Date Published: 12-Jun-2012
By Sonya McLean
Two Galway brothers have been jailed for nine years for membership of a criminal organisation, marking the first sentence under new anti-gang legislation.
Michael O’Loughlin (32) of Rahylin Glebe, Ballybane and Eddie O’Loughlin (28) of Rockfield Park, Rahoon both pleaded guilty to participating in the activities of a criminal organisation in the Galway area between February 10 and June 1, 2010.
Judge Martin Nolan praised the work of the Garda investigation, known as Operation Foolscap, which was headed by Detective Inspector Gerard Roche. It resulted in the arrest of the brothers and 10 of their associates.
“They are to be congratulated for their work which would have been time consuming and boring and which would have taken up a lot of man hours,” the judge said.
The O’Loughlin brothers were originally charged with organising a criminal organisation but entered a guilty plea to the lesser charge of membership after two weeks at trial. They faced a maximum of 15 years in prison under the 2009 Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act.
Det Insp Roche later agreed with senior counsel Martin Giblin, defending Eddie McLoughlin, that his client was a “mid-range criminal” but added that he was not at the upper end because the Garda operation put an end to his criminal activity.
“If he had continued he would have been one of the most dangerous individuals in the Western Region which is why the operation was put in place to stop him,” Det Insp Roche said.
Det Insp Roche told prosecuting senior counsel Dominic McGinn that Gardaí set up an operation to target organised criminal activity in Galway City in September 2009. He said there was about 13 to 15 people involved in this particular gang with the O’Loughlins.
After obtaining warrants under new legislation, audio devices were placed inside a Toyota Avensis used by Eddie O’Loughlin and a Ford Mondeo used by Michael O’Loughlin.
A surveillance team was also set up so Gardaí would know who was in each car at all times and be able to identify the voices in the conservations that were later recorded.
Det Insp Roche told Judge Nolan that Gardaí successfully recorded over 110 days of conversations relating to the planed criminal activities of the group.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.
Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.
She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.
Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.
Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.
When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.
Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.
And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.
All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.
“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”
That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.
For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here
Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013
Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup
Date Published: 29-Jan-2013
Athenry FC 1
Kilbarrack United 2
(After extra time)
For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.
On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.
An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.
However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.
They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.
With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.
Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.
Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.
Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.