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Call for ban on sulky racing

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In the aftermath of the Ballinasloe Fair, a call has been made for laws to be put in place to prevent Travellers engaging in sulky racing on public roads and housing estates.

It is claimed that they pose an unacceptable danger to both pedestrians and motorists and the practice should be banned.

And it was claimed at a meeting of the Ballinasloe Municipal District that there was no law to prevent sulky races along the public road.

A letter has now been sent to the Department of Transport asking that legislation be implemented to prevent this activity.

The matter was raised by District Chairman, Cllr. Michael Connolly who said that it was a huge problem, not alone in Ballinasloe but also in other parts of the county.

He said that it was happing in housing estates in Ballinasloe as well as on the public roads and described the activity as “a living danger to the public”.

“The Road Safety Authority spend much of their time warning motorists about their behaviour on the roads but there is nothing to combat this activity which highly dangerous.

“The Gardai have informed me that their hands are tied on the matter. They cannot prevent people from engaging in sulky racing on the public road which is absolutely madness”, Cllr. Connolly added.

During the Ballinasloe Fair there were a number of sulky races on the public roads and even through residential estates, which led to safety concerns among locals.

But Cllr. Dermot Connolly responded by saying that there were laws in place with regard to people who mistreat animals and suggested this as a possible way of stopping the races.

He also said that the owners of these horses should be asked to produce proper documentation for these animals. “We should use the laws that are there”, he suggested.

“This is a public safety issue”, replied Cllr. Michael Connolly. “Motorists and residents are put in danger because of these races and there is nothing that the Gardai can do about it”.

According to Cllr. Timmy Broderick there could be an industry created out of sulky racing and believed that it could be acceptable if it was run professionally.

“It might work if it was put in a controlled environment,” Cllr. Broderick said that suggested Galway Airport as a possible venue.

Connacht Tribune

Pedestrian seriously injured in Furbo hit and run

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A man in his 40s is in a serious condition in hospital following a hit and run in Furbo last night.

He was a pedestrian who was walking on the R336 road near Furbo Church, when he was hit by a car around 8.30pm.

The driver of the car failed to remain at the scene.

The road is currently closed with diversions in place while Garda Forensic Collision Investigators conduct an examination of the scene.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to the collision to come forward, particularly any road users who may have dash-cam footage recorded in the area between 8pm and 9pm.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Drug use in Galway at ‘frightening levels’ says top Garda

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Use of illegal drugs has reached ‘fairly frightening’ levels across the city and county, according to Galway’s top Garda.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that only about 10% of the drugs in circulation in society are detected by Gardaí.

He said that there had been increases in detection of drugs for sale or supply and for simple possession in the city and county so far this year.

Cocaine in particular was an issue in Galway, he said, but increased drug use was evident in “every village and town in the country”.

In his report to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Curley said that there had been a 22% increase in detection of drugs for sale or supply in Galway, up 14 to 78 at the end of September.

There had been 108 incidents of drugs for simple possession, up by 15%.

The amount of cocaine seized in the first nine months of the year amounted to €538,838. The level of cannabis seized amounted to €361,872.

Ecstasy (€640) and heroin (€2,410) were also seized, according to the Garda report.

Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said it was a concern that cocaine had overtaken cannabis for the first time, in terms of the street value of the amounts seized.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) said that the Garda Drugs Unit needed to be commended for the seizures.

Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) said it was concerning that use of cocaine had escalated.

In response to Chair of the JPC, Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab), Chief Supt Curley said there were some instances where parents or siblings were being pursued by criminals over drug debts accrued by family members.

He added he would continue to allocate resources to the drugs problem.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Up to 20-week waiting period for youth mental health service in Galway

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Young people in Galway have highest waiting times in the state for an appointment with the Jigsaw youth mental health service.

That’s according to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell who revealed that waiting times for an appointment here are currently up to 20 weeks.

“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Galway,” she said.

“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Galway and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Galway currently experiencing the longest wait times at 20 weeks.

“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.

“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk,” she added.

Deputy Farrell said that young peoples’ mental health had been adversely affected during the pandemic – with loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends impacting.

“Jigsaw have experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears,” she said.

“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker.  Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.

“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed – so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.

“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” she concluded.

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