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Connacht Tribune

Father of six bragged of sex with schoolgirl

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A father of six bragged to another man that he was having sex with a 16-year-old schoolgirl while showing him pictures of her in provocative poses which he had taken on his phone.

Dubliner Paul Devlin (51), who now resides at Quinaltagh, Garrafrauns, Dunmore, also showed the man a very short white mini-shirt, bragging the girl wore if for him every time he had sex with her.

Devlin began to cry when unanimously found guilty by a jury at Galway Circuit Criminal Court 23 charges involving the defilement of a child aged under 17 years of age, and a further eight charges of defilement by getting the girl to perform oral sex on him on numerous dates over an 18-month period, between 2009 and 2010.

He was led away in handcuffs from the courtroom by two prison officers, to await sentence on November 29.

Proseucting barrister Conor Fahy told jurors at the start of the trial the complainant was aged between 15 and 17 when the abuse began ten years ago.

“She alleges she had sexual intercourse with him and, on occasion, oral sexual intercourse and the law states that it’s a criminal offence for a male adult person to do that to an underage girl.

“The issue of consent does not apply in such an offence involving a child.

“The fact that she may and did consent to sexual intercourse while she was aged between 15 and 17 is irrelevant in criminal law because she was a child and the law is there to protect young girls from predatory men,” Mr Fahy explained.

The two-week trial heard evidence Devlin met the girl through his 15-year-old son on St. Patrick’s Day, 2009.

The then 42-year-old father of six began texting the girl shortly after that.

He arranged to pick her up near her school or meet her in carparks two to three times a week before driving her to remote locations in Connemara to have sex with her.

He told her he liked her in the miniskirt she was wearing when he first met her and asked if he could have it.

She gave it to him on one of their trips to Connemara, and he got her to wear it every time they had sex after that.

On one such trip to Connemara in 2010, when the girl was 16, Devlin took photos of her scantily-clad body, draped across the bonnet of his car and in other suggestive poses.

The court heard he also had sex with her regularly in his own home and had supplied her with cigarettes and alcohol.  He had bought her cheap presents and jewellery.

He told Gardaí she bought him a Father’s Day mug and he still had it.

Jurors heard Devlin had unprotected sex with the girl, and had hoped to get her pregnant so that she would have to move into his home where he would have complete control over her.

In his closing speech to the jury, Conor Fahy BL, prosecuting, said a single word summed up the photos shown to the jury and that word was ‘sad’, as they depicted a young, vulnerable child being exploited by a mature, married man for his own sexual gratification.

When asked on the second day of the trial what had she to say, looking back now, about having had consensual sex with the man ten years ago, the 25-year-old woman replied:

“I don’t know what to say.  It wasn’t right, but I couldn’t give up the attention and looking-after that I had from him and it just kills me now to think of it.”

She became upset at one point while telling jurors:  “We had sex two to three times a week from April 2009, up until I was 17.”

The abuse came to light when the accused bragged about his underage sexual activity to a ‘horrified’ male friend.

The man reported the abuse and the victim then came forward and made a series of statements to Gardaí.

She revealed to Sergeant Patricia Grady, who investigated the matter, that Devlin had taken compromising photos of her on his phone in 2010.

Devlin denied all of the allegations when questioned, telling Gardaí the girl was a liar. He said he always knew her age as she was the same age as his son and that he had tried to be her friend because he knew she was vulnerable and was having problems at home.

Gardaí confiscated the phone as described by the girl, during a search of Devlin’s home and found the compromising photos still stored on it.

They proved to the Gardaí – and to the jury – that the girl was telling the truth.

Devlin continued to deny the girl’s claims, saying another man had taken the photos.

Jurors took just 90 minutes to reach their unanimous guilty verdict on all charges and Devlin was led away in handcuffs crying.

Connacht Tribune

Two arrested in Galway over spate of burglaries

Enda Cunningham

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Two men in County Galway have been arrested as part of a Garda investigation into a series of burglaries in businesses in Limerick and Tipperary.

As part of the operation, three houses were searched yesterday (Saturday) morning in Co Galway and two men in their 20s were arrested. They were brought to Henry Street and Roxboro Road Garda stations in Limerick, where they were detained under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2007.

