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CITY TRIBUNE

‘Carrot and stick’ sentence for thief caught red-handed

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A solicitor suggested to a judge that his client get the “carrot and stick” treatment so that he would seek rehabilitation for his drug and alcohol addictions on his release from prison rather than go ‘celebrate’ his freedom.

Defence solicitor, Sean Acton, told Judge Mary Fahy at Galway District Court that his client Andrew O’Hagan (27), of 162 Ballinfoyle Park, Headford Road, expected to get custodial sentences for the offences before the court, but he suggested O’Hagan be given a suspended sentence for some of them so that the suspension would act as a “carrot and stick” prompting him to confront his addictions to alcohol and heroin.

The court heard O’Hagan has been battling a chronic alcohol addiction for years and has more recently developed a heroin addiction.

He was caught red-handed by Gardaí on September 18 last year with a mountain bike which had just been stolen from the garage of a house at Palmyra Avenue.

Gardaí found him trying to break into a car at the same premises. He had smashed a window in the car and dented the door, causing €500 worth of damage.

O’Hagan pleaded guilty to handling the bike, knowing it was stolen and to causing criminal damage to the car.

He also pleaded guilty to stealing bottles of vodka on three separate dates last month from various supermarkets around the city and to breaching the peace on one occasion.

He further pleaded guilty to having €50 worth of heroin in his possession when searched at Eyre Square on March 15 last year.

Mr Acton reminded Judge Fahy that when his client was arrested uptown and brought straight away in custody before her court two weeks ago he had been in a very bad state and she had remanded him in custody for his own sake so that he could sober up and get fed in prison.

Judge Fahy agreed O’Hagan had looked dreadful.  She recalled he was emaciated and had two black eyes.  O’Hagan, who was highly intoxicated at the time, told Judge Fahy he could never eat when he was drinking as food made him sick.

She noted he looked much better this week.

Mr Acton said that while O’Hagan had a heroin addiction now, his chronic addiction to alcohol was more of a problem and when drinking he would take any type of medications he could get his hands on.

“Whatever demon is inside him just takes off.  He knows he is facing a custodial sentence and he will use that time to sort himself out,” Mr Acton added.

He said O’Hagan went on a serious binge in February culminating in him being hospitalised from April 27 to May 5.  Then, just three days after his release from hospital he was brought in a bad state before the court on May 8 last.

Mr Acton suggested Judge Fahy structure the sentences so that his client got the professional help he needed.

“Without a carrot and a stick, he will celebrate getting out of prison instead of going for treatment,” Mr Acton warned.

Judge Fahy took this on board in her sentencing.

She imposed a four-month sentence on O’Hagan for damaging the car and imposed a concurrent three-month sentence for handling the bike knowing it was stolen.

She imposed a consecutive one-month sentence for the theft of one of the bottles of vodka from one supermarket, and imposed a consecutive, but suspended four-month prison sentence for the theft of another bottle of vodka from another store.

The sentence was suspended for twelve months on condition O’Hagan be of good behaviour during that period; link in with the probation service prior to his release from prison; and continue to co-operate with all directions of the probation service and complete a rehab programme while under supervision during the next 12 months.

The judge fined O’Hagan €200 for having the heroin in his possession in Eyre Square and imposed a consecutive but suspended three-month sentence for breaching the peace.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
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

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
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

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
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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