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City man jailed for assaults on intellectually disabled men

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – A 36-year-old city man, who assaulted two intellectually disabled men and tortured one of them on Inis Mór, has been sentenced to four years in prison with 18 months suspended.

Gary Walsh, with an address at An Sean Bhaile, Doughiska, pleaded guilty to assaulting the men, who are in their early 20’s, at Cill Ronáin, Inis Mór on August 6, 2011.

The vulnerable young men are patients of the Brothers of Charity in Galway city, due to their intellectual disabilities.

Det Sgt Mick Staunton gave evidence at Galway Circuit Criminal Court that Walsh arranged to meet the men on Inis Mór.

They all met up in a wooded area at the rear of a school in Cill Ronáin where the accused began drinking.

Walsh grabbed his first victim and burnt the back of his hand with a lit cigarette.

It caused severe pain and blistering and Walsh just laughed when the victim asked him why he was doing it.

Walsh continued drinking and blamed the other young victim present when he stumbled against a tree and tore his shirt.

He punched this victim repeatedly in the face and kicked him repeatedly when he fell to the ground.

The victim could not get get up for some time due to his injuries but after a time the men walked to the Garda Station.

Gardaí took this victim to the island doctor, but due to the severity of his injuries, he had to be transferred by Lifeboat to the mainland and by ambulance from there to hospital.

Prosecuting barrister, Conor Fahy, said the victims were in court accompanied by their fathers and their social worker and were still very afraid of the accused.

Defence Counsel Geri Silke said her client suffered from poor interpersonal skills and had been addicted to alcohol and prescribed medication.

She said he was now attending an addiction counsellor and receiving treatment at Cuan Mhuire.

Justice Raymond Groarke sentenced Walsh to four years in prison for what he described as “violent, gratuitous and terrifying” assaults.

The judge suspended the final 18 months of the sentence on strict conditions.

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Galway’s COVID-19 infection rate down almost half since last week

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Galway’s COVID-19 infection rate is down by almost half week-on-week.

The latest NPHET figures show the 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 in the city and county now stands at 574.3 – that’s compared to 1016.8 this day last week.

1,482 new cases of the virus have been recorded in Galway over the past two weeks, including 588 in the last seven days.

The figure of 574.3 leaves Galway roughly mid-table among counties, with the national average now standing at 674.

Monaghan has the highest rate in the country at 1399.3, followed by Louth at 1044.3, while Leitrim has maintained the lowest rate at 271.5.

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Fresh calls to trial cycle path along Salthill Prom

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Galway City Council is facing renewed calls to trial a two-way cycle path along Salthill Prom.

The Galway Urban Greenway Alliance says it could be the first step in laying the groundwork for a coastal greenway from Galway to Barna via Salthill.

It argues recent changes to the prom, including limitations on parking and gatherings, mean now is the perfect time to trial such infrastructure.

The group says the local authority previously indicated the Barna Greenway or Salthill cycleway projects were not a priority due to a lack of resources.

Campaigner Michelle Smyth says the recent announcement of almost 250 new “active travel” jobs in Ireland’s local authorities could address the situation.

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Galway TD asks Government to prioritise additional parental leave

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – A Galway TD is urging the Government to prioritise introducing the additional three week parental leave that was approved last month.

Deputy Mairéad Farrell says with many creches closed or taking severely reduced numbers, and family members unable to provide care under current restrictions, there is no room for delays.

Additional parental leave was announced in Budget 2020 and approved last month by Cabinet.

It applies to parents of children born after November 1st 2019 and would see them entitled to five weeks leave after their child is born or adopted.

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