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Connacht Tribune

Garda chief promises more feet on the beat

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THE restoration of a Garda presence in stations across Galway that have been unmanned over recent times is one of the top priorities for Galway Chief Superintendent, Tom Curley.

He told the Connacht Tribune that stations such as Corofin, Kilconnell and Ardrahan, which had no Garda stationed there over recent times, needed to have this situation rectified.

“The people of rural Ireland have always had a strong connection with the local Garda in their area and this link between community and our members, is, I firmly believe, of fundamental importance.

“A Garda in a local station will build up a rapport with the local community and it is this bond of trust and co-operation that we want to nurture,” said Chief Supt. Curley.

He said that the trend of a reduction in crime figures for Galway through the course of 2018 was quite encouraging although he cautioned against any sense of complacency.

The Chief Superintendent is very proud of their new Western Divisional HQ – opposite GMIT on the old Dublin Road into Galway city – which is an investment, he believes, will serve the Gardaí well over the next two to three decades.

“This project might have cost in the region of €30 million but I think that it is money well spent in terms of the facilities and infrastructure it provides, and will continue to provide, over the coming years and decades.

A ‘custody suite’ with 13 modern cells, training classrooms, a state-of-the-art firing range, facilities for a dog drugs unit, vehicle testing and fitting units, storage facilities for seized drugs and interview/conference rooms, plus ample car-parking facilities, are sprinkled through the five storey building that’s unmissable as one drives into the city from the direction of Merlin Park.

The Divisional HQ is now being kitted out to be the nerve centre for all 999 calls in the North and West region and will from early in 2019 be home to the region’s Divisional Protective Service Units that investigates domestic and sexual crimes.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune – in the shops this Friday.

Connacht Tribune

Violent incident in Tuam leaves seven hospitalised

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Gardaí are investigating after an incident in Tuam yesterday left seven people injured.

A violent altercation broke out between a large group at the cemetery in Tuam at about 4pm yesterday.

Around 30 Gardaí responded to the incident at the cemetery on the Athenry Road in Tuam, which broke out following two funerals in the area.

Gardaí supported by members from the wider North Western Region and the Regional Armed Support Unit had to physically intervene between parties and disperse those present.

Five males and two females were injured during the course of the incident and were taken to University Hospital Galway with non-life threatening injuries.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested at the scene, as he tried to flee in possession of a knife.

He was taken to Tuam Garda Station and has since been released. A file is being prepared for the Juvenile Liaison Officer.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to this incident or for anyone with any information to contact Tuam Garda Station .

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Connacht Tribune

Anger over ANC ‘snip’

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.

Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.

In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.

Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.

At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Siblings find each other – and their Connemara roots – after 80 years

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Reunited...Pat and Miceál McKeown outside their mother Síle’s birthplace in Carna.

By Erin Gibbons

A family separated for over 80 years was reunited at the end of an emotional journey in Connemara last weekend – thanks to DNA testing and the expert help of heritage researchers.

Pat McKeown, who lives in Staffordshire in the UK, is the daughter of Síle Gorham from Roisín Na Mainiach, Carna – but she was given up for adoption and reared for a time in a Belfast Mother and Baby Home.

Now, at the age of 81, she found her roots – returning to her mother’s native place for the first time last weekend, in the company of her long-lost brother Micheál.

It was an emotional end to a lifelong search for her roots that even led her to hire a private detective to try and locate her family and to discover her name.

All of this proved unsuccessful – and she had effectively given up her search when she was contacted unexpectedly by a man called Miceál McKeown, who turned out to be her brother.

Micheál – an artist and sculptor – and his daughter Orla had made the connection through DNA testing, after Miceál too had set out to discover more about his own roots.

That revealed that Síle Gorham had married Michael McKeown in 1939, and Síle went on to have three more children named Áine, Séan and Miceál.

Pat visited Connemara last weekend for the first time to learn about her mother Síle and the Connemara ancestry which she feels was robbed from her for her entire 81 years.

She was accompanied by Miceál, his wife Rosemary, daughter Orla and son-in-law Rueben Keogh.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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