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Galway gets second highest payout to protect rare bird

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Two Galway farmers have been paid almost 30 thousand euro between them for the protection of the rare Hen Harrier.

Figures obtained by the Irish Independent show that the Government spent 1.75 million euro on nationwide conservation measures for the bird in the first 10 months of this year.

The second and third highest amounts were paid to farmers in Galway who received 15 thousand euro and 14 thousand 800 euro respectively.

Farmers receive the money if their land is located in a Special Protection Area for the Hen Harrier.

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Galway resident jailed for rape appeals conviction over lack of witness statements

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – A Galway resident who has been jailed for the rape of a woman he invited to dinner has appealed his conviction at the Court of Appeal, arguing that two witness statements were never taken by gardaí.

Shafik Qadri, a Pakistan national, with a last address at Tuam Road, Galway City, was jailed by Mr Justice Michael White in October 2018 for six years for the rape of a woman he invited to his home for dinner in January 2016.

51 year old Qadri, who had denied the charge at his Central Criminal Court trial, appeared by video link from the Midlands Prison at this week’s virtual hearing of the Court of Appeal.

Michael Bowman SC, for the appellant Qadri, argued there were two statements that should have been taken by gardai but never were. Counsel submitted that this error “compromised the ability for the appellant to have a fair trial”.

Mr Bowman told the three-judge court that two statements from a work colleague of the victim and the colleague’s girlfriend, to whom he said the victim recounted the incident before reporting it the day after the rape, were not taken by gardaí.

Counsel said that before a complaint was made at a garda station, the complainant confided in both the colleague and his girlfriend, who then both attended the station in support of the victim.

Shane Costelloe SC, for the DPP, said that the grounds of appeal were “entirely speculative in their approach”.

Mr Costelloe said there was no issue raised during the trial about the victim being accompanied by the couple to the Garda station. He added that it could have been raised in cross-examination but was not.

Mr Costelloe said that there was no question that gardaí failed to disclose any information to the defence at trial.

Presiding judge Mr Justice John Edwards said that the court would reserve judgement in the case but give it a priority status.

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GRETB to pay 1.8 million euro for site adjacent to Coláiste na Coiribe in Knocknacarra

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board is to pay 1.8 million euro for a site adjacent to Coláiste na Coiribe in Knocknacarra

The site is one of three plots which Galway City Council has agreed to dispose of following a debate at this week’s Local Authority meeting.

The 1.5 hectare site at Ballyburke forms part of 3.5 hectare site which the City Council purchased during the Celtic Tiger at prevailing market prices at that time.

That’s according to the City Manager Brendan who told the meeting that the site is being offered to the GRETB at it’s current market value but this will be less than what the Council originally paid for it.

Mr McGrath said the sale was a two-step process and the GRETB board would have to approve the purchase before it’s finalised.

Director of Services for Housing Dermot Mahon confirmed that the Council is carrying a €10.2 million debt for the entire 3.5 hectare site and it intends to develop a mix of social and affordable houses on the remaining land to recoup most of the remaining costs.

Mr Mahon was speaking in response to concerns from several Councillors that the land was being offered at too low a price.

He said the public lands are being disposed of for a public good at current market value.

Meanwhile, the Local Authority has agreed to dispose of two further smaller sites at the Old Monivea Road and in Corrib Park for €2,500 each.

Several Councillors questioned why the site at the Old Monivea Road plot is being offered at the same price as the Corrib Park site which is much smaller.

Director of Services for Economic Development Brian Barrett told the meeting that the Old Monivea Road site is of no value to the Local Authority, it has become dumping blackspot and that disposing of it in this manner represent good value.

The sale of the Ballyburke and Corrib Park sites were approved unanimously by all councillors, however, the disposal of the Old Monivea Road property was only approved after a roll call vote – with 13 in favour and five against.

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373 new cases of Covid-19 nationwide

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Department of Health has been notified of 373 additional cases of Covid-19.

The number of people in hospital with the virus stands at 54, 18 of those are being treated in intensive care.

There have been 3 additional hospitalisations over the past 24 hours, however the number in ICU is down 1 since yesterday.

There are no local figures available due to ongoing issues relating to the cyberattack on the HSE.

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