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Connacht Tribune

Artist convinces judge she did not intend to drink drive

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A Canadian artist convinced a judge that she was sleeping the night in her car with a beau she met at the Clifden Arts Festival, rather than about to drive home when caught with the engine running.

A native of Quebec, Delphine Schofield Veronneau was doing a home exchange at Oyster Cove, Kilkerrin, Carna, while living as an artist in residence.

On patrol after 3am on September 24 was Sergeant Edward Cronin, who told Clifden District Court that when he drove into the public carpark in Clifden he spotted the lights shining on the first car he saw.

There was a woman in the driver’s seat with her two hands placed on the steering wheel, with the keys in the ignition, engine running and the fan turned on. There was a man in the passenger seat and both were sitting upright.

He asked the 33-year-old if she had consumed alcohol and she replied that she had three pints. He brought her to Clifden Garda Station on suspicion of being drunk in charge. She later gave a reading of 46mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath – more than double the legal limit.

Sergeant Cronin said he had done a sweep of the carpark just a little earlier and there was nobody occupying any of the six cars.

Schofield Veronneau began her evidence with a direct plea to Judge Mary Fahy. “I would never drink and drive. I just wouldn’t do it.”

She went on to recall that she was in town to attend the Clifden Arts Festival and intended to stay with a friend who worked in Mullarkey’s Pub after enjoying a few drinks.

She was going to walk to that friend’s place but she then met a man. She decided to sleep instead in her car where her new friend joined her.

There they passed an hour or so.

“I was sick at one stage…we kissed…at some stage I decided to turn on the car for the heat. I had no idea it was illegal. The second I turned on the car the police arrived. There was no intention except heating the car…in no second that night did I intend to drive the car,” she told the court.

She was asked by the prosecutor why she cleared the screen with the fan or had put on the lights if she did not intend to drive.

Schofield Veronneau replied that it was automatic in the car she was driving for the fan and lights to be switched on once the key was turned.

Judge Fahy asked if she really intended to sleep in a car all night.

She replied that she did. After being processed in the Garda station she had returned to her car to sleep for the rest of the night.

“Where did this male friend go?” asked Judge Fahy. “I don’t know,” replied the defendant.

“He was no gentleman,” the District Judge retorted.

Judge Fahy said she was going to dismiss the charge of being drunk in charge.

“I’m sort of suspicious but at the same time I have a doubt. She has raised doubts in my mind that she’s not somebody who foolishly drinks and drives.”`

Connacht Tribune

Hospitality group raises €90k

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Lorraine Gallagher (left) and Charlene Hurley of Galway Hospice presented with a cheque for €27,537 by Brian Lynch and Eveanna Ryan of Connacht Hospitality.

The Connacht Hospitality Group this week announced that they raised more than €90,000 for a range of good Irish causes throughout 2022.

The group, which owns well-known Galway establishments including The Connacht Hotel, An Púcán, HYDE Hotel, Residence Hotel and 1520 Bar, as well as the Galway Bay Golf Resort, held a range of events at various stages of 2022 to fundraise for Claddagh Watch Patrol, the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI), Galway Hospice and Make-A-Wish Ireland.

The announcement of over €90,000 worth of funds raised by the Connacht Hospitality Group for national and local charities comes off the back of the past 12 months which saw the group aim to make Corporate Social Responsibility a core part of their identity. This focus allowed them to become more aware of the causes that need assistance while also raising the profile of many of the charities.

The group arranged a diverse array of events to raise funds, and had lots of imaginative ways of grabbing the public’s attention. One event saw people attend HYDE Bar to savour a menu made by a mystery celebrity. In the end, it was revealed that TV personality Gráinne Seoige was the Executive Chef on a night that generated over €8,000 for the NBCRI.

Another event saw staff take part in a ‘Sunrise Swim’ in Salthill – and the public donated in their droves. All money raised went towards Claddagh Watch Patrol, an organisation that works to make Galway’s waterways safer by preventing accidental death and suicide.

One of the most successful fundraisers was the Galway Bay Golf Resort’s Golf Classic, which raised over €22,000 for Galway Hospice.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Residents in fear of gangs travelling to rural Galway to burgle homes

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Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins.

Residents in rural County Galway are living in fear of being burgled after one small area suffered at least 10 raids in the month of January.

Councillor Mary Hoade told a meeting of the County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) this week that those figures were for around Headford alone, as she called for additional resources to target travelling crime gangs visiting the county.

“Some of these burglaries are taking place in the morning when people go to work; some are in the evening; and others at night. It’s very frightening.  We recognise that these criminals are coming into the county, but we need more support to fight crime,” said Cllr Hoade.

“Rural garda stations have less resources . . . we’re relying on the resources in the nearest town,” she continued.

The Fianna Fáil councillor said gardaí couldn’t be everywhere at once, but communities needed to act as their eyes and ears and report suspicious activity when they see it. Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins (pictured) told the JPC that Galway was being targeted from time to time by travelling gangs.

“Three different gangs visited the county on one day recently,” said Det Supt Cummins.

Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn (FF) said she believed increased CCTV and automatic number plate recognition cameras – to capture known gangs on tour – should be rolled out.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

IDA Ireland’s €10m land purchase backs Oranmore for industry base

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Former Mayor of County Galway, Liam Carroll.

IDA Ireland has trebled its footprint on the outskirts of Oranmore by purchasing more than 100 acres of land to support industry.

It’s understood the semi-state body purchased some 42.9 hectares on the outskirts of Oranmore, for a price in excess of €10 million.

The strategic purchase of land adjacent to some 21 hectares zoned ‘business and technology’ and already owned by the IDA, was a “major vote of confidence” in Oranmore and Galway, according Cathaoirleach of the Athenry/Oranmore Municipal District, County Councillor Liam Carroll (FG).

It brings the total amount of land owned by the IDA in the area to over 150 acres.

This latest parcel, purchased at the end of 2022, is located off the N67 Claregalway Road, to the north and east of the Galway to Dublin Rail line.

“It would be ideally suited and attractive to a major multinational company or companies for the establishment of a high tech, pharmaceutical or medical device type facility,” Cllr Carroll said.

The entire site of 150-plus acres is close to the M6 motorway, and an hour away from international links, Shannon Airport and Ireland West Airport in Knock.  It is also close to a number of potential Park & Ride sites, identified by the National Transport Authority as being suitable for commuters.

It’s understood the land is zoned agricultural and would require a material alteration to the County Development Plan to be voted on by county councillors, in order for it to be rezoned before 2028.

(Photo: Cllr Liam Carroll, who believes the land could be developed for a tech or pharmaceutical hub).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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