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Connacht Tribune

Burglars target schools as new year kicks in

Declan Tierney



Gardai are to call to schools around County Galway to offer advice against keeping cash and other valuables on their properties – following a spate of break-ins over the past week.

School authorities across Galway are being urged by Gardaí not to leave cash on their premises overnight and to store laptops and other electronic equipment in secure areas.

Garda Inspector Declan Rock of Ballinasloe Garda Station told The Connacht Tribune that it was now necessary to call on schools to give advice about the dangers of keeping cash on premises.

This follows the spate of break-ins that occurred across the county during which cash and laptops were specifically targeted. Other schools were ransacked by raiders who were looking for cash.

All of this follows a similar incident a number of months ago when a Galway secondary school was broken into and thousands of euros were taken – this money had been stored in a safe and had been collected by students for a school trip.

But over the past seven days four more schools were broken into, with cash and computer equipment stolen in the process. Considerable damage was caused in all case by the intruders.

Inspt Rock said that schools have become a target for criminals, and teachers along with boards of management had to be more vigilant about keeping cash on the premises.

“Schools are often easy targets for the criminals as they are invariably located in areas where the intruders are not seen. This is why that under no circumstances should cash be kept in schools. It is obvious that safes are not secure places in which to store cash,” he said.

On Thursday night of last week, Merlin Community School in Doughiska was broken into when a window on the premises was smashed and the thieves gained entry.

A safe on the premises containing a quantity of cash was taken from the front office while damage was caused as the intruders looked for more valuables.

Then on Sunday night last, Kilglass National School was broken into and again a quantity of cash was taken. There were also two iPads, a Hewlett Packard laptop and a Lenovo laptop taken in the raid. Mountbellew Gardaí are investigating.

Again on Sunday night, Bullaun National School near New Inn was also broken into and in this incident, the rear window of the school was smashed and an office door was broken. Any witnesses to the burglary please contact Loughrea Gardaí at 091-841222.

Finally, between Friday night last and the early hours of Monday morning, Kiltormer National School was broken into and was extensively ransacked. A considerable amount of damage was caused. Anyone with information are asked to contact Ballinasloe Garda Station.

Gardaí say that these schools have been targeted as the new term commences. “It’s upsetting for staff, students and parents and Gardaí want to remind schools never to keep money on the premises and not to leave electrical or other valuable equipment where they can be easily accessed”.

Earlier in the year, students attending Colaiste Baile Chlair in Claregalway were left devastated when thousands of euros they collected for a trip was stolen by heartless thieves during a break-in.

Those responsible disconnected the alarm and CCTV at the school before gaining entry to the secretary’s office by breaking a window.

Similar to the other crimes, the break-ins took place at the start of the weekends when there would be no one around and allowing them ample time to search the buildings.

Connacht Tribune

Exploring the merits of moving into the west

Dave O'Connell



Mary Kennedy with Carol Ho, one of the Galway interviewees for her new TG4 series, Moving West. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Broadcaster Mary Kennedy has an abiding image of those early mornings when she’d set out from Dublin at the crack of dawn to begin work on another day’s filming down the country with Nationwide.

“I always liked to go in the morning rather than stay there the night before – so I’d be on the road early. And from the moment I’d hit Newland’s Cross, all I’d see was a line of traffic of people trying to make it from home to their workplace in Dublin,” she says.

These were people whose day began before dawn to get their bleary-eyed kids ready to drop at a childminder along the way, so they could be on time for work – and then race home to hopefully see those same kids before they went to sleep.

But if the pandemic had a positive, it was the realisation that work was something you did, not a place you went to. As a result, many people finally grasped the nettle, moving out of the city and sometimes even taking their work with them.

Which is why Mary – busier than ever since her supposed retirement from RTÉ – is presenting a new television series called Moving West, focusing on those individuals and families who have, as the title, suggests, relocated to the West.

One of the programmes comes from Galway, where Mary met with Stewart Forrest, who relocated with his family from South Africa to Oughterard, and Carol Ho, a Hong Kong native who has also settled in Galway.

The TG4 series also stops off in Sligo, Mayo, Kerry, Clare, Roscommon and Leitrim.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing

Dave O'Connell



Well saved...members of St Brendan's GAA Club honour their departed stalwart, John Geraghty, after a record-breaking evening saving his turf.

A local community responded in force to the death of one of their own – a man who had given so much of his life for the good of the parish – by paying one last practical tribute to him last week.

They lifted and footed his turf.

John Geraghty – or Gero as he was known – lived for Gaelic football and he’d filled every role imaginable with the St Brendan’s GAA Club since he came to live in Newbridge in 1983.

He’d cut the turf before he died last Tuesday week, but there it lay, until his old GAA friends organised a bunch of guys – made up of the football team, friends and neighbours – to meet in the bog last Wednesday evening to lift and foot/clamp John’s turf.

“Upwards of 50 fellas from the community showed up,” said St Brendan’s chairman Gerry Kilcommins.

Which was just as well, because, as Gerry acknowledged, John – himself a two-time chairman of the club in the past – had a lot of turf cut!

“It took up an area around three-quarters of the size of a standard football pitch,” he said.

Not that this proved a problem, given the enthusiasm with which they rolled up their sleeves for their old friend.

They started at 7.30pm and had it done at 7.55pm – that’s just 25 minutes from start to finish.

Read the full, heartwarming story – and the St Brendan’s GAA Club appreciation for John Geraghty – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat

Denise McNamara



Daddy’s girl…Sadhbh Browne with her very special message on organ donations. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

It is nearly two years since Paddy Browne gave his daughter Sadhbh part of his liver to save her life. And just ahead of Father’s Day, he reflects on how he would do it all over again in a heartbeat, without a single moment’s hesitation.

After an initial testing time in the first six weeks when they beat a path to the intensive care unit after the operation in St King’s Hospital in London, Sadhbh has never looked back.

“She’s thrived and thrived and thrived. She skips out to school every day. She loves the normal fun and devilment in the yard. She’s now six and started football with Mountbellew Moylough GAA, she loves baking, she’s a voracious reader – she’ll read the whole time out loud while we drive up to Crumlin [Children’s Hospital].”

But it could have all been so different.

Sadhbh from Mountbellew was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia shortly after she was born. She quickly underwent major surgery to drain bile from her liver. It worked well until she reached three years old when an infection caused severe liver damage and she was placed on the liver transplant list.

She was on a long list of medication to manage the consequences of advanced liver disease. While she lived a full life, she would tire very easily.

Paddy was undergoing the rigorous process to be accepted as a living donor when one of the tests ruled him unsuitable. His brother Michael stepped forward and was deemed a good match.

Then, further tests revealed that Paddy was in fact eligible for the operation and the previous result disregarded as a false positive.

Read the full, uplifting story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.

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