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Connacht Tribune

Child porn man breached bail by visiting US

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A 45-year-old Corrandulla man who faces sentence in November for having over 30,000 images of child pornography on his computer, was arrested at his home for breaching a condition of his bail by not disclosing to Gardaí that he owned a US passport – which he used to leave the country in recent weeks.

John Healy, from Gortroe, Corrandulla, pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court on May 16 last to two charges of being found in possession of child pornography, which contained images and videos of children posing nude and engaging in sexual activity, while he was in a public area at Riveroaks, Claregalway, and again at his home at Gortroe, Corrandulla, on October 30, 2014, contrary to Section 6(1) of the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998.

Healy had initially been granted bail in the District Court. One of his bail conditions was that he surrender his passport to Gardaí and not apply for a new one or any other travel documents.

Healy surrendered his Irish passport to Gardaí at the time but did not tell them he had a US passport as well.

He was remanded on continuing bail with the same condition attached when his case was listed before the Circuit Criminal Court on April 30 last.  The matter was adjourned then to July 23 when a trial date was due to be set for later in the year.

Healy then applied to the Circuit Court for the return of his Irish passport so that he could travel to the States on holidays. The application was granted and Gardaí returned his passport to him on condition he surrender it again to them on his return.

Healy surrendered his Irish passport to Gardaí on his return and then he came back to court unexpectedly on May 16 and pleaded guilty to both charges.

He was again remanded on continuing bail to November 6 for sentence.

Meanwhile, Garda Aidan Quinn made enquiries with American Airlines about Healy’s visit to the States.

The airline confirmed to him that Healy had used a valid US passport to enter and leave the States and at no time had he used an Irish passport.

State prosecutor, Conor Fahy, informed the court that he wanted Healy brought in custody before the court to explain why he had breached his bail conditions, stating Healy had made an application to the court last month “under false pretences” for the return of his Irish passport so that he could travel to the US.

Judge McCabe issued the warrant and Garda Quinn travelled to Healy’s home and brought him in custody before the court.

Garda Quinn said Healy had handed over his US passport to him at his home that day.  The Garda said he intended keeping both passports pending completion of the case.

Garda Quinn said Healy told him he had not been aware he had to hand over his US passport as well as his Irish passport as part of his bail conditions.

In reply to Judge McCabe, Mr Fahy said he would not be looking for Healy to be remanded in custody now as the US passport had been handed over.

Defence barrister, Conal McCarthy said the issue with the US passport arose because his client ‘simply did not understand’ the court order regarding his passports.

Judge McCabe observed it was ‘unusual’ that Healy would seek the return of his Irish passport from Gardaí, while knowing he had another passport which entitled him to enter and leave the US.

Accepting that Garda Quinn had possession of both passports now and that the State was not looking for Healy to be remanded in custody, the judge said he would make no order.

Connacht Tribune

Hospitals cope with overcrowding and staff shortages as Covid crisis peaks

Dara Bradley

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Confirmed cases of Covid-19 continue to skyrocket in Galway, as virus-related frontline healthcare staff shortages persist and now overcrowding emerges as a new threat.

Galway experienced four days of record-breaking positive case notifications in the past week, as hospitalisations grew exponentially and pressure was heaped on the critical care units at University Hospital Galway (UHG) and Portiuncula.

Hospital management said it was unsure whether community transmission had peaked locally yet – and they expect hospitals to be under ‘significant pressure’ from Covid admissions well into February.

Nurses have highlighted how overcrowding in the Emergency Department of the county’s two main public hospitals has returned – some 112 patients were stuck on trolleys awaiting admission to UHG and Ballinasloe on five mornings in the past week. Meanwhile, it hasn’t yet been officially confirmed that the new UK variant of Covid is present in Galway, but authorities believe it is.

The latest data shows there has been no let-up in new cases notifications in Galway – 604 confirmed cases were notified for Monday, the highest in Ireland and Galway’s worst ever day by a long shot.

It was a frightening figure but it was not for one day and was part of clearing the backlog of cases over Christmas and New Year, the HSE said.

That pushed Galway’s 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 to 1033.9 more than double what it was a week ago and eight times what it was a fortnight ago. Some 2,668 new Galway cases were notified in the fortnight to midnight Tuesday.

Read the full story and comprehensive coverage of the Covid-19 crisis in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Suffer little children – report shines a light into shameful past

Dave O'Connell

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Baby clothing hanging from a tree branch in the Tuam Mother and Baby Home burial ground this week. PHOTO: Joe O'Shaughnessy

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The final report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes shines a light into the darkest recesses of our shameful past; young women and tiny babies neglected by Church and State – fellow, frail human beings whose lives and deaths somehow didn’t matter at all.

These women and their children were punished, hidden out of sight; mistreated at best; physically and sexually abused at worst – and way, way too many were left to die without a shred of dignity in their lives or in their passing.

The Trojan work and dedication of people like Catherine Corless lifted the stone on the shame – but it is only in their shocking stories, as we’ve read and heard this week, that we can get any sense of the depths of this depravity.

Many of the mothers were little more than children themselves, who had their little babies taken from them and given away with even a sliver of consent.

There were no records of their adoption, and no willingness, even decades later, to help those babies to find their birth mothers. Because to do so would have exposed the cruel and heartless manner of their forced adoptions in the first place.

And yet exposing this scandal is only the first step; an apology was the very least they were entitled to. Now we as a nation, and particularly those religious orders who ran the homes, must do everything to redress this wrong.

We must open the files so that they can discover their full life stories, find their living relatives, and be compensated so that at least the rest of their lives are in complete contrast to all they’ve endured until now.

We need to look at how we can give hundreds of innocent babies a proper burial – however belated and insufficient that may be.

Nothing will undo the damage – but now that the depths of this depravity have finally been laid bare, there must be no equivocation, no prevarication; just a commitment to doing whatever it takes to try and right a terrible wrong.

See full coverage of the Commission’s Report in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Galway couple celebrate a remarkable 75th wedding anniversary

Francis Farragher

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Martin and Kathleen McEvilly, pictured with their son John, who was home from Boston.

THEY are without doubt the King and Queen of Rosscahill – 104-year-old Martin McEvilly and his 96-year-old wife, Kathleen – who last week celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary.

Both Martin and Kathleen still live at home as part of the Killannin community, and although Covid has presented its difficulties, they still managed to have a small anniversary celebration on January 7 last.

The couple tied the knot back on January 7, 1946, just three months after World War II had ended, when Martin was 29 and his bride – also a McEvilly (from nearby Oughterard) – was just 21 years of age.

Seven children later – three boys and four girls – there are now also many grandchildren and great-grandchildren to carry on the McEvilly lineage, and hopefully too, the genetic gift of longevity.

Two of ‘the lads’ – Pat and Mike – still live locally as do daughters Noreen (now a carer for her parents) and Madge, while John (the youngest) is in Boston, with daughters Mary and Christina in Sydney and Australia.

Son Pat, who lives in Knockferry, said that the 75th diamond wedding anniversary, was still a very special occasion for the family and one of great happiness.

“You don’t hear of them too often – 75th wedding anniversaries – and it was a very special occasion for all of us, to have our parents still alive and well,” said Pat.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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