Éinde in Salthill, Cllr Curran has been a member of the Social Democrats since 2018. He is well-known as the founder of the Galway Cycle Bus initiative and is an underage coach at St. Michael’s GAA.
Speaking on his appointment, he said “I am honoured to represent the Social Democrats on Galway City Council at such an exciting time in the party’s history. Like many members, I share the sense of optimism that has greeted the arrival of Holly Cairns as our new leader.”
While he said that he has to be “realistic about what I can achieve” before the next local election in 2024, he said that his focus is on “practical solutions to make the east side of Galway more liveable and family-friendly — with better transport solutions and improvements to our parks and playgrounds.”
Push for more cycling infrastructure
A prominent local cycling activist, Cllr Curran said that making Galway a more cycling-friendly city is one of his primary goals.
“There’s really no reason why we can’t make this a cycling city. What stops us is the infrastructure. It’s still not safe to cycle for most people of most ages and abilities. We’re trying to change that and I do think change is coming. I want to be part of that conversation,” he said.
Engaging young people
Cllr Curran also said that he is adamant about listening to the voices of young people and encouraging them to take a greater interest in politics.
“I’ve been listening to teenagers talking about issues in their own communities for a long time now. As much as possible, I want to talk to youth groups, youth clubs, sporting organisations and just see how I can support young people,” he said.
“It might not be possible in 14 months but if I’m lucky enough to be re-elected, I want to get young people involved in decisions that affect their own community.”
Along with his Social Democrats counterparts, Cllr Curran has been very critical of the government’s decision to end the eviction ban at the end of March. He believes the decision will have adverse effects on renters in Galway.
“You look at what the market rate is at the moment for anyone trying to rent a house in this city. The market rate for a three-bed semi-detached house to rent is €2000 a month. It’s not just unaffordable; it’s unethical to be charging that sort of money for a family who live there,” he said.
“An end to the eviction ban is not the right way of doing it. I don’t think anyone can stand over the morality behind it.”
Future of the party
Cllr Curran’s arrival on Galway City Council comes just over a week after the appointment of Holly Cairns TD as leader of the Social Democrats. He said that he is “excited” to see where she will bring the party in the future.
“I think that she is a really talent parliamentarian. I think she’s done incredible things and inspired a lot of young people – especially women. I’m personally really excited to see what she’s going to do as a leader,” he said.
Speaking on his appointment, Cairns said “I would like to congratulate Alan on his co-option to Galway City Council. He has joined a 21-strong team of dedicated, hard-working councillors in our party and I’m confident he will be a valuable addition to the council.”
“Alan is ambitious for the future of Galway and I know he will work tirelessly as a councillor to make his vision for this wonderful city a reality.”
Niall Ó Tuathail, chairperson of the Galway branch of the Social Democrats, added “We’re very grateful to Alan for putting himself forward. He has great experience in turning practical ideas into positive change for people’s lives and we’re excited to see what he can do as a councillor.”