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Assault victim left lifeless on the road

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A 23-years-old woman who punched and kicked another young woman until she was unconscious and then stole her mobile phone from her lifeless hand, walked free from Galway Circuit Criminal Court.

Judge Rory McCabe asked Sadie Keary, of 17 Fana Glas, Ballybane, what was so amusing when he looked down and caught her smiling to herself as a Gardai recounted the vicious assault she perpetrated on a 22-year- old woman outside McSwiggan’s in Woodquay in the early hours of August 1, last year.

Keary pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court in May to the robbery of a €300 mobile phone from the young woman at Woodquay that night.

The facts in a second charge of assaulting the girl, causing her harm, were admitted at the time.

Sentence was adjourned to last week for the preparation of reports.

Garda Pat Foley told the sentence hearing the victim, whom he described as a shy and softly-spoken college student, was sharing a joke with her boyfriend and two other friends while standing in a doorway at McSwiggan’s at 3.05am that night when Keary and a group of other girls came along.

Keary, who had earlier consumed Ecstasy tablets with alcohol, thought the girl was laughing at her and she became extremely aggressive.  She reached in past the girl’s boyfriend and despite his best efforts, she pulled his girlfriend out onto the street by her hair.

She punched the girl in the face, knocking her to the ground and then punched her again on the ground before kicking her twice in the head.

Judge McCabe interrupted the Garda’s evidence when he spotted Keary laughing.

“Are you amused by this?  Do you think that it’s worth laughing about?”, he asked her.

She looked at him evenly, shook her head and said “no”.

Garda Foley resumed his evidence.

“On losing consciousness, the injured party dropped her phone from her hand and the defendant picked it up and fled on foot with the group of females,” he said.

Garda Foley said he was on foot patrol in the area at the time and found the injured girl lying in the doorway of the pub, her friend cradling her in her arms.

“She was dazed, confused and she was bleeding from her face and nose.

Her clothes were blood-soaked.

“I asked her what had happened but she didn’t have a great understanding of what had happened to her at the time.  She told me she had been assaulted and knocked unconscious by a female,” he said.

Garda Foley said the girl was taken to hospital by ambulance but her injuries went undiagnosed due to the severe swelling to her face and nose.

She subsequently attended her own GP and was diagnosed with a broken nose and displaced septum.  She was referred back to hospital where she underwent surgery to have her nose broken again and reset.

The girl suffered damage to muscles in her jaw and could not open her mouth properly after the attack.  She is still undergoing physiotherapy treatment for that injury.

Garda Foley said he obtained CCTV footage from MacSwiggan’s three days later which captured the assault and clearly identified Keary.

He arrested her by appointment at Galway Garda Station in September and on seeing the CCTV footage, she readily admitted her involvement.

Garda Foley said the injured girl was “a very decent girl from a very decent family.”

He said the girl was too afraid to come to court.

“She is extremely traumatised and she does not want to see the defendant again and feels that if the defendant sees her again there will be repercussions,” Garda Foley said.

He then read her victim impact statement to the court on her behalf.

In it, the girl said she was viciously attacked by a woman who had violently clawed at her and pulled her out onto the road by her hair.

“I have lived in Galway all my life and I have never experienced such a brutal event.

“I no longer feel safe in my own town.  I have no comfort on a night out with friends as I am always looking over my shoulder,” the girl’s statement read.

Keary, Garda Foley said, was well known to Gardai already and had 25 previous convictions, the last being in December 2012, for a serious assault for which she had received a six-month sentence.

“She has a long history of alcohol and drug abuse,” he added.

Defence barrister, John Kiely said his client had taken drugs and alcohol on the night of the attack.

Mr Kiely said there was no excuse for what his client did, but it was not premeditated and occurred because of some mistaken perceived insult.

Mr Kiely said Keary had been under the direction of the probation service previously and while she had been accepted for treatment at two residential treatment centres in the past – at Coolmine and at Bushy Park – she had failed to co-operate in any way with treatment or with the probation service.

