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Gang attacks Spanish students in Galway



Gang attacks Spanish students in Galway

A group of Spanish students were lucky to escape uninjured after a gang of local teens showered them with rocks “the size of cups” in an attack that stunned dozens of residents in Knocknacarra, Galway out enjoying the sunshine.

Local resident Tommy Holohan was out for his evening run when he heard commotion opposite Cotters Shop on Shangort Rd at 8.15pm last Tuesday evening.

Around eight terrified male and female students, who were aged around 15 and appeared to be of Spanish origin, jumped off the wall surrounding Knocknacarra Park and were running across Shangort Road.

“There was roaring and screaming. The next thing one rock came past me just 10 feet in front. It was as big as a cup. The students ran for cover in the car park at Cotters Shop,” Tommy said.

He spotted up to 12 teenagers – aged 15 or 16 – firing the missiles. Three of them were stripped to the waist and many of them were screaming abuse at the foreign students. He recognised a few of the faces from the Knocknacarra area.

“These were serious rocks being thrown. If one of them had hit somebody on the head they’d be as good as gone. They gave no heed to passing traffic or pedestrians. Nothing.”

Tommy rang Salthill Garda Station but was told by a female garda there was nothing she could do as she was in the station alone. She told him to ring Mill Street in order for a patrol car to be sent out. However Tommy said the line rang out at the main Galway station.

He continued with his run and came across a dad out with his young daughter for a bike ride about to approach the scene of the attack. He advised them to leave the area to avoid being hurt. He returned a while later on the return leg of his run and found three of the students still in the area. He urged them to return to their host families to ensure their safety.

Tommy said this is not the first time he has witnessed intimidation of students in the area, particularly outside Joyce’s Supermarket. However this was by far the most worrying incident he had encountered. It was also an unwelcome slur on Galway’s reputation as a friendly city for young English language students, already trying to overcome the damage caused by the murder of Swiss student Manuela Riedo.

“In the last 18 months I have noticed two gangs hanging about the place. But what went on last Tuesday night was serious stuff. It’s scary, scary. A lot of people in the area depend on students. This is not good for the image of Galway.”

A spokesperson for Galway Gardaí said a patrol car did attend the scene some time after but none of the youths were to be found.

“There is an investigation underway in relation to antisocial behaviour by some youths congregating in McGrath’s Field which is being managed by the Salthill District,” she stated.

Mayor Donal Lyons said he rang the gardaí twice that day to report large groups of intoxicated youths congregating in McGrath’s Field, including one incident involving two teens stripped to the waist bare-knuckle boxing. He was told two youths had been arrested earlier.

“McGrath’s Field would be one of the hotspots identified by the guards which from time to time erupts. It has been very quiet but now that the schools have closed it is an area where youths gather. I would appeal to the establishments and adults providing alcohol to these groups to refrain from doing so.”

Connacht Tribune

A Moycullen win would add badly needed spice to football’s big day



Conor Reddington of Annaghdown and Tuam Stars' Adam Carton in action during the North Board Minor B football final at Tuam Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

BEFORE a ball was kicked in this year’s Galway senior championship, the smart money would have been on champions Corofin, Tuam Stars, Salthill/Knocknacarra and Mountbellew/Moylough making it to the semi-finals if they managed to keep out of each other’s way on the road to the penultimate stage off the title race.

Unfortunately, for a Salthill team which, in any event, didn’t scale their expected heights this year, they came up against the champions in the quarter-finals where the Seasiders’ challenge was dismissed in convincing fashion. It was business as usual for Corofin who remain odds on to claim a record-breaking eighth consecutive title.

With Tuam Stars edging out Bearna after extra-time, a Paul Kelly goal helping Moycullen get the better of St James’, and Mountbellew/Moylough powering home against 14-man Killannin, it means that three of last year’s semi-finalists are back seeking a place in the Galway decider this weekend. Mountbellew/Moylough are the odd ones out having fallen to Corofin in the 2019 quarter-finals.

Val Daly’s troops will need the performance of the lives to overturn club’s football’s dominant power, especially as they continue to field without county player John Daly – a son of their manager. Of course, they are not without a chance and if the likes of Michael Daly, Matthew Barrett, Eoin Finnerty, Eoin Ryan and Barry McHugh hit the ground running, they could give Corofin a searching time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Greens see red on gold rush



Opposition is intensifying to the prospect of a licence being awarded to Canadian gold prospectors planning to explore the heart of Connemara.

Environmental campaigners have warned of the dangers of awarding a prospecting licence to Toronto-based MOAG to mine for gold and silver in land around Roundstone, Ballyconneely and Ballynahinch.

They claim the exploration could devastate water supplies, tourism, wildlife – and also led to tensions in the local community.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton has indicated he intends to grant a prospecting licence to the company to explore for the valuable minerals in townlands in Ballynahinch Barony.

The licence allows the holder to explore for mineral deposits, and does not authorise mining of any materials that are found – that requires further licensing.

And Minister Bruton’s Department insists that the activities permitted under this licence are “non-invasive” and “of minimal environmental impact”.

However, campaigners have warned of the dangers mining can have on Connemara, and have urged the public to object before July 6.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Controversial Ballinasloe landfill prepares for closure



The Galway dump that forced householders to close their windows during the hottest of summers will take in waste for the last time during the middle of this year.

The pong the emanated from the landfill site in Kilconnell will be no more as it will cease accepting waste by the end of June next year.

Ballinasloe area councillors were told how Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site following the liquidation of the former operators Greenstar.

The Council agreed to accept 300,000 tons of municipal waste over a three-year period and this will come to an end by the middle of next year, after which the dump will be capped and closed the following year.

Director of Services Jim Cullen informed a meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council that following the closure of the dump, there would be long term care of the site to ensure that there would be no adverse environmental issues.

When Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site, an allocation of €300,000 was provided by the Department of the Environment for local projects.

Of this, €120,000 has been given to the area engineer to spend at his discretion and the remaining €180,000 has been dispersed equally among the six Ballinasloe councillors – resulting in each getting €30,000 to spend on projects in their area.

It is expected that a further €300,000 will be allocated to organisations within a certain radius of the landfill site and a committee made up of Cllr Aidan Donohue (FG), Cllr Dermot Connolly (SF) and Cllr Timmy Broderick (Ind) to decide how this fund will be dispersed.

For years, the dump in Kilconnell caused annoyance for local residents because of the smells emanating from the site and many householders say that it is still a major problem.

Cllr Michael Finnerty warned about the possibility of a run-off of leachate – a liquid that drains from landfill sites that can cause pollution – from the site into the future.

He said that he attended a meeting in Ballinasloe in which residents expressed concern about a leachate run-off from the old dump in Poolboy which has been closed down for years.

He was assured by Mr Cullen that the situation in Poolboy was being continually monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency but he would investigate these claims.

With regard to the closure of the dump in Kilconnell, Cllr Aidan Donohue said that he was not convinced about the ongoing maintenance of the site into the future.

He said when the landfill site in New Inn was closed many years ago, the Council just walked away and left the site in an unacceptable state.

The Fine Gael councillor was referring to suggestions that the Kilconnell site might have future potential and may be an asset but he cited what happened in New Inn when he said that it was just abandoned.

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