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Armed raider faces prison for city knifepoint robbery

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A man who robbed a Subway outlet at knifepoint after taking a cocktail of whiskey and sleeping tablets, has been remanded in custody to January for sentence.

Joseph Crawford (29), of 47 Corrach Buí, Rahoon, who now lives in Garryowen, Limerick, pleaded guilty to the robbery of €240 from staff at Subway on Siobhan McKenna Road on February 19 last, when he appeared before Galway Circuit Criminal Court last week for sentence.

Crawford first appeared before the court in early November and asked to be remanded in custody at the time while waiting to be sentenced.

Garda Pat Fahy told the sentence hearing that Crawford went into the shop at 6.15p.m. and ordered a sandwich.  The girl behind the counter made the sandwich and when she went to the cash register, Crawford grabbed her by the arm, pulled out a bread knife and demanded cash from the till.

The girl screamed and a male member of staff arrived at the counter and emptied the contents of the till into a Subway bag and gave it to Crawford.

He told them not to call the Gardai or he would come back and get them again.

Garda later viewed CCTV footage and immediately recognised Crawford.

He was arrested and admitted his involvement.  His home in Rahoon was searched but the money was never recovered.

Victim impact statements from both staff members were read to the court, which outlined the effect the ordeal continues to have on them.

Garda Fahy said Crawford had 70 previous convictions, including two for robberies and nine for burglaries.

Defence barrister, Conal McCarthy said his client was deeply sorry to the staff for his actions.  He said Crawford told him he didn’t remember anything as he had drank whiskey and taken sleeping in Eyre Square earlier that afternoon.

“It’s a pity he didn’t go to sleep then,” Judge Rory McCabe observed.

The judge said conflicting medical reports had been handed into him.

Two reports, from Crawford’s GP, stated the accused had a mental illness and that a custodial sentence would have a detrimental effect on his health while another report from a psychiatrist at Clover Hill Prison stated he did not have a mental illness any longer.

“I am being asked to accept the medical opinion of someone who is not qualified to give it,” Judge McCabe said of the letters from the GP.

“I cannot send him to jail for these serious offences because the medical picture is incomplete.

“Anybody who goes into a shop with a knife is bound to go to jail for a long time, especially if they have a track record, but I need an up- to-date psychiatric report before I can proceed to sentence,” the judge said.

Judge McCabe remanded Crawford in custody and directed he be medically and psychiatrically assessed prior to sentence on January 13 next.

Connacht Tribune

Pedestrian seriously injured in Furbo hit and run

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A man in his 40s is in a serious condition in hospital following a hit and run in Furbo last night.

He was a pedestrian who was walking on the R336 road near Furbo Church, when he was hit by a car around 8.30pm.

The driver of the car failed to remain at the scene.

The road is currently closed with diversions in place while Garda Forensic Collision Investigators conduct an examination of the scene.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to the collision to come forward, particularly any road users who may have dash-cam footage recorded in the area between 8pm and 9pm.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Drug use in Galway at ‘frightening levels’ says top Garda

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Use of illegal drugs has reached ‘fairly frightening’ levels across the city and county, according to Galway’s top Garda.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that only about 10% of the drugs in circulation in society are detected by Gardaí.

He said that there had been increases in detection of drugs for sale or supply and for simple possession in the city and county so far this year.

Cocaine in particular was an issue in Galway, he said, but increased drug use was evident in “every village and town in the country”.

In his report to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Curley said that there had been a 22% increase in detection of drugs for sale or supply in Galway, up 14 to 78 at the end of September.

There had been 108 incidents of drugs for simple possession, up by 15%.

The amount of cocaine seized in the first nine months of the year amounted to €538,838. The level of cannabis seized amounted to €361,872.

Ecstasy (€640) and heroin (€2,410) were also seized, according to the Garda report.

Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said it was a concern that cocaine had overtaken cannabis for the first time, in terms of the street value of the amounts seized.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) said that the Garda Drugs Unit needed to be commended for the seizures.

Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) said it was concerning that use of cocaine had escalated.

In response to Chair of the JPC, Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab), Chief Supt Curley said there were some instances where parents or siblings were being pursued by criminals over drug debts accrued by family members.

He added he would continue to allocate resources to the drugs problem.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Up to 20-week waiting period for youth mental health service in Galway

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Young people in Galway have highest waiting times in the state for an appointment with the Jigsaw youth mental health service.

That’s according to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell who revealed that waiting times for an appointment here are currently up to 20 weeks.

“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Galway,” she said.

“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Galway and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Galway currently experiencing the longest wait times at 20 weeks.

“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.

“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk,” she added.

Deputy Farrell said that young peoples’ mental health had been adversely affected during the pandemic – with loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends impacting.

“Jigsaw have experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears,” she said.

“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker.  Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.

“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed – so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.

“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” she concluded.

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