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Bus passenger fined over aggressive behaviour towards driver



A chef, who took exception to a bus driver asking for more money to fully cover a fare, was convicted and fined for being threatening and abusive in public, at Galway District Court.

Judge Mary Fahy did not accept that the driver was being offensive when he corrected the defendant for underpaying a student fare by 20c, and said that it may have been an issue of cultural differences.

“‘Hey’ is not a derogatory term, it’s used to bring something to your attention – you totally over-reacted in my view,” she told him.

Alaa Al Bataineh (40), with an address at 58 Droim Oir, Clybaun Road, had pleaded not guilty to being threatening and abusive on two separate dates in November 2016.

Ciaran Kenny, a driver with City Direct Bus, told the court that he was operating the 412 service, along the Western Distributor Road to Eyre Square, on November 14 when he approached the bus stop opposite Clybaun Stores where there were up to eight people waiting.

“The defendant boarded, showed me a student ID card and put €1.30 in the chute – I informed him that the fair structure had changed (some months earlier), and that it was now €1.50 for a student,” he recalled.

“He started shouting and abusing me, he told me to f**k off, that I was a racist. He was very aggressive, and I felt threatened. I asked him to calm down… he slammed the 20c into the chute.”

Mr Kenny, who worked as a taxi driver in Dublin for 13 years, said that this was unfortunately a common occurrence now in his role as a bus driver in Galway.

In the interests of the passengers who were upset, he decided to let the defendant remain on the bus. When he got back to the bus depot, though, he reported the matter to his boss

He was told not to let the defendant on the bus again, and to report any further incidents to Gardaí immediately.

Four days later, the same driver was operating the 411 service from the Cappagh Road to Eyre Square. A large group of passengers were waiting for him at the bus stop outside the Clybaun Hotel.

“He was one of them; I’d been told by my boss that he was not allowed on, and to call Gardaí. I told him he could not come on, he got very aggressive, he put his head well in towards me and started shouting ‘hit me… racist bastard.’

“The bus was fairly full, it’s a busy route, I stepped off the bus while waiting for Gardaí. I was very upset, these are ongoing incidents, I am off work sick from another incident.

“It’s not what you want in a work day. I worked 13 years as a taxi driver in Dublin … this was a very frightening experience.”

When Garda Micheál Murphy arrived on the scene at 1.20pm he met both parties. A female passenger came forward to make herself known, but did not wish to make a statement.

“The driver said that the male had been roaring at him; he pushed him away as he was worried for his own safety,” he told the court.

The defendant, a Jordanian national, said that he had been training to be a chef in GMIT at the time, and had often caught the bus, but only ever paid €1.30.

“I’d have paid more if I’d known,” he said.

“He (the driver) started shouting and screaming at me. He was very rude.”

He took offence that the driver had said something along the lines of “hey, hey, hey, come back” to him.

Before the prosecution had the opportunity to question the witness, Judge Fahy short-circuited things by telling the defendant that he had over-reacted. She said that cultural differences may have been to blame, and explained that ‘hey’ was a commonly used word in Ireland to catch someone’s attention.

“I don’t think that the driver meant to insult you, and you totally over-reacted – I don’t accept your evidence,” she told him.

She further said that the injured party, who had had years of experience dealing with the public as a taxi driver in Dublin, would not have called the Gardaí for no good reason.

She convicted the defendant, imposing a €250 fine for the first incident, along with €50 in witness expenses. The second matter was marked proven.


Drinks set to flow again in two landmark Galway premises



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Two popular Galway pubs that had been closed are to be given a new lease of life by an extended family.

The refurbishment of the former Central Bar in Woodquay has been almost completed and new owner Michael Gilmore will open the doors this weekend – just in time for the busy Christmas season.

The pub, in recent years known as The Lough Inn, had closed during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Mr Gilmore is a well-known publican in the city, running the Cellar Bar on Eglinton Street and Seven on Bridge Street. He also has a pub in the heart of Westport called An File.

Earlier this year his two nephews, Mark and Vinny Gilmore, bought Kelehan’s in Bushypark. They are overseeing a major overhaul on the large premises after many years behind closed doors.

Due to setbacks with building supplies, a planned opening by Christmas has now been pushed back until the spring.

This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the December 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune.  You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Warning to parents after Galway homes raided in child sexual abuse material investigation



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A senior Garda, who heads up Galway’s Protective Services unit, has advised parents to ‘tune into’ the daily dangers lurking on the internet in relation to child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

Detective Inspector Peter Conlon – who confirmed that four search warrants had been issued to search residences in the city over recent weeks for CSAM – urged all parents and guardians closely monitor their children’s access to the internet.

He told the Galway City Tribune it was critical that parents did not allow their children ‘unfettered access’ to the internet given the prevalence of sexual predators – often from other jurisdictions – who were trawling the net to make contact with children.

“Children may believe that they are making contact with other children but instead it may be adults seeking to establish a relationship with them and to get pictures of them.

This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the December 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

“I would ask all parents to seriously and carefully consider the age at which they should give mobile phones to their children – any such decision needs to be age appropriate and where this happens it needs to be monitored closely by the parents,” said Det Insp Conlon.

He also said that parents and guardians should acquaint themselves, where practical, with the latest technologies which make it possible for them to be linked into their children’s phone or devices to monitor content and contacts at all times.

The searches in the city over the past two weeks resulted in the seizure of laptops and other electronic devices from three residences – they are currently being examined in detail by Garda technical experts at their regional HQ in Renmore. Det Insp Conlon said that while there had been no arrests in the city following the latest searches, the course of their investigations would be determined by the content and material found in the devices seized.

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Just 85 affordable homes to be built in Galway City by 2025



From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  A total of just 85 affordable homes will be built in Galway City during the remainder of the Government’s lifetime, it was revealed during a debate in the Seanad this week.

An animated Senator Ollie Crowe (FF) told Seanad Éireann that there would be “riots on the streets of Galway” at the disappointing news that was imparted to him by a junior minister.

In the Dáil, Junior Housing Minister, Malcolm Noonan, confirmed that it was planned to provide 85 affordable homes as part of a Merlin Woods development between now and 2025.

He understood that there were sites identified for affordable housing schemes in other parts of the city, but no applications had been received for funding.

“Housing delivery in Galway City Council is a matter for Galway City Council and it is down to the local authority to strike the balance in respect of social and affordable housing delivery.

“If the Senator feels that the local authority is not delivering enough in that regard, it is really a matter for them to drive a more ambitious agenda. The Department will not be found wanting in funding schemes,” Minister Noonan added.

But Senator Crowe yesterday told the Galway City Tribune that it was an incredibly disappointing and unacceptable answer that there would only be 85 new builds when it came to affordable homes.

(Image: Minister Malcolm Noonan said the new Merlin Woods development will include 85 affordable homes).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article,  see the December 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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