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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

Eyrecourt tune makes it to Hollywood in Jig time

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A tune composed to celebrate the twinning of Eyrecourt in south-east Galway with Gouesnach in France is to feature in a new film.

Written by Niall Crehan, ‘The Eyrecourt Jig’ made quite a splash when it was released in 2013 and is still popular in music sessions up and down the country.

Niall had been commissioned to write the tune for the 20th anniversary of the twinning of the two villages, Eyrecourt and Gouesnach.

So, when he had a small part as a fiddler in a TV film called Royal Rendevouz, he started playing the jig.

The producers were so impressed, they added it to the movie soundtrack and it will appear in the credits.

Niall is a member of a celebrated traditional Irish musical dynasty hailing originally from County Clare.

He is the youngest son of whistle and concertina player Vincent Crehan and nephew of renowned fiddler Junior Crehan.

Niall and his brother Kieran ran the Dublin shop Crehan Musical instruments until his early retirement.

Now living in Kildare, Niall is a cousin of publican Mick Crehan, who runs the renowned folk pub in the west end of Galway, The Crane.

Niall and the large army of musicians in the extended family are regular guests.

His brother Dermot got music playing parts on films such as the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and he managed to get Niall onto the likes of Downton Abbey.

This latest TV project is the latest foray into the world of film, explains his son Brian.

The story centres on an American chef who is invited to an Irish manor to cook a feast in order to convince the matriarch not to sell the home.

It premieres on Sunday, February 26 at 9pm on the E! Network starring Isabella Gomez, Ruairi O’Connor and Ronan Raftery.

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Connacht Tribune

‘No show’ TDs criticised at County Galway policing committee meeting

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A county councillor has launched a stinging criticism of Oireachtas members for their repeated failure to attend County Galway Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meetings.

At a meeting of the JPC on Monday, Cllr Michael ‘Moegie’ Maher (photographed) said he believed it was time the three TDs on the committee decided if they wanted to remain, or give their place up to someone who would make use of it.

“I am asking the Council to write out to our Oireachtas members and ask them do they want to be on this JPC or not, and if not, let someone else be on it,” blasted the Fine Gael councillor.

This followed repeated non-appearances from TDs representing the Oireachtas on the committee – the three representatives are Deputy Noel Grealish (Ind), Deputy Anne Rabbitte (FF) and Deputy Catherine Connolly (Ind).

Cllr Maher said the JPC, which sits around five times per year, was deliberately held on a Mondays to facilitate Oireachtas members who were in the Dáil later in the week. He said there were issues being raised regularly that required raising at a national level and it was incumbent on national representatives to bring those matters back to Dublin.

One such issue was the use of CCTV in the pursuit of illegal dumpers and travelling crime gangs, said Cllr Maher who is Cathaoirleach of the County Council.

“I would like our members of the Oireachtas to be taking the message back on CCTV,” he added, as representatives locally were getting no further as a result of data protection laws.

None of the three Oireachtas members were present for this week’s meeting. Chair of the JPC, Cllr Jim Cuddy, confirmed he had received an apology from Deputy Catherine Connolly.

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Connacht Tribune

New Chief Executive for Galway County Council

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The new Chief Executive of Galway County Council is set to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

Liam Conneally, who is Director of Services for Economic Development at Clare County Council, is understood to be the preferred candidate following an interview process and has been offered the post.

His appointment will have to be ratified by councillors at an upcoming meeting of Galway County Council.

He will replace Jim Cullen, who was Acting CE for a number of years.

The last permanent CE of the local authority was also a Clare native, Martina Moloney who retired in 2014.

Since then, Kevin Kelly initially and then Jim Cullen have been acting in the roles.

According to his LinkedIn page, Liam Conneally was a senior planner at Limerick City and County Councils for almost three years before taking up the Director of Services role in Clare in 2016.

He was educated at University of Limerick and Queen’s University Belfast.

A native of Ennistymon, he is steeped in the GAA.

“He’s done a very good job in Clare; he’s very dynamic and forward-looking, he will be a good choice for Galway County Council,” said a source familiar with Mr Conneally, and the interview process.

Government completed a review in 2021 about whether it was going to appoint someone permanently into the CE role, which was filled on a temporary/acting basis for almost nine years.

It’s understood that officials in Dublin had delayed filling the role as they wanted to push for an amalgamation of both Councils.

The amalgamation, however, was rejected by local politicians, and has since been put on the back burner.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, is due to retire this year. It’s understood his deputy CE, Patricia Philbin will take the role in an acting capacity until an interview process is completed.

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