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Armed teen burglar (16) gets prison term reprieve




A 16-year-old boy has been given a suspended four-year sentence after being caught red-handed breaking into a house with another burglar while armed with a hunting knife and a hatchet.

The teenager, who was in the care of the HSE at the time of the offences, was brought before Galway Circuit Criminal Court for sentence.

Both he and his co-accused, Dominic Downes (21), 3 Doire Beag, Knocknacarra, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary at a house in Hazel Park, Newcastle, on September 24 last year in that they trespassed at the house with intent to commit theft, and at the time had with them a large hunting knife and a hatchet.

The pair also pleaded guilty to the theft of a Stanley Wonder Bar and a Stanley Axe, total value €60, from Woodie’s DIY, Galway Retail Park on September 23 last year.

Judge Rory McCabe adjourned sentence in Downes’ case to July and directed the preparation of a victim impact statement and a probation report on Downes prior to that date.

Garda Conor Barrett told the juvenile’s sentence hearing that he and other Gardai from Galway and Salthill Stations responded to a 999 call of a burglary in progress at a man’s home in Hazel Park at 1.55am on September 24 last year.

He and Garda Robert Molloy climbed into the garden at the rear of the property where they spotted the juvenile coming out through a rear window while Downes had an implement in his hand.

The pair ran and were chased by Garda Barrett and his colleague over a number of garden walls. The youth dropped a bag containing property stolen from the house.

Both were caught and arrested.  Downes was found in possession of the large hunting knife.

Both Gardaí went back to the house where they met with the man who had made the 999 call.

He was in his underpants and was holding a kitchen knife.  He was in shock and was visibly shaking.

A hatchet, left behind by the burglars, was located under the window in the man’s bedroom.

CCTV from Woodie’s captured the two accused entering the store the day before and stealing a hatchet and a jimmy bar, which were both used in the burglary.

Garda Barrett read the man’s victim impact statement into evidence. The man said he had been woken around 2am by tapping on his bedroom window.  He realised someone was trying to open the window from the outside and he ran to the kitchen to find something with which to defend himself.

He ran upstairs and crouched down on the landing while at the same time dialling the emergency services for help.

He could hear voices in his bedroom downstairs while he was talking to the operator on his phone.  He hid behind the bannisters and luckily, he said, the Gardaí arrived very quickly.

He suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and had to take two weeks off work. He had nightmares for weeks and could not be on his own in the house. He moved house and said he had suffered a huge financial loss.

Garda Barrett said the juvenile had four previous convictions for robbery, theft, assault and breaching the peace and had served a five- month period of detention last year for those.

Judge Rory McCabe said the teenager was entitled to credit for his early plea, his co-operation with Gardai and for the fact he was not the principal motivator in the crime.

He accepted the youth had taken “significant steps” to change his life around while in custody. “If he has to have any chance of leaving his past behind him, it’s obvious he needs to be trained and educated to enter the workforce and live a life without crime, drink and drugs,” Judge McCabe said.

He then said the appropriate sentence was four years, suspended for six years on condition the youth be of good behaviour for that period.  He also placed the youth under the supervision of the probation service for the next 24 months.


Council to consider new pedestrian ‘plaza’ for Galway City

Stephen Corrigan



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors will be asked next month to consider a sweeping overhaul of traffic flow in the city centre as the local authority seeks to create a more pedestrian-friendly core in the wake of Covid-19.

Currently under proposal in City Hall are major alterations to traffic flow which will allow for restricted car access to Middle Street – creating additional outdoor seating space for businesses in the area struggling to cope amid social distancing requirements.

Senior Engineer at City Hall, Uinsinn Finn, said they are currently considering three different proposals to alter traffic flow on Merchants Road, Augustine Street and Flood Street to reduce the need for car access to Middle Street, while still maintaining access for residents.

“We already pedestrianised Cross Street and we will be maintaining that, and there will be a proposal for Middle Street and Augustine Street.

“Businesses in the area are very much in favour of pedestrianisation – one business has objections but the others are supportive. Another consideration is that there are residents there with parking spaces and we are trying to encourage people to live in the city centre,” said Mr Finn.

The Latin Quarter business group submitted proposals for the temporary pedestrianisation of Middle Street and Abbeygate Street Lower but Mr Finn said the proposals the Council were considering were more in the line of creating adequate space for pedestrians while still allowing residents vehicular access.

This would involve creating a circuit for car traffic moving through Merchants Road around onto Augustine Street and exiting at Flood Street.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Residents want laneway closed following pipe bomb scare

Francis Farragher



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Residents in part of Knocknacarra are calling for the closure of a laneway and for more Community Gardaí to be put on the beat following the discovery of a ‘viable’ pipe-bomb type device in the area last weekend.

Up to 13 homes in the Cimín Mór and Manor Court estates had to be evacuated on Friday evening last when the incendiary device was discovered by Gardaí concealed in an unlit laneway, leading to the emergency services being notified.

An Army EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit was called to the scene and removed the device – according to local residents and councillors, the Gardaí have confirmed that the device was viable.

Gardaí have declined to comment on the detail of the case but have confirmed that the matter is being ‘actively and vigorously investigated’.

Chairman of the Cimín Mór Residents’ Association, Pat McCarthy, told the Galway City Tribune that the discovery of the viable device on the narrow laneway that links their estate to Manor Court was extremely frightening for all concerned.

“For the best part of the past 20 years, we have been seeking action to be taken on this laneway which has been used for dumping and unsociable behaviour on a repeated basis.

“But what happened last Friday evening was really the last straw for us. This could have resulted in serious injury to innocent people and what is also of concern to us is how close this was to the two schools in the area,” said Mr McCarthy.

He said that over the coming days, the residents’ association would be petitioning all residents in the three estates concerned – the other two being Manor Court and Garraí Dhónaill – for action to be taken on the laneway.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Galway designer’s necklace is fit for a princess!

Denise McNamara



Kate Middleton wearing the necklace designed by Aisling O'Brien

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A Galway jewellery designer is the latest to experience the ‘Kate effect’ after fans tracked down the woman who created a necklace for the Duchess of Cambridge which she has worn several times since it was gifted to her during her trip to the city last March.

Aisling O’Brien’s website crashed on Wednesday night when orders poured in for the piece from around the world. The necklace costs €109 with initials, while the earrings retail for €49.

“I’d never sold more than two things outside of Ireland before. I only had three of Kate’s necklaces in stock – and now I have orders for at least 50. I’ll have to start recruiting some elves,” laughs Aisling, who only set up her website during lockdown.

The 14-carat gold necklace and earrings set was designed by Aisling specially for Kate after examining her style – “understated, elegant, simplicity” is how the Tuam native describes it.

She was contacted about the commission by physiotherapist Thérèse Tully, who wanted to give the future queen a gift as she was using her room to change at Árus Bóthar na Trá beside Pearse Stadium when the royal couple were meeting with GAA teams.

(Photo: Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton wearing the necklace)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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