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Councillor claims Gardai are ‘revenue collectors’

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The issuing of 5,000 speeding tickets by city gardaí last year showed that the force was a revenue collector, targeting many motorists who were largely law-abiding.

Cllr Padraig Conneely said during his recent visits to court to face charges of illegal parking, he had witnessed many motorists hauled before the judge on allegations of exceeding the speed limit by as little as 2km.

“They were there while murderers and sex offenders were being remanded, ordinary people frightened out of their lives because they were 10km over the speed limit,” he exclaimed.

“More discretion should be used. The gardaí are a revenue collector. There was a report last week that €30 million was collected by gardaí on the roads, 350,000 people were fined in 2014. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.”

He pointed to the placing of the speeding vans parked in the likes of Bushypark and outside the Trappers Inn on the Tuam Road which were not high-accident locations.

“People going nowhere, not in a hurry, on a good road, no accident being recorded. I’d ask the Chief Superintendant, you’re a reasonable man yourself, you’re a man of the world, you wouldn’t take dictation from the Department, discretion should be used where they’re 10km over.”

Chief Supt Tom Curley revealed that 5,000 speeding tickets had been issued in the city last year. But his officers had no say over where those vans which were privately operated would be located.

If there was a genuine reason for breaking the speed limit, motorists could write to the Department outlining their situation.

“As long as I’m sitting at this table, there will be more enforcement of road traffic offences, there’s no hard luck stories really. We have to abide by the regulations. If we all did, it would make a safer place to drive and walk and cycle on,” he warned.

He then turned to the Fine Gael representative and said, to loud guffaws: “The only bit of advice I can give Cllr Conneely is slow down.”

Connacht Tribune

Pedestrian seriously injured in Furbo hit and run

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A man in his 40s is in a serious condition in hospital following a hit and run in Furbo last night.

He was a pedestrian who was walking on the R336 road near Furbo Church, when he was hit by a car around 8.30pm.

The driver of the car failed to remain at the scene.

The road is currently closed with diversions in place while Garda Forensic Collision Investigators conduct an examination of the scene.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to the collision to come forward, particularly any road users who may have dash-cam footage recorded in the area between 8pm and 9pm.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Drug use in Galway at ‘frightening levels’ says top Garda

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Use of illegal drugs has reached ‘fairly frightening’ levels across the city and county, according to Galway’s top Garda.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that only about 10% of the drugs in circulation in society are detected by Gardaí.

He said that there had been increases in detection of drugs for sale or supply and for simple possession in the city and county so far this year.

Cocaine in particular was an issue in Galway, he said, but increased drug use was evident in “every village and town in the country”.

In his report to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Curley said that there had been a 22% increase in detection of drugs for sale or supply in Galway, up 14 to 78 at the end of September.

There had been 108 incidents of drugs for simple possession, up by 15%.

The amount of cocaine seized in the first nine months of the year amounted to €538,838. The level of cannabis seized amounted to €361,872.

Ecstasy (€640) and heroin (€2,410) were also seized, according to the Garda report.

Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said it was a concern that cocaine had overtaken cannabis for the first time, in terms of the street value of the amounts seized.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) said that the Garda Drugs Unit needed to be commended for the seizures.

Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) said it was concerning that use of cocaine had escalated.

In response to Chair of the JPC, Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab), Chief Supt Curley said there were some instances where parents or siblings were being pursued by criminals over drug debts accrued by family members.

He added he would continue to allocate resources to the drugs problem.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Up to 20-week waiting period for youth mental health service in Galway

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Young people in Galway have highest waiting times in the state for an appointment with the Jigsaw youth mental health service.

That’s according to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell who revealed that waiting times for an appointment here are currently up to 20 weeks.

“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Galway,” she said.

“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Galway and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Galway currently experiencing the longest wait times at 20 weeks.

“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.

“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk,” she added.

Deputy Farrell said that young peoples’ mental health had been adversely affected during the pandemic – with loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends impacting.

“Jigsaw have experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears,” she said.

“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker.  Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.

“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed – so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.

“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” she concluded.

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