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CITY TRIBUNE

Criminal back in jail after celebrating freedom

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A man celebrating his release from prison ended up being arrested for a Public Order offence – and following a few subsequent offences, ended up getting a new prison sentence when he came before Galway District Court.

Martin Ward with an address at the Cope Day Care Centre, Seamus Quirke Road, pleaded guilty to being in breach of the peace at McDonalds, Shop Street, where he was found asleep by staff and a few days later, on May 9 last, to causing a disturbance at the Cope Day Care Centre, where he threatened a Garda with a piece of wood before throwing his jacket at him.

There were cans of beer in the pockets of the jacket. He pleaded guilty to breaking a window at the centre and to punching a wall at the Garda Station after being arrested, causing €208 worth of damage in total.

On May 21 last, he was observed by a Garda to be so intoxicated, that he was barely able to stand outside the Meyrick Hotel, where he was shouting at passersby that he was going to kill them all. A few days previously he was involved in an altercation at the rear of Park House Hotel with another man and had to be separated. He was also identified as being the man who had urinated on a vehicle parked at the rear of the same hotel.

He further pleaded guilty to burglary at an apartment in the city though nothing was taken.

Defending solicitor, Seán Acton, explained that his client thought the apartment was vacant and only went in there to drink and had no intention of taking anything.

Judge Mary Fahy said there were no vacant properties in a city that was experiencing a housing crisis. She said Ward’s crimes were escalating and that burglary was a most serious offence.

Mr Acton said his client had had a tragic background which had involved being institutionalised. He accepted that it was a case of a vicious circle of being in custody, living in Cope properties and being homeless.

Judge Fahy said she understood all the challenges and had her sympathies but that Ward was now “out of control with his violent behaviour”.

Mr Acton said that in his dealings with Ward, he found him to be “one of the quietest men I know, but I know alcohol changes him”.

Judge Fahy said he had threatened a Garda and then threw a jacket full of beer cans at him, that he had also armed himself with a stick, had broken a window of the place where he stayed and entered someone else’s home.

Mr Acton agreed his client needed rehab but again stressed that his Ward had been celebrating being released from prison.

Judge Fahy said: “It doesn’t take a prison release for Ward to go celebrating. It seems he is celebrating every day he walks out the door. . . he goes on a riot.”

She imposed a total of nine months’ imprisonment to be backdated to May 27 when he was arrested and held in custody.

That included six months for the burglary, one month consecutive for criminal damage at Cope and two months consecutive for being in breach of the peace, taking everything else proved and taken into account.

She agreed to Mr Acton’s request to suspend that sentence to give him a chance to liaise with the Probation Services so he could get onto a residential treatment programme. She imposed it on his own bond of €200 on the conditions he be on good behaviour, attend all appointments with the Probation Services personnel and attend rehab.

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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CITY TRIBUNE

Water outages across Knocknacarra and Barna due to burst watermain

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – There are water outages across Knocknacarra and Barna this morning due to a burst watermain

The burst is in a rising main from Clifton Hill in Galway City to Tonabrucky Reservoir

The city council and Irish Water says while every effort is being made to maintain supply to as many customers as possible, the burst has caused water levels in Tonabrucky Reservoir to deplete

Houses and businesses in Knocknacarra, Barna and surrounding areas will experience low pressure and outages.

Dedicated water service crews have mobilised and repairs are underway and are expected to be completed by mid-afternoon.

Traffic management will be in place and Letteragh Road will be closed between Sliabh Rua and Tonabrucky Cross until 6pm.

Householders and businessses are being asked to conserve water where possible to reduce the pressure on local supplies and allow reservoir levels to restore.

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