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Career criminal caught red-handed with sawn-off gun

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A 25-year-old Tuam man has been sentenced to five years in prison after being caught red-handed with a sawn-off shotgun in suspicious circumstances.

Edward Conroy, a father of three from 122 Parkmore Estate, Tuam, appeared in custody before Galway Circuit Criminal Court last Friday where he pleaded guilty to the possession of a single-barrel, sawn-off shotgun in suspicious circumstances on September 1 last year and to driving while disqualified, driving without insurance and driving while drunk at the time.

Garda Mark Shine gave evidence he received a call that Conroy was sitting in a car, armed with a slash hook, outside a house at Gilmartin Road at 12.10am that night and he went to investigate.

Conroy had driven off by the time Garda Shine arrived at the house two minutes later and he drove around looking for him.

He noticed Conroy’s car at short distance away.  It took off at speed, mounting the footpath as it did so. Garda Shine said he activated the siren and blue lights on the patrol car and gave chase.

Conroy drove into Tierboy estate and crashed into a wall. He then ran from the car carrying a gun in his right hand.  He hopped over a wall into a field and headed in the direction of Gilmartin Road.

Garda Shine found the gun just inside the wall. Conroy was subsequently arrested and questioned.

He made full admissions, admitting he had the gun in his possession at the time and that he had discarded it behind the wall while running away from Garda Shine.

During Garda interview, Conroy claimed he had found the gun while tending horses near the railway line.

He denied having the shotgun to threaten others and he claimed he hung onto it because he had found it.

Garda Shine said the accused denied being involved in any ongoing feud in Tuam and Gardaí believed he was telling the truth about that.

The court heard Conroy had 74 previous convictions for assaults, burglaries, thefts, driving while disqualified, dangerous driving, criminal damage and failing to appear in court.

Garda Shine confirmed Conroy was currently serving a sentence for burglary and had been out on bail when these offences were committed.

In reply to Judge Rory McCabe, Garda Shine said Conroy had not told him who owned the gun and he claimed to have found it lying near the railway.

Reading from a very unfavourable probation report which had been handed into court, Judge McCabe asked: “Where’s he getting the money for his expensive cocaine, heroin and cannabis habit?”

Defence barrister, Michael Miley said his client was unemployed and in receipt of social welfare. He had married when he was 17 and had three children.

Judge McCabe said Conroy had told two very different stories about the gun’s provenance. He had told the probation service one story about how he came to be in possession of the gun and that the owner of the gun had asked him to return it.

Then, in his letter which had just been handed into court, Judge McCabe said Conroy had claimed he was in a distraught state of mind at the time and the gun had made him feel safe and helped to alleviate his mental state.

The judge said he had heard or read nothing to convince him that Conroy had any intention of rehabilitating himself while in prison.

“His pattern of lawlessness will continue, as outlined by the probation service, and I’m not prepared to make any allowances for rehabilitation,” Judge McCabe said before sentencing Conroy to five years in prison.

He imposed three, concurrent four-month sentences for the motoring offences, which he made consecutive to the five-year sentence and he disqualified Conroy for five years.

CITY TRIBUNE

Council rows back on ‘reduced delays’ projections for Kirwan junction

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists have described it as ‘a disaster’ and a former mayor has said the project gave very poor value for money, but Galway City Council have this week asked the public to be patient with the revamped Kirwan junction, close to the Menlo Park Hotel.

Since the four-arm signalled junction opened early last week, motorists have complained of traffic queues stretching back to the Quincentenary Bridge and Corrib Park.

And now the Council has rowed back on its consultants’ claims that the junction would increase capacity by 15% and reduce waiting times by 25%.

Former mayor and local taxi driver, Cllr Frank Fahy, told the Galway City Tribune that given the negative impact of the junction on traffic, the €5 million spent on the project represented ‘very poor value’ as regards taxpayers’ money.

“I will admit that the junction is now safer for pedestrians in that they can hit a button to give them a safe crossing, but since it opened there have some very serious traffic tailbacks,” said Cllr Fahy.

However, City Council Acting Director of Services for Transport, Uinsinn Finn, told the Galway City Tribune that the new junction needed time to ‘bed in’ with a familiarisation process.

“The main objectives of this project were to make far safer for pedestrians and cyclists to negotiate, as well as making it safer for motorists too, without impacting [negatively] on the traffic flow,” said Mr Finn.

He added that since it opened – and over the coming few weeks – data on all aspects of how the junction was functioning would be compiled which could involve changes to light sequencing, lanes and peak traffic flows.

One motorist who contacted this newspaper said that the daily “nightmare” journey from the Barna Road to the Headford Road during the morning peak traffic time had added up to 40 minutes to his journey time.

“The two lanes are regularly gridlocked from the junction, back the N6, over the Quincentenary Bridge and back to Corrib Park.

“In the mornings, it’s now easier to go down Taylor’s Hill and into town, past Eyre Square and up Bohermore to get down to the Headford Road.

Councillors were told by consultants in 2017 and again in 2018 – when they voted to proceed with the changeover to a junction – that average delays would be reduced by 25% and junction capacity would increase by 15%.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Man hospitalised following Eyre Square assault

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Gardaí have appealed to the public for information into an assault in Eyre Square last weekend which led to a young man being hospitalised.

The victim of the assault – a man in his early 20s from the city area – suffered a cut to his knee and may have had a substance sprayed towards his eyes.

Following the incident – that occurred close to the Eyre Square taxi rank shortly after midnight on Saturday night last – the victim was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Galway.

It is understood that the victim was released later that morning and has made a full recovery. This week, Gardaí are poring over CCTV footage in an effort to try and identify the perpetrators of the assault.

The assailants are understood to have fled on foot after the incident towards St Patrick’s Avenue on the east side of Eyre Square.

A Garda spokesperson has appealed for anyone who was in the vicinity of the taxi rank on Eyre Square between 12 midnight and 12.30am on the Sunday morning (Saturday night) of July 25 last, and who may have witnessed the incident to contact them.

(Photo: the assailants fled on foot towards St Patrick’s Avenue off Eyre Square)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Council turns down controversial phone mast plan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Galway City Council has refused an application by Eircom to erect a 12-metre telecoms mast in a housing estate in Knocknacarra.

The local authority turned down the company’s application for planning permission to install the structure in the heart of Drom Óir over concerns that it would create a visual obstruction in a residential area – and would have a detrimental impact on property prices.

Eircom had also sought retention to keep a concrete foundation for the mast in situ after it was forced to abandon works earlier this year, amid protests from residents in Drom Óir and Leitir Burca. This was also rejected.

City planners issued the company with a warning letter in April to cease works after contractors on site drew the ire of nearby residents, who accused Eircom of seeking to install the mast ‘by stealth’.

A total of 26 letters of objection were submitted to the Council from residents of the two estate.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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