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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

Hero’s welcome following rescue of two women on Galway Bay

Stephen Corrigan

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Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan, who rescued Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn off Inis Oirr island, on their arrival back at the Galway RNLI Lifeboat Station at Galway Docks. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The miraculous rescue on Galway Bay yesterday of two young women from Knocknacarra brought 15 long hours of searching to a euphoric conclusion, as cousins Sara Feeney (23) and Ellen Glynn (17) were brought safely to shore.

A major search and rescue operation was launched after the pair went missing from Furbo Beach on Wednesday night, when they were swept away by a sudden wind while paddle boarding.

Claddagh fisherman and former Lifeboat shore crew member Patrick Oliver and his 18-year-old son Morgan joined the search early on Thursday morning and were the heroes of the hour after they discovered the two women on their boards, clinging to a lobster pot about two miles south-west of Inis Oírr, where despite their ordeal, they were described as “ok, but shaken”.

In the face of torrential rain and high winds overnight, both women had drifted almost 20 miles out to sea, but amazingly neither required serious medical attention.

Sara’s mother, Helen Feeney, raised the alarm shortly after 9pm on Wednesday evening when she noticed the pair missing as she walked their dog along the shore.

Sara, a daughter of Helen and Bernard Tonge, and Ellen, daughter Deirdre and well-known former captain of Galway United Johnny Glynn, were both said to be in good spirits at the hospital yesterday afternoon.

One relative told the Galway City Tribune that the family was “utterly humbled by the generosity of people” who had took part in the search and said, “unbelievable doesn’t even begin to describe it”.

“Thank you from all the family to everyone who helped, words will never express our gratitude.”
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Photo: Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan, who rescued Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn off Inis Oirr island, on their arrival back at the Galway RNLI Lifeboat Station at Galway Docks. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway farm operators fall fowl of locals

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Neighbours of Mad Yolk Farm have asked Galway City Council to determine whether planning permission is required for a portable chicken coop earmarked for the land in Roscam.

This week, Mad Yolk Farm has indicated that it will be adding chickens to the site, which has already been the subject of planning enforcement by the local authority.

In a Facebook post, the operators said they are planning to rear organic chickens on site, with neighbours fearing as many as 450 birds in the chicken ‘caravan’.

“Our chicken caravan is now built and our beaked ladies will arrive in eight days. We’ll be moving the hens onto fresh grass each day and they’ll be free to forage for insects and take mud baths. They’ll be free to behave like a chicken should,” the business said on social media.

It has prompted a neighbour of the property to write the Council to formally ask for a declaration “whether the work/development described in the form is or is not development or is or is not exempted development under Section 5 of the Planning and Development Act”.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cold water poured on Spanish Arch ‘bushing’ sprinkler plan

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway City Council has poured cold water on a suggestion that it should install water sprinklers to deter ‘bushing’ at city centre hotspots for outdoor drinking, such as Spanish Arch.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) this week said the local authority should examine providing sprinklers, to deter bushing, after Spanish Arch and Middle Arch were packed with hundreds of revellers during the sunshine last weekend, and the areas were littered with alcohol bottles and cans.

Cllr Hoare said large crowds were prohibited from gathering outside due to Covid-19 social distancing guidelines, and if the partying continued “Galway will be the next county to be locked down”.

He said CCTV cameras should be installed at Spanish Arch and Middle Arch and added: “Galway City Council should consider installing sprinklers as a long-term solution.”

However, the City Council said it was not its intention to install sprinklers.

“It’s so hot at the moment, if you put out a sprinkler anywhere in Galway, people would just dance under it. We’re so unused to this muggy heat, that if you did that (installed sprinklers), on top of your 12-pack of Bacardi Breezers, or whatever it is young people drink these days, you’d have the biggest wet t-shirt competition this side of Ibiza – people would just dance under them. No, we have no plans for sprinklers,” remarked a City Council spokesperson.

He said the Council was unaware of a separate suggestion – announced by Mayor of Galway Mike Cubbard on social media – that certain city areas be exempted from the street drinking bylaws, to allow them to be monitored and controlled.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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