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Court anger over lack of remand bed for boy (15)

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A District Court judge has highlighted the lack of ‘remand beds’ being made available to young offenders from the West of Ireland, who can neither be released on bail nor housed in an adult prison as they await trial.

Judge Mary Fahy was speaking in relation to a boy (15), who was one of the youths arrested for the alleged intimidation of foreign students in Knocknacarra last summer.

“It should be highlighted that the West of Ireland is entitled to get remand beds for juveniles,” she said.

“We have a busy juvenile court here, and it just seems that the Dublin courts are getting priority.”

Two days earlier the boy had appeared before her for breaching his bail. He was released into the custody of his mother, while a remand bed was awaited.

Two days later, Garda David Murphy sought an arrest warrant for the boy, as he had again breached his curfew, had been drinking, and was mixing with named individuals that he had been told to stay away from. His mother told the court when that she had been unable to control him.

“There’s a huge risk to this boy, and to others like him,” Judge Fahy said.

“He’s in and out of court, and disobeying all sanctions of the court and Gardaí … the court is being thwarted by not being supplied with remand beds. We can’t remand a juvenile to an adult prison, but there is nowhere else to put him.

“We had this difficulty before, a few months ago but, by sheer determination, it worked out. The Dublin courts seem to get priority over the courts outside Dublin. We seem to always be at the bottom of the list. We badly need services in the West of Ireland.”

The Judge urged the Probation Services to keep trying to get a remand bed for the boy, but the Probation Officer advised the system did not allow her to book the next available bed, that she has to ring up every morning to check availability.

With no other choice, the boy was again remanded on bail, but this time into the care of a foster family he was familiar with in rural County Galway.

The conditions are that he stays out of the city, except for court appearances; observes a curfew from 9pm-8am; and stays away from named individuals.

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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