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Coroner’s warning following opioid-related deaths

Stephen Corrigan



Galway West Coroner, Dr. Ciaran MacLoughlin

From this week’s Galway City Tribune: The Coroner for Galway West issued a warning this week against the abuse of highly-addictive opioids which contributed to three deaths that came before Galway Coroner’s Court.

Dr Ciarán MacLoughlin said he was “very sad” to see a number of these cases come before him on Monday and noted that opioids were being abused by people in receipt of them legitimately, by prescription, and by those who were purchasing them illegally on the streets.

“If taken in ignorance, people are not aware that they can, if combined with other drugs, have a synergistic effect – or if taken with alcohol, that can also have a synergistic effect – and as we’ve seen, the outcome can be fatal.

“Doctors who are prescribing these drugs need to be made aware that we are seeing a number of this type of incident,” said Dr MacLoughlin.

This came after the Coroner closed the inquests of three men who all died following opioid abuse.

In the first case, Dr MacLoughlin heard how Niall Caden (43) from Renmore was found collapsed by waiting staff from the King’s Head Bar and Restaurant on the Old Malt Lane in Galway City when they heard a bang against the window.

The inquest heard evidence from Paul Folan, a friend of Mr Caden, that the deceased had been drinking on the day of his death prior to his collapse. Mr Folan said Mr Caden appeared to be asleep on the ground on Old Malt Lane when he arrived at the scene.

Jason McCarthy, who described himself as a friend of Mr Caden going back 22 years, drove into the city centre to assist. He said Mr Caden was “snoring” on the ground but that he and Paul Folan managed to get Mr Caden walking to the car.

When they arrived at Mr McCarthy’s house, Mr Caden was left asleep in the car. Mr McCarthy said he had checked on Mr Caden a number of times throughout the night but at 1.20am, he found him in an unresponsive state and had his wife call an ambulance.

Mr Caden was taken to UHG where he later died following failed attempts to resuscitate him.

The pathologist’s report stated that Mr Caden had gone into cardiac arrest. A tablet that was found in Mr Caden’s possession was sent to the State Laboratory for testing and was found to have been an Oxycodone tablet – an opioid.

Reading into evidence the post mortem examination findings, Dr MacLoughlin said Mr Caden had “lethal levels” of oxycodone in his blood and a blood alcohol reading of 240mg per cent.

“Oxycodone is a prescription medication but it is available on the street with a street name of ‘Oxycotton’. It’s very addictive and we’ve, in the past, had at least one death in the city with this drug,” said Dr MacLoughlin.

Giving a verdict of death by misadventure, Dr MacLoughlin said the cause of death was respiratory depression due to the combined effects of alcohol and opioid overdose.

“It was a reckless thing to do and the effects, unfortunately, resulted in his death. It was not an accident; it was misadventure which is when somebody does something quite risky and unfortunately, that risk materialises – that risk caused his death,” said the Coroner.

Dr MacLoughlin offered his condolences to Mr Caden’s family and to his friends, whom he said had acted responsibly on the night of his death and who were not aware of the seriousness of his condition.

(Photo: Coroner Dr Ciaran MacLoughlin)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.


Council to consider new pedestrian ‘plaza’ for Galway City

Stephen Corrigan



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors will be asked next month to consider a sweeping overhaul of traffic flow in the city centre as the local authority seeks to create a more pedestrian-friendly core in the wake of Covid-19.

Currently under proposal in City Hall are major alterations to traffic flow which will allow for restricted car access to Middle Street – creating additional outdoor seating space for businesses in the area struggling to cope amid social distancing requirements.

Senior Engineer at City Hall, Uinsinn Finn, said they are currently considering three different proposals to alter traffic flow on Merchants Road, Augustine Street and Flood Street to reduce the need for car access to Middle Street, while still maintaining access for residents.

“We already pedestrianised Cross Street and we will be maintaining that, and there will be a proposal for Middle Street and Augustine Street.

“Businesses in the area are very much in favour of pedestrianisation – one business has objections but the others are supportive. Another consideration is that there are residents there with parking spaces and we are trying to encourage people to live in the city centre,” said Mr Finn.

The Latin Quarter business group submitted proposals for the temporary pedestrianisation of Middle Street and Abbeygate Street Lower but Mr Finn said the proposals the Council were considering were more in the line of creating adequate space for pedestrians while still allowing residents vehicular access.

This would involve creating a circuit for car traffic moving through Merchants Road around onto Augustine Street and exiting at Flood Street.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Residents want laneway closed following pipe bomb scare

Francis Farragher



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Residents in part of Knocknacarra are calling for the closure of a laneway and for more Community Gardaí to be put on the beat following the discovery of a ‘viable’ pipe-bomb type device in the area last weekend.

Up to 13 homes in the Cimín Mór and Manor Court estates had to be evacuated on Friday evening last when the incendiary device was discovered by Gardaí concealed in an unlit laneway, leading to the emergency services being notified.

An Army EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit was called to the scene and removed the device – according to local residents and councillors, the Gardaí have confirmed that the device was viable.

Gardaí have declined to comment on the detail of the case but have confirmed that the matter is being ‘actively and vigorously investigated’.

Chairman of the Cimín Mór Residents’ Association, Pat McCarthy, told the Galway City Tribune that the discovery of the viable device on the narrow laneway that links their estate to Manor Court was extremely frightening for all concerned.

“For the best part of the past 20 years, we have been seeking action to be taken on this laneway which has been used for dumping and unsociable behaviour on a repeated basis.

“But what happened last Friday evening was really the last straw for us. This could have resulted in serious injury to innocent people and what is also of concern to us is how close this was to the two schools in the area,” said Mr McCarthy.

He said that over the coming days, the residents’ association would be petitioning all residents in the three estates concerned – the other two being Manor Court and Garraí Dhónaill – for action to be taken on the laneway.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Galway designer’s necklace is fit for a princess!

Denise McNamara



Kate Middleton wearing the necklace designed by Aisling O'Brien

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A Galway jewellery designer is the latest to experience the ‘Kate effect’ after fans tracked down the woman who created a necklace for the Duchess of Cambridge which she has worn several times since it was gifted to her during her trip to the city last March.

Aisling O’Brien’s website crashed on Wednesday night when orders poured in for the piece from around the world. The necklace costs €109 with initials, while the earrings retail for €49.

“I’d never sold more than two things outside of Ireland before. I only had three of Kate’s necklaces in stock – and now I have orders for at least 50. I’ll have to start recruiting some elves,” laughs Aisling, who only set up her website during lockdown.

The 14-carat gold necklace and earrings set was designed by Aisling specially for Kate after examining her style – “understated, elegant, simplicity” is how the Tuam native describes it.

She was contacted about the commission by physiotherapist Thérèse Tully, who wanted to give the future queen a gift as she was using her room to change at Árus Bóthar na Trá beside Pearse Stadium when the royal couple were meeting with GAA teams.

(Photo: Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton wearing the necklace)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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