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Family fears justice to be denied over death

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A County Galway family has accused the Government of being afraid to stand up to the German authorities as they continue to seek answers regarding the death of a family member.

Members of the Fitzpatrick family in Portumna feel abandoned by the Government as they fight to have the case reopened. The family says that they have compelling evidence that Matthew Fitzpatrick (34) did not take his own life in Mannheim on December 11, 2010.

And this week the close-knit family have again called on the Department of Foreign Affairs to request the German authorities to reopen the investigation.

Doors have been closed on the family’s attempts to prove that Matthew did not commit suicide at his apartment.  It has been an agonising four years for the family.

“All we want is justice for Matthew”, says his brother Patrick Fitzpatrick who has been at the coalface of a campaign to prove that their brother was actually murdered.

He said that his apparent suicide was staged and the family had evidence to prove that Matthew could not have physically taken his own life.

But the family has been hampered in their efforts to have the case reopened. The German authorities do not want to know. Neither does the Department of Foreign Affairs in this country, according to the family.

The late Matthew Fitzpatrick.

The late Matthew Fitzpatrick

 

Matthew was a successful engineer working for a Cork based company with an office in Mannheim. He had intentions of moving to another location, perhaps America. His brother Patrick has been involved in constant discussions with politicians both here and in Germany in an effort to have Matthew’s case reopened.

Patrick said that there was no evidence that he took his own life and the family was furious that the German authorities or police could not see this.

And he revealed that there was a number of Matthew’s social circle who had been information about the circumstances surrounding his death in Mannheim who were not coming forward.

He said that even people he was close to in an Irish pub in Mannheim had not even expressed their sympathy following his death. His ex-girlfriend had also not contacted any family member. The family wants German authorities to re-open an investigation into his death and they want the Irish Government to help them.

Patrick Fitzpatrick said that his brother had 45 injuries to his body and a lot of these were of a defensive nature. People in an upstairs apartment heard an altercation below on the night prior to his body being found.

In particular, the family says they’ve never been given an explanation for a significant trauma on the back of Matthew’s head, and haemorrhaging on his lower back. Using information from the first autopsy, an analysis by the family suggests that it was physically impossible for Matthew to have hanged himself on the kitchen door in his apartment.

The Fitzpatrick family claims that German authorities ignored evidence and contradictory testimony, and even falsely attributed a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to Matthew, in order to support an early and consistent conclusion that he took his own life.

A Coroner’s Court jury in Dublin in April 2011 returned an open verdict on the question of whether or not suicide had been the cause of death. The family believes that someone close to Matthew knows exactly what happened to him. They have vowed to continue their fight for answers.

Connacht Tribune

Confusion reigns – but publicans continue serving pints outdoors

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Galway City publicans continued this week to serve alcohol in newly created on-street outdoor dining sections – despite warnings from Gardaí that it was against licensing laws.

The local branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) said it is hoping Government will, if necessary, introduce legislation that facilitates pubs serving alcohol in public spaces reclaimed for outdoor hospitality.

On Friday last, our sister newspaper, Galway City Tribune revealed that Gardaí had visited a number of city pubs warning they were not legally permitted to serve alcohol outdoors in temporary on-street seating areas created by Galway City Council.

Publicans were told that if they continued to flout the rules, files would be sent to the DPP.

When the crux subsequently hit the national headlines, Justice Minister Heather Humphreys urged Gardaí to ‘use their discretion’.

“The overwhelming majority of licensed premises are operating safely, and we in Government are determined to continue to support them. If local issues arise, I would urge local authorities, Gardaí and businesses to engage.

“However, I will also examine whether further measures are required from Government. Licensing law is a complex area but I have spoken to the Attorney General this morning and we will take further action if necessary,” Minister Humphreys said.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Apple plans second bite at Athenry data centre

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An artist's impression of the proposed Apple Data Centre.

Apple intends to have another bite at plans to build a data centre in Athenry.  Apple Operations Europe has applied to Galway County Council for more time to construct a controversial data centre on a greenfield site at Derrydonnell.

The company said it will identify “interested parties to develop the project” between now and 2026 to meet global growth in demand for data storage facilities.

It will spark hope in the County Galway town of a revival of the €850 million project that was dogged for years by planning delays and court appeals and was subsequently shelved. It may also attract fresh objections.

The world’s largest technology company was granted planning permission to build a €850 million data centre near Athenry in 2015.

An appeal to An Bórd Pleanála by a handful of local residents was not successful, and the planning appeals board confirmed the local authority’s decision in 2016.

But the company ultimately aborted its plans for County Galway in 2018 after three objectors sought a review of the decision through the courts.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Mum’s dream holiday turns to nightmare after cancer diagnosis

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Julia McAndrew, in hospital in Mexico.

A mother who went to Mexico on a dream holiday to spend Christmas with family is too weak to return home after being diagnosed with advanced cancer.

From the minute Julia McAndrew landed in the South American country, her health took a major downward spiral.

Her son and daughter were shocked when she asked for a wheelchair to make it through the airport.

She and daughter Eliska had flown out to see her son Patrick, who had relocated to Mexico to run an online learning business.

They initially thought she had fallen ill due to the rigours of a 22-hour, multi-stop flight.

But when her stomach problems did not improve and she began to lose a lot of weight and suffered from very low energy, they sought medical help.

This had to be done privately and without the financial help of an insurance company, Patrick reveals.

She was initially diagnosed with anaemia and kidney failure and underwent various treatments, including blood transfusions that appeared to be working.

But three weeks ago, medics discovered that what she had was Stage 4 breast cancer. Julia had cancer a decade ago but was given the all-clear after receiving treatment and a major change in lifestyle.

“It’s returned with a vengeance this time around. It’s spread to her pelvis, ribs and lungs,” reflects Patrick.

The cost of the treatment is $40,000 (€33,000) a month. Her family are hoping to build up her strength enough to endure the long flight home to Oranmore.

They have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise €280,000 to pay for her treatment and in less than a week a phenomenal €36,000 has been donated.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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