Since then, he said, there had been new development’s in that Keary’s father has come back into her life and he was present in court.

The second important development, Mr Kiely said, was that there had been disclosure of “a significant life event” that occurred during her childhood, which was an incident of distress to her and that had not been dealt with in any way by her or by any of the support services.

Of even more importance, Mr Kiely said, was that Keary was now prepared to address her addiction issues and other issues in her life and if the court was willing to put a stay on sentencing, his client would do just that.

Judge McCabe said he was inclined to remand Keary in custody and she could be assessed while in custody.

Mr Kiely said that was an option but he asked the Judge not to do that so that she could be psychiatrically assessed.

Judge McCabe said that could be done more expeditiously while she was in custody.

Mr Kiely again asked him not to do that.  He said a curfew could be imposed on her which would serve to protect the community until such time as she received treatment.

He said his client had not come to Garda attention since this incident.

Garda Foley disagreed and said Keary had been arrested on five separate occasions since and has 11 other charges currently pending before the courts for alleged assault, robbery and fraud offences.

Mr Kiely apologised and said he had not been made aware of this.

Judge McCabe persisted, saying he didn’t see why the necessary assessments could not be done while Keary was in custody.

However, following further submissions from Mr Kiely he relented and adjourned the matter to next Friday’s court.

“If you do not have a timetable in place by then Mr Kiely, I will lay out a timetable for her and it will be in custody,” the judge warned.

Connacht Tribune

Paedophile for sentencing after arrest in Ceannt Station

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A man will be sentenced in December for arranging to meet a child at Ceannt Station for the purpose of sexual assault.

In the meantime, Michael Sheridan, from Cormeelick South, Milltown, must not attempt to use the internet or any other means of communication to contact any child, as set down in conditions attached to his bail.

The 63-year-old pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court last Friday week to attempting to communicate with a child by means of information and communication technology within the State, for the purposes of facilitating the sexual exploitation of the child on dates between March 20 and May 26, 2018, contrary to Common Law and Section 8 of the Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences) Act 2017.

He also pleaded guilty to attempting to meet the child on May 27, 2018, at Ceannt Railway Station in Eyre Square, having communicated by any means with the child, and did so on at least a previous occasion, and did so for the purpose of doing something that would constitute the sexual exploitation of the child, namely sexual assault of the child, contrary to Common Law.  The sex of the child referred to in the charges was not revealed in court.

In reply to Judge Rory McCabe, prosecuting barrister, Geri Silke said there was no need to order a victim impact statement prior to sentence taking place as there was no victim ‘in the real sense’ in the case.

By consent with Bernard Madden SC, defending, sentence was adjourned to December 15 next, when the prosecution will outline the facts in the case against Sheridan.

His free legal aid certificate was extended to cover the cost of a medical report for mitigation purposes.

Judge McCabe also directed the preparation of a probation report at Mr Madden’s request and remanded Sheridan on continuing bail with the existing conditions attached to appear back before the court in December for sentence.

Bail was initially granted in the District Court on condition Sheridan surrender his passport and not apply for a new one or any other travel documents; sign on twice a week at Tuam Garda Station; provide a mobile phone number to Gardai and answer his phone to Gardaí at all times; undertake to the court not to make any contact with any child by any means, to include social media; and not to access the internet at any stage pending completion of the case.

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Connacht Tribune

Final outing for Your County, Your Colours – to honour an old colleague

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It was a simple idea well executed – to deliver 32 GAA county jerseys to frontline workers in a hospital or care home in thanks for their dedication during Covid – but before the dust settled on Your County, Your Colours, there was one final and very special delivery to be made.

It is now nine years since a completely unprovoked attack left Tuam man Shane Grogan with life-changing injuries that mean he still requires round-the-clock medical care today.

