Garda street cameras captured “crystal-clear” images of two youths knocking two others unconscious during a violent and unprovoked attack in Eyre Square late one night.
The footage led to the positive identification of both accused who each received three-year sentences with the final year suspended.
Michael Mongan (20), of 5 Cois na Coille, Ballybane, and Michael Barrett (20) from 46 Beal Srutha, Ballybane, both pleaded guilty to affray at Eyre Square on March 2 last year when they first appeared before Galway Circuit Criminal Court in February.
The matter was adjourned for sentence and for the preparation of reports on both accused.
Garda Paul McNulty told the sentence hearing that images of a violent incident involving a large number of youths was captured “crystal-clear” on Garda street cameras outside Supermac’s, Eyre Square at 2.24a.m. on the date in question.
Barrett can be seen on the CCTV talking to another young man. Barrett is aggressive and he is seen striking the other young man in the jaw.
Michael Mongan then rushes in and punches the young man into the side of the head, blind-sided. The young man falls unconscious to the ground where Barrett kicks him in the head.
Another young man is captured on the CCTV coming in to diffuse the situation. He is seen talking to Barrett and holding out his hand in an attempt to shake hands but he too is struck and falls to the ground unconscious where he is again attacked.
Both victims lay on the ground unconscious for a number of minutes while both accused are seen fleeing the scene.
“This was a totally unprovoked assault and makes for gruesome viewing,” Garda McNulty said.
Barrett was arrested on June 5 last and replied “no comment” to every question put to him during interview, even when the graphic CCTV footage was shown to him.
Mongan came to the Garda Station three weeks later and said he wanted to give a voluntary statement but then changed his mind and left.
Garda McNulty said both accused were now in custody serving sentences for other offences.
Barrett, the court heard, is a trained boxer with 29 previous convictions, two of which are for serious assaults for which he received sentences totalling 18 months last year.
Mongan has five previous, including three for robberies and is currently serving 14 months for those. He also received a three-year sentence last July for robbery, with the final two years suspended
Defence barrister, Aisling Wall said Barrett’s sentence for the other assaults was due to expire in November.
He had a record of offending from the time he was 15 years of age and admitted he had a violent nature when he had drink taken, she said.
Mr Tony Buckley for Galway City Partnership spoke very highly in Mongan’s favour. He said Mongan had done a lot of voluntary work in his neighbourhood and he saw some good in him
Ms Wall said Mongan’s current sentences would be served by September
She said he suffered from ADHD and had not been taking his medication for the condition at the time of these offences but was back taking it again now
Both accused, she said, had drank a lot of alcohol prior to the affray
Judge Rory McCabe said this was a vicious, nasty and unprovoked assault on two innocent young men
Nobody, he said, could blame alcohol for such an attack
“Nobody put a funnel in their mouths and poured alcohol into them,” he observed.
Both accused, the judge said, were no strangers to the court and had committed significant crimes of violence already in their young lives
Reading from a prison governor’s report handed into court which stated both accused had disciplinary notes on their files, the judge said the appropriate sentence in each case was three years in prison with the final twelve months suspended for three years, on condition both accused be of good behaviour during the period of the suspension
The sentences, he added, would run concurrently to the sentences both accused are currently serving
Gardaí bid to identify body recovered near Mutton Island
Gardai have launched an investigation following the discovery of a body in Galway Bay yesterday afternoon.
A member of the public raised the alarm after spotting the body in the water while walking on the causeway to Mutton Island.
Galway Fire Service, Gardai and the RNLI attended the scene and recovered the body at around 4pm, before it was taken to University Hospital Galway for a post mortem.
It is understood that the body may have been in the water for some time.
Gardaí are currently examining a list of missing people in the city.
Gardaí investigate fatal Carraroe crash
A man in his 30s has died following a road crash in Carraroe in the early hours of this morning.
At 3.50am, Gardaí and emergency services attended at a single car collision on a minor road.
The driver of the car, a man in his 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later. A passenger in the car, a male in his 30s, was taken by ambulance to Galway University Hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.
The road is currently closed and local diversions are in place. Garda forensic collision investigators will examine the crash site this morning.
Land Development Agency rules out Merlin ‘land grab’
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Campaigners have warned the Land Development Agency (LDA) to keep its hands off Merlin Woods.
Local community group Friends of Merlin Woods said that the amenity on the east side of the city is not suitable for residential development.
It has sought clarification on whether the LDA has earmarked part of the recreational and amenity lands for housing, after it appeared on its online database of publicly-owned lands.
In a statement to the Galway City Tribune, the LDA said its database compiles a list of all State lands, not just land for development.
In relation to Merlin Woods, the LDA said: “Those lands aren’t included in the LDA developments in Galway. The lands database is a map-based tool which compiles all State lands and has no reflection on development potential.”
It came after Caroline Stanley of Friends of Merlin Woods raised concern that land within Merlin Woods had been earmarked for development.
“I’d be concerned that it’s marked as residential when it’s in RA (Recreational and Amenity) land. Some is marked ‘open space’ but some is marked as ‘new proposed residential’ on its [LDA’s] database. It makes us wonder why. We’d like clarity and to clear it up.
“The message we’d like to get out there is we need clarification, whether it’s a mistake on the Land Development Agency’s part, or whether it is an area that they consider as a residential area, which the community would be opposed to. We need clarity. It could be something that is in line for development later on, we don’t know, and we need clarity.”
Councillor Owen Hanley explained that the fears around Merlin Woods stem from legislation currently making its way through the Oireachtas that would strip councillors of powers to veto the transfer of land to the LDA for housing projects.
The Bill would also allow Government to direct what public lands – including those owned by local authorities – can be transferred to the LDA for development of social and affordable housing.
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.