Gardai are investigating an incident in which a sixth class pupil in a city primary school was caught with a knife in the yard at lunchtime, the Galway City Tribune has learned.
Nobody was harmed in the incident at Scoil Chaitríona in Renmore last Friday week, and the boy concerned was immediately suspended.
Gardaí were contacted, and principal Marianne Brady wrote to parents of children attending the school, alerting them to what happened and attempting to reassure them of their safety.
A series of professional bodies have also been contacted for advice on dealing with the incident.
According the letter – which has been seen by this newspaper – the knife was spotted in the boy’s back pocket during some horseplay.
“The incident in question involved apparent ‘tickling/messing’ between a small number of boys and during this apparent interaction, a knife was seen in the rear pocket of one of the boys.
“Another boy immediately alerted one of the supervisors, at which point the boy took it out of his pocket, dropped it and ran into the toilet.
“It was reported to myself at this stage, and I immediately checked with the supervising staff on duty in the yard, that all children and staff were safe and unhurt. I, in the company of a member of staff, went to deal with the child who had the knife in the yard.
“As it transpired, the Chairperson of the Board of Management was in the school, and action under the Child Protection Policy was immediately initiated. The parents of the boys immediately involved were contacted, as were the Gardaí, who arrived swiftly.
“In accordance with our Child Protection Policy, this matter has been referred to the HSE and the child who had the knife was suspended with immediate effect and remains so.
“As an incident such as this is highly unusual, advice had been taken from associated professional bodies, i.e. the Catholic Primary Schools’ Management Association, the National Educational Psychological Service, the Irish Primary Principals’ Network, the Gardaí and the HSE, in order to ensure that the matter is being investigated efficiently, effectively and appropriately having due regard to the school’s responsibility for all parties involved, mindful of their ages, general conduct, history in the school and all related matters. Arrangements are currently in progress addressing any concerns of children in the affected classes.
“I wish to assure you that the matter is fully in hand and that the safety and welfare of all children and staff alike is, and always has been, our primary concern.
“The Board, staff and I all share in your concern over the matter and I very much appreciate your understanding, forbearance and compassion in this matter in order to allow us undertake the necessary investigations and associated referrals,” said Ms Brady.
Gardai confirmed to this newspaper that an incident was reported, and is under investigation.
Elective surgeries cancelled at UHG as overcrowding continues
Galway Bay fm newsroom – Some non-urgent elective surgeries are being cancelled at UHG in a bid to tackle severe overcrowding at the city hospital.
It follows the issuing of a warning from the Saolta Hospital Group that the emergency department is extremely busy and there is ongoing pressure on bed availability.
General Manager at UHG, Chris Kane, says over 500 people presented at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday.
She says the overcrowding situation is very serious, particularly in relation to the ED, the Surgical Unit and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit.
Members of the public are urged to only attend the hospital in the case of emergency, and contact their GP or out-of-hours service if their health problem is not urgent.
Saolta is also reminding the public that the Injury Unit at Roscommon University Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, to treat adults and children over 5.
Speaking to Keith Finnegan on Galway Talks, Chris Kane said the current level of patients presenting is extremely high and “unusual” for this time of year.
She also noted there’s also been a rise in patients being treated for Covid-19, including in the ICU.
Galway rowers aim for Olympic gold!
Best of luck to two Galway rowers – Aifric Keogh of Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, and Fiona Murtagh from Gortachalla in Moycullen – who are part of Team Ireland’s Women’s Coxless Fours team who compete in an Olympic final in Tokyo at 1.50am (Irish time) Wednesday.
Coverage on RTÉ 2 television begins from 1am.
Ireland – who were second in their heat after Australia, who set a new Olympic Record – are in lane two, with Great Britain on their outside, and Australia, favourites for a gold medal, in lane three.
The Netherlands, China and Poland are in lanes four, five and six at the Sea Forest Waterway.
Poor weather meant some rowing events were re-scheduled but the Women’s Fours final was not impacted.
Jim Keogh, Aifric’s father, told the Tribune he was hopeful ahead of the final.
“To make the Olympics is tough, to make the final is tough, to make the medal is tougher,” he said.
Photo: Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty.
*Full coverage of the race and reaction in this week’s Connacht Tribune and Galway City Tribune
Paedophile sentenced to a further 17 months in prison
A convicted paedophile, described