During the search operation, two vehicles were also seized for technical examination.

The eight burglaries were carried out in the Limerick and Tipperary area in the early hours of last Wednesday morning.

As part of these investigations, an operation was put in place by detective Gardaí from Henry Street Garda station with the assistance of the Armed Support Unit in the Western Region and Gardaí from Tipperary, Limerick and Galway.

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Connacht Tribune

Branar reaching for skies at former airport

Judy Murphy

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Marc Mac Lochlainn, the director of Branar Téatar do Pháistí.

Lifestyle – The disused terminal at Galway Airport is being transformed for Sruth na Teanga, an immersive journey through centuries of Irish language and culture. Created by theatre company Branar, it was commissioned by Galway 2020 and will use puppetry, music, video and live performance to give audiences a fresh insight into the oldest vernacular language in Western Europe. Its creator and director, Marc Mac Lochlainn talks to JUDY MURPHY.

Entering the terminal of Galway Airport is like visiting the place that time forgot.

The desks for Avis and Budget Travel are still in place, exactly as they were when the facility closed nine years ago. So too are signs saying ‘Departures’ and ‘Garda and Customs only’, while the yellow pay-machines for the empty car-park stand abandoned by the main door and wind howls through the deserted building.

At the reception desk, a dog-eared copy of Dan Brown’s novel, Deception, is a lonesome reminder of the days when people thronged through this airport, carrying reading material for their flights.

“It’s a bit like the Mary Celeste,” says Marc Mac Lochlainn, the director of Branar Téatar do Pháistí with a mischievous grin. He’s referring to the American shipwreck that was found abandoned off the Azores in 1872, with everything perfectly intact but its crew missing.

At the height of Storm Brendan, with the rain lashing and wind howling, the space does feel eerie, but from March 2-29, thanks to Branar, it will become home to magical forests, streams and islands for one of the main events of Galway 2020 – European Capital of Culture.

Branar’s new show, Sruth na Teanga, was commissioned by 2020 as one of its flagship productions.  Now the theatre company has just over a month to transform the abandoned terminal building into a space for an immersive journey capturing the evolution of Western Europe’s oldest written, and still spoken, language. That language is Irish – a subject which caused so many people so much angst at school.

Marc is aware of this difficult legacy, but points out that Irish language and its culture far predates what has happened to it in the 20th Century at the hands of the Irish education system.

And that’s what Sruth na Teanga – based on the metaphor of a river – is all about. With puppetry, music, video mapping and live performance, it’s for children and adults and Marc hopes it will give people a fresh appreciation for Irish and its ongoing role in shaping us as a nation, through our place-names, our stories, our songs and the way we view the world.

Transforming the deserted airport terminal for this production will be no small feat but then Branar have never been short of ambition, as anyone who has seen their magical productions, such as How to Catch a Star and Woolly’s Quest, will be aware.

Sruth na Teanga has been evolving since 2015 when Galway first sought the European Capital of Culture designation and invited people such as Marc to dream big.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Corofin stand 60 minutes away from club football crowning glory

John McIntyre

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Corofin's Colin Brady is tackled by Paul Kerrigan of Nemo Rangers in the All-Ireland club semi-final. The reigning champions face Kilcoo of Down in Sunday's showdown at Croke Park.

IT’S a date with destiny like none other in the history of club Gaelic football. A team from Galway trying to go where no parish team has gone before.

Protecting a remarkable 35-match unbeaten run, Corofin stand on the threshold of becoming the first team to win three All-Ireland club senior titles on the trot.

It would represent a phenomenal achievement and the crowning glory for the Galway champions who have been such a compelling force over the past decade.

Standing in their way are All-Ireland final debutants, Kilcoo from Down, and while Corofin are red-hot favourite, the biggest occasion on the club GAA calendar has been littered with upsets down through the years.

It’s not in the nature of Kevin O’Brien’s charges to take anything for granted, however, and if they bring their A-game to Croke Park for the third year running, Corofin will have secured a cherished place in the record books on Sunday night.

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