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Connacht Tribune

Biker trio took part in punishment-style beating over debt



A former leader of the now defunct Galway branch of the Outlaw Biker Club has been given a suspended sentence and ordered to pay €7,500 to the Irish Red Cross for his role in the punishment-style beating of another club member almost seven years ago.

Trevor Condon (50), 115 Castlelawn Heights, Headford Road, who persuaded three others to join in the assault because the victim owed him money, received a five-year sentence which was suspended for five years on condition he pay €7,500 to the Irish Red Cross, following a two-day trial at Galway Circuit Criminal Court this week.

Condon, along with co-accused, James Clancy (47), 1 Bin Sinn, Knocknacarra, and Brendan Ryan (51), from Ardfinnan, Tipperary, had initially pleaded not guilty last week to assaulting Paul McGuire, causing him harm at Bike Tech, Ballybane Industrial Estate, on February 8, 2011.

Condon and Ryan pleaded not guilty to using metal bars to beat McGuire while Clancy denied using a bike chain along with a sock containing a metal buckle to assault the victim.

Following legal argument in the absence of the jury on the first day of the trial and behind-the-scenes discussions between both the prosecution and defence legal teams on the second day, all three accused entered into a plea-bargain and changed their pleas to guilty to the single charge of assaulting McGuire, causing him harm.

The jury was discharged and each of the accused received a five-year suspended sentence but Condon, who was the ringleader, was ordered to pay €7,500 to the Red Cross as a condition of his suspended sentence.

A statement taken by Gardai in 2013 from a fourth accused, who also took part in the assault, triggered the prosecution being taken by the Director of Public Prosecutions against the three men and that, along with the victim’s lack of co-operation, explained the delay in bringing the matter to trial.

Tattooist, Jeremy Berger (28), from Dublin, who was living in Galway at the time, pleaded guilty before the same court in 2012, to assaulting McGuire, causing him harm and paid him €10,000 compensation.

Mr McGuire, who was 45 at the time, suffered a broken left ankle and leg and a broken right arm in the assault after four masked men who were all wearing biker gear with the Outlaw insignia on it, entered his shop and beat him with iron bars and a sock containing a belt buckle.

Berger pepper-sprayed the victim and when he fell to the ground, all four set about beating him.

Berger was captured on the shop’s CCTV pulling his mask off during the assault and he was identified from a colourful tattoo on the back of his skull.

He told Gardai he was trying to join the Galway Chapter of the Outlaw Bikers Club at the time.  He had been pressured into taking part in the beating and was told it would be part of his initiation into the club.

Investigating Garda, Pat Foley, told the court in 2012 and again last week that the Galway chapter of the Outlaw Biker Club disbanded after this assault came to light. McGuire, he said, moved to Canada shortly afterwards and had refused to co-operate with the Garda investigation in any way.

He said Condon was president of the Galway chapter of the Outlaws at the time and he had orchestrated the attack because McGuire owed him money.

“He (Condon) got the three others to partake in it, saying it was authorised under the auspices of the Outlaw Club, but that was not the case.  They felt they were obligated to take part in the assault,” Garda Foley said.

Both Ryan and Clancy, who have serious medical conditions and are in receipt of disability, told the court they were unable to pay compensation but would pay €1,000 each if given time.

Condon offered to pay €5,000 compensation to McGuire’s creditors or to a charity.

Judge Rory McCabe directed Condon pay €7,500 to the Irish Red Cross adding: “Mr Condon is experienced in the business of debt collection and if he wishes to procure the debt from the other two that is his business.”

Connacht Tribune

Galway County Council brings in new rules on roadside memorials



Families and friends of road accident victims will have to apply in writing to erect a roadside memorial under a specific size following the adoption of a new policy by Galway County Councillors.

The new rules will not affect memorials already erected – but if they have to be replaced, they will have to satisfy the now agreed criteria.

The Council area engineer will have to approve the location of any proposed memorial and the written consent of the landowner must be sought where possible in advance.

If friends wish to erect a memorial, they must get the written agreement of the family of the deceased. The policy now prohibits any lighting as could distract motorists and flowers or vegetation around it is now not allowed as it could block sight lines.

If the memorial is a free-standing cross it must not be higher than 750mm and if it is a free-standing stone, it must now comply with a maximum dimension of 450mm high, 450mm wide by 150mm deep.

There can only be one memorial per accident, regardless of the number of victims under the new framework created in consultation with the Gardaí and Transport Infrastructure Ireland’s (TII) Regional Safety Engineer.

Up to now there has been no policy in place regarding roadside memorials, despite the fact that hundreds dot the countryside. But their erection can cause difficulties, such as interference with verge trimming, distraction to other road users, they can attract visitors to accident blackspots and have the potential to block sight lines.

The policy states that it may not be possible to locate the memorial at the exact location of the incident and any memorials erected without the approval of the Road Authority will be removed. No roadside memorials are permitted on dual carriageways with a speed limit of 100 km/h or motorways.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full story, see the July 1 edition of the Connacht Tribune. You can purchase a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Green hub could create up to 900 new jobs



Údarás na Gaeltachta is going full steam ahead with plans for a green energy hub at Ros an Mhíl Harbour in Conamara.

The regional authority responsible for economic growth in the Galway Gaeltacht confirmed it has appointed an international engineering firm to develop a masterplan for an offshore wind energy hub on Údaras-owned lands in Ros a’ Mhíl.

Atkins is a British firm headquartered in London, England with offices in Ireland, including Parkmore in Galway City.

The hub, according to an Údarás-commissioned feasibility study published several months ago, could support up to 900 jobs in the Conamara Gaeltacht, serving multiple floating and fixed wind farms off the west coast.

“The development of Ros a’ Mhíl as an offshore wind energy hub is likely to have a profound impact, not just on the economy of the Gaeltacht regions of Conamara and the Aran Islands but also on Ireland’s ability to lessen its energy independence,” said Údarás CEO, Micheál Ó hÉanaigh.

Earlier this year, Government signalled its support for a €25million investment in a new harbour at Ros a’ Mhíl.

This new masterplan to be carried out by Atkins will involve planning the port development, carrying out an economic assessment, and detailing the engineering and logistical requirements.

It will also involve creating a ‘Green Port Development plan’ with a view of attaining Net-Zero operations, which means cutting the greenhouse gas emissions of the harbour to as close to zero as possible.

The development lies in the heart of the Conamara Gaeltacht and Údarás said Atkins employed local Irish-speaking engineers as core team members of the project.

Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív (FF) welcomed progress of the project. “Never has it been more vital that we use our vast offshore wind resource to create renewable energy and ensure the security of our own energy supply,” he said.

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Connacht Tribune

Outdated parking meters set to be replaced



All old pay and display parking meters throughout County Galway towns are in line to be replaced.

Galway County Council has confirmed that it was planning to replace the existing outdated machines with new ones.

It comes after the County Council’s audit committee said that the cost of maintaining the existing stock of pay and display machines was ‘extremely high’.

The audit committee also noted that there were ‘resounding issues with the outdated parking meters’ for users and for Council maintenance.

The Council said that the replacement of its parking machines inventory was ‘ongoing’.

Funding had been set aside in its capital account to replace outdated machines.

Councillor Karey McHugh (Ind) argued that technology should be introduced whereby motorists could use an app to pay for a parking space.

Director of Services, Derek Pender, said the new machines could use coins and card payments through a ‘tap and go’ system.

The software was also available for the machines to be compatible with the app Cllr McHugh had suggested, which was in operation in Limerick, Tipperary and other local authority areas.

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