It was with great sadness that The BRISTOLIAN heard last week about the passing of Martin Connolly, former owner of Bristol’s CONNOLLY & CALLAGHAN property speculators – or “a family-run property business, creating homes that make a difference to people’s lives” as their online spin-waffle goes.
We are told he died of a heart attack, no doubt brought about by the sheer volume of cash being emptied into his bank account by Bristol City Council’s “strategic directors” for all the neoliberal landleeching that C&C is doing for it. Surely The Reverend Mayor could have been more considerate to the health of BCC’s favourite outsourced “emergency housing provider”, and avoided the shock that such a vast increase in his profit margins would cause him?
The BRISTOLIAN would like to remind readers of some of the qualities and contributions Mr Connolly brought to us in his long and illustrious career. Where does one start? Is it in the rip-off prices and spurious service charges he charged and his “family run-business” CONTINUES to charge BCC to house the homeless?
Is it the mothers evicted from C&C properties at Carpenters Place, Knowle West, in 2016? Is it the financial collapse of the “charity” he funded called Bristol Housing Foundation (BFH) in 2013? Or is it the ongoing sale of community space at Hamilton House on Stokes Croft by C&C to build luxury apartments?
“But we don’t stop there”, as the marketspeak on the C&C website attests, so perhaps the crowning achievement of Mr Connolly’s “strong social ethos” and will to “provide shelter for the vulnerable” had to be that North Street homeless hostel in 2016 where the basement was running with raw sewage, the bedrooms overrun with vermin, where exposed electric cables dangled, and holes in the outside wall were so big you could stick your arm through. Now that’s what you call really making a difference to people’s lives.
DISCLAIMER: In case of confusion we must establish that, despite his name, Martin Connolly bears NO relation whatsoever to James Connolly, the revolutionary socialist, trades unionist, syndicalist and Irish freedom fighter murdered by the British army in Dublin, 1916.