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CITY TRIBUNE

Armed shop raider to serve five years in jail

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An armed robber has been sentenced to eight years in prison with the final three years suspended, for robbing a shop at knifepoint.

Brendan McGeown (26), of 29 Glenbaun, Ballybane, Galway, who has spent most of his adult life so far in prison, jumped up on the counter at Merlin Park Stores on July 20 last year and threatened a shop assistant with a knife before making off with a plastic bag full of money.

He pleaded guilty to robbery and to producing a knife during the course of the robbery at Galway Circuit Criminal Court last December and sentence was adjourned to last week’s court.

Garda Ronan Leonard told the sentence hearing McGeown entered the shop wearing dark clothing with his face covered. He made a number of threats to the male shop assistant, while making stabbing gestures towards him with the knife.

He handed a blue plastic bag to the man and told him to fill it with cash from the till.

The man did as he was told and McGeown left the shop with an estimated €900.

As he was leaving, he turned to the shop assistant and said:  “The next time, do it faster.”

Gardaí viewed CCTV from various cameras in the general area and called to McGeown’s girlfriend’s apartment in Boireann Beag, Roscam four hours later where they found the blue plastic bag with the stolen money still inside, thrown in a dustbin.

McGeown was hiding outside on the balcony.  He had changed into different clothes and was clearly under the influence of drugs, Garda Leonard said.

Gardai found a black bin bag beside him on the balcony which contained the clothes he had been wearing during the robbery.

Garda Leonard said McGeown admitted his involvement in the robbery shortly after his arrest that night but he denied any involvement the next morning.

The court heard he had first come to Garda attention aged 13 and had been in and out of prison ever since.

“He has spent most of his life in prison due to his serious addictions to heroin and cocaine,” Garda Leonard said.

He confirmed the accused had 30 previous convictions, including three for robbery, two for serious assaults, two for less serious assaults, numerous thefts, burglary and aggravated burglary.

Defence barrister, Brendan Browne said all of McGeown’s offences were committed while he was taking drugs.

He had been held on remand in prison since last July and was finding prison difficult due to the effects of detoxification, he said.

Judge Rory McCabe sentenced him to eight years in prison for the robbery charge and imposed a concurrent three-year sentence for the production of a weapon.

He suspended the final three years of the robbery sentence.

CITY TRIBUNE

Council rows back on ‘reduced delays’ projections for Kirwan junction

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists have described it as ‘a disaster’ and a former mayor has said the project gave very poor value for money, but Galway City Council have this week asked the public to be patient with the revamped Kirwan junction, close to the Menlo Park Hotel.

Since the four-arm signalled junction opened early last week, motorists have complained of traffic queues stretching back to the Quincentenary Bridge and Corrib Park.

And now the Council has rowed back on its consultants’ claims that the junction would increase capacity by 15% and reduce waiting times by 25%.

Former mayor and local taxi driver, Cllr Frank Fahy, told the Galway City Tribune that given the negative impact of the junction on traffic, the €5 million spent on the project represented ‘very poor value’ as regards taxpayers’ money.

“I will admit that the junction is now safer for pedestrians in that they can hit a button to give them a safe crossing, but since it opened there have some very serious traffic tailbacks,” said Cllr Fahy.

However, City Council Acting Director of Services for Transport, Uinsinn Finn, told the Galway City Tribune that the new junction needed time to ‘bed in’ with a familiarisation process.

“The main objectives of this project were to make far safer for pedestrians and cyclists to negotiate, as well as making it safer for motorists too, without impacting [negatively] on the traffic flow,” said Mr Finn.

He added that since it opened – and over the coming few weeks – data on all aspects of how the junction was functioning would be compiled which could involve changes to light sequencing, lanes and peak traffic flows.

One motorist who contacted this newspaper said that the daily “nightmare” journey from the Barna Road to the Headford Road during the morning peak traffic time had added up to 40 minutes to his journey time.

“The two lanes are regularly gridlocked from the junction, back the N6, over the Quincentenary Bridge and back to Corrib Park.

“In the mornings, it’s now easier to go down Taylor’s Hill and into town, past Eyre Square and up Bohermore to get down to the Headford Road.

Councillors were told by consultants in 2017 and again in 2018 – when they voted to proceed with the changeover to a junction – that average delays would be reduced by 25% and junction capacity would increase by 15%.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Man hospitalised following Eyre Square assault

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Gardaí have appealed to the public for information into an assault in Eyre Square last weekend which led to a young man being hospitalised.

The victim of the assault – a man in his early 20s from the city area – suffered a cut to his knee and may have had a substance sprayed towards his eyes.

Following the incident – that occurred close to the Eyre Square taxi rank shortly after midnight on Saturday night last – the victim was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Galway.

It is understood that the victim was released later that morning and has made a full recovery. This week, Gardaí are poring over CCTV footage in an effort to try and identify the perpetrators of the assault.

The assailants are understood to have fled on foot after the incident towards St Patrick’s Avenue on the east side of Eyre Square.

A Garda spokesperson has appealed for anyone who was in the vicinity of the taxi rank on Eyre Square between 12 midnight and 12.30am on the Sunday morning (Saturday night) of July 25 last, and who may have witnessed the incident to contact them.

(Photo: the assailants fled on foot towards St Patrick’s Avenue off Eyre Square)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Council turns down controversial phone mast plan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Galway City Council has refused an application by Eircom to erect a 12-metre telecoms mast in a housing estate in Knocknacarra.

The local authority turned down the company’s application for planning permission to install the structure in the heart of Drom Óir over concerns that it would create a visual obstruction in a residential area – and would have a detrimental impact on property prices.

Eircom had also sought retention to keep a concrete foundation for the mast in situ after it was forced to abandon works earlier this year, amid protests from residents in Drom Óir and Leitir Burca. This was also rejected.

City planners issued the company with a warning letter in April to cease works after contractors on site drew the ire of nearby residents, who accused Eircom of seeking to install the mast ‘by stealth’.

A total of 26 letters of objection were submitted to the Council from residents of the two estate.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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