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Family tell of home raid terror

Declan Tierney

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The owners of a County Galway business premises have told of the trauma they suffered at the hands of raiders who stole more than €10,000 from their property shortly after they closed up for the night.

Three raiders entered the Kiltullagh business, which is also the location for the local post office, and held the owners – who are in their 70s – captive for just less than an hour before making away with the cash.

They also inflicted a serious head injury to the son of the couple who operate the hardware and foodstore business in Kiltullagh, just three miles from Athenry.

It was a ruthless attack on a small family business in East Galway and the owners have been left devastated by what has happened.

Frank Duane and his wife Mary were held captive for less than an hour after the raiders burst through the door of their property on which their business premises and post office is located.

It is not the first time that they have been robbed as there was a break in to the premises as it was broken into a year ago.

Frank recalls how both he and his wife were subjected to an aggravated attack in their home and how their son Anthony was left bleeding from a head injury.

“I went into the sitting room and Mary was in the kitchen when the door swung open and people entered. One went into the kitchen and got Mary and the other came into the sitting room and got me.

“As I heard the commotion, I got up and then got this mighty belt across the shin by a pinch bar which was around three feet long. It knocked the life out of me because I did not know what was happening.

“The front door was a bit open but I was hit and knocked back into the couch. The man who hit me stood behind me and didn’t leave for 15 or 20 minutes.

“One man was with Mary in the kitchen and another was rooting around the place and then he came into me as asked me where was the gun left.

“It was obvious that they knew I had a gun. I had to tell them because they were going to hit me again. Once I got it once, there was every chance I was going to get it a second time.

“One of them got the gun but I didn’t know if it was loaded or not. I certainly would not have it loaded.

“They then got Mary and brought her out into the shop to turn off all of the alarms and to get to the safes. It was the longest time ever in my life.

“I was trying to rub my ankles but they wouldn’t let me. They wanted my arms across my chest and wouldn’t let me release them.

“They tried to open the post office safe but that was time locked but then they got to our own business safe which was not time locked. They opened that one and took all the money out of that one.

“Then Anthony came in because he had been alerted to the fact that there was something wrong. He got the word about 10 minutes after the incident taking place.

“He walked in and they clocked him on top of the head with the pinch bar and there was blood streaming off him. They came at him with a hammer and struck him in the shoulder. They hit him around 10 or 12 times around the body after that.

“They made him kneel down on the floor and the blood was pouring out of his head. They wouldn’t let us touch him. We couldn’t even give him a towel to stop the bleeding.

“Then they marched me out to get the keys of the cigarette cabinet so I hadn’t a clue where they were located.

“Eventually they brought Mary and Anthony out and locked us all in a store room. They told us that if we ever came out that they would shoot us. So we had to wait a while until they went.

“Lucky enough there was a key inside to unlock the door to let us out. Otherwise I don’t know how long we would have been there,” Frank said.

Gardaí are monitoring CCTV around Athenry, Ballinasloe and along the M6 motorway in an effort to catch the culprits of the aggravated burglary.

CITY TRIBUNE

Proposals to change speed limits in Galway City are voted down

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Planned speed limit changes for Galway City are stuck in the slow lane after councillors rejected a proposal for new bylaws.

The bylaws would have introduced a 30km/h zone in the city centre and 19 other changes, including increased speed limits in areas such as Bóthar na dTreabh to 80km/h.

Management at City Hall have now been sent back to the drawing board to draft new speed limit bylaws after a majority of elected members voted against them – it could at least two years before new proposals are ready.

At a meeting this week, several councillors spoke out against plans to increase speed limits to 80km/h on approach roads into the city.

Many of them criticised the system of selecting roads for speed limit changes, lashed the public consultation process and decried the lack of input from councillors, despite speed limits being a reserved function of elected members.

Councillors were particularly peeved that the proposal had to be accepted in its entirety, without amendments, or rejected outright – they could not pick and choose individual changes.

Deputy Mayor Collette Connolly (Ind) led the charge against the bylaws, which she described as “idiotic”.

She lambasted the “incomprehensible decision” not to lower speed limits to 30km/h outside schools and she said it was “utter raiméis” (nonsense) that speeds can’t be lowered to 30km/h, if 85% of the traffic on that road travels at 50km/h.

Cllr Connolly said the bylaws were “flawed”, and cited the decision to leave Rahoon Road/Shantalla Road at 50km/h, despite a crèche and two schools on other roads like Lough Atalia remaining at 30km/h.

(Photo: A speed van on Bóthar na dTreabh on Thursday morning)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, including how each councillor voted and a map of the proposed changes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Corrib to be opened up as new tourism and leisure blueway

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The first steps are to be taken next year to explore the development of a ‘blueway’ tourism and leisure trail along the River Corrib, from Nimmo’s Pier and onto the lake itself.

This week, Galway City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune, that monies had been set aside to begin exploratory work on what will be known as the Great Western Blueway.

A figure of €65,000 has been allocated in the City Council’s 2021 annual budget to commission an initial study of what’s involved in the setting up a blueway trail on the Corrib.

“The Corrib river and the lake are a most wonderful natural asset for the entire western region and I have no doubt that this project has fantastic potential in terms of enhancing the tourism pulling power of the city and its environs,” Mr McGrath told the Galway City Tribune this week.

Should the project come to fruition, it would be the fifth such waterway attraction to be developed in the island of Ireland.

Already there are Blueways on the Shannon, from Drumshanbo to Lanesboro; the Shannon-Erne project from Leitrim village to Belturbet (Cavan); the Royal Canal at Mullingar; and at Lough Derg from Portumna to Scariff in Clare.

According to Mr McGrath, the attractions developed along the Great Western Blueway would be environmentally friendly, featuring such attractions as kayaking, paddling, adjacent cycle trails as well as scenic walkways and visitor centres.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Future of Leisureland secured through increased Council funding

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The future of the Leisureland pool and gym facility, which last September faced possible closure due to the Covid emergency, has been guaranteed for the coming year, following an increased financial subsidy from the City Council in their 2021 annual budget.

City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, told the Galway City Tribune that the local authority was committed to the future of the Leisureland facility and had increased the subsidy for 2021 from €300,000 to €500,000, in the process securing its viability for the coming year.

“We are all acutely aware of the value of the Leisureland facility, not only to local clubs but also to the many, many people who use the pool and gym on a weekly and often on a daily basis.

“Like so many other aspects of life and leisure in Ireland, the coronavirus emergency had a hugely negative impact on the viability of the facility, but thankfully we can now look forward with confidence to its continued usage in 2021,” said Mr. McGrath.

He also said that the City Council was committed to the further enhancement and usage of the greater Leisureland site which could act as a focal point for the regeneration of the entire Salthill area as a major local and national tourism centre.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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