Before that vicious assault, Shane was a popular member of staff with Merit Medical – who just happened to be the sponsors of the Your County, Your Colours project, dreamt up by Galway Bay FM commentator and former Galway footballer, Tommy Devane.

The team at Merit had one final request – to deliver a special, framed Galway jersey to Shane and the staff at Greenpark Nursing Home, where Shane has lived for some time.

Karen Smyth, Communications Leader with Merit Medical, said that the staff at Merit Medical had never forgotten Shane.

“We see Your County, Your Colours as a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work of the frontline workers in Greenpark,” she said.

“This is just a small token of appreciation of their efforts; they do an amazing job – not just during the pandemic but every day,” she added.

Shane’s dad Joe relayed his thanks to Merit Medical for this presentation – with a special word to the Accounts Department, where Shane worked prior to his accident.

“They have always kept Shane foremost in their thoughts and hopefully, the visits will start again soon!” he said.

The original idea, as envisaged by Tommy Devane, was to honour the tireless efforts of frontline workers across the country during the pandemic.

So he has asked all 32 counties to supply one county jersey accompanied by a short message of thanks. The jersey along with their message was then framed and sent to the hospital or care setting of the county’s choice.

Greenpark Nursing Home Director of Nursing Brian McNamara thanked Merit Medical and Tommy Devane for what he called this wonderful gift.

“We are honoured to have been thought of in this manner and it is our privilege to look after Merit’s colleague Shane Grogan,” he said.

“In our caring for Shane, there will always be a special bond between Merit Medical and Greenpark Nursing Home,” he added.

(Photo: Shane Grogan (centre) with his parents Joe and Joan behind him, accepting his signed Galway jersey, joined by (from left) the McNamara family – Jane, Cora, Director of Nursing Brian and Ian – of Greenpark Nursing Home; Shane’s physical therapist Johnathan Gibson, Merit Medical’s Karen Smyth and Mark Butler, and Tommy Devane, organiser of Your County, Your Colours).

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Connacht Tribune

Teacher has sights set on passing ultimate Ironman test

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It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted and it pretty much eats up all of your spare time – but for Claregalway schoolteacher, Rachel Farrell, the Ironman 70.3 world championship test in September is something she just cannot wait for.

Rachel (28) has always been bitten by the sports and fitness bug, being a competitive swimmer and badminton player from her school days, but now she is concentrating on what’s called the Ironman 70.3.

The 70.3 part of the title refers to the total distance in miles that competitors will cover between the swim, cycle and running legs of the event.

It works out at half the distance of the full Ironman Triathlon but that still adds up to one huge challenge for those brave enough to take it on.

The first part of the endurance test is a 1.9-kilometre (1.2 miles) swim followed by a 90km cycle (56 miles) and then a half-marathon run (21.1km or 13.1 miles).

“I did my first Ironman 70.3 in France in 2019 and the Utah event on September 17 next is actually the 2020 world championships which couldn’t be held last year because of the Covid situation.

“The course in Utah is by all accounts a pretty gruelling one and the conditions there will be tough too, but I’ve prepared well for it and am looking forward to the challenge,” said Rachel.

She will be competing in the 25 to 29 age category and in the France event two years ago, Rachel notched a top 49 finish – the target this time around is for a top-20 finishing slot.

The daughter of Josette and Hugh Farrell, Rachel is currently a secondary schoolteacher in Dubai who is hoping to travel to Utah about a week before the event to help her acclimatise to the heat and desert like conditions of the US state.

Even the journey to get there will be a mission itself with Dubai the starting off point followed by stop-offs at Elay and Las Vegas.

Rachel is pretty much committed to an all-year round preparation programme based on a four-week rota system – three weeks of intense training followed by one week of scaled down activity.

“When I was in Oman back in 2018 and the event was held there it just caught my interest. I put in on my bucket list and really enjoyed the one in France in 2019.

“I’m not sure whether I’ll keep doing them or not – I might just concentrate on swimming or cycling events into the future – but for the moment, Utah is the goal and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Rachel.

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