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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway’s most prolific burglar back on the prowl

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A heroin addict who was dubbed “the most prolific burglar in Galway City” by Gardai back in 2009, was back before the court again where he received a six-month sentence for another burglary.

Jonathan Harlowe (35), with addresses in Droim Chaoin, Bishop O’Donnell Road, and Boireann Beg, Roscam, has 79 previous convictions and has been struggling with a heroin addiction for the past 15 years.

He appeared in custody before Galway District Court where he pleaded guilty to burglary at a student’s apartment in Dún Aras, Rahoon, on June 20 last where he stole €20 worth of prescription pills from her bedroom.

He also pleaded guilty to trespassing in the driveway of a home in Coill Tíre, Doughiska,  on February 8 last and to stealing €15 in coins from a car parked in the driveway.

The court heard a man was lying on his couch watching TV when he saw the roof light come on his car which was parked in the driveway outside.   He looked out and saw Harlowe, whom he knew to see, rummaging through the car.  He shouted at him and Harlowe fled, but not before taking €15 in coins from the car.

On June 20 last at 12.30 pm, Harlowe climbed in a small bathroom window of an unoccupied student flat in Dún Aras.  The female student returned later that evening to find the place ransacked.  She reported the burglary and noticed prescription medication, which had been left beside her bed, was missing.

Garda viewed CCTV from the apartment complex and recognised Harlowe in the footage.

He admitted to both offences when later questioned but said he could not remember much as he had taken drugs at the time.

Defence solicitor, Sean Acton, said his client had been struggling with addiction for 15 years and all of his previous convictions were committed to feed that addiction.

He said Harlowe was no longer taking the “most serious drug” (heroin) and was on methadone treatment for that. However, he was now addicted to prescription drugs and that was reflected in the theft of the pills from the apartment.

He said Harlowe had gone in voluntarily to the Garda Station and made admissions. He had felt very ashamed and disgusted with himself as he had been trying to change his ways.

In relation to the burglary at the student’s flat, Mr Acton said Harlowe saw the prescription tablets while looking in the window and that was all he took.

“He does not want this life for himself.  He’s been fighting addiction for 15 years,” he added.

Reading victim impact statements, which had been handed into court, Judge Deirdre Gearty said the offences were “despicable” as people’s homes and property had been violated by Harlowe’s intrusions.

There was a pattern to his offending behaviour and it had not changed in nature over the years, she added.

She said she had no option but impose a six-month sentence on each offence with the sentences to run concurrently.  The sentences were backdated to July 4, when he went into custody.

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CITY TRIBUNE

€46,000 Lotto winner comes forward as deadline looms

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Knocknacarra winner of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus from the 12th of December has come forward to claim their prize, just two weeks before the claim deadline.

The winning ticket, which is worth €46,234, was sold at Clybaun Stores on the Clybaun Road on the day of the draw, one of two winners of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus prize of €92,000.

A spokesperson for the National Lottery say we are now making arrangements for the lucky winner to make their claim in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Lotto jackpot for tomorrow night (27th February) will roll to an estimated €5.5 million.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.

Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.

The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.

“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.

“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”

Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.

“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.

The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools

Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.

“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.

“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.

A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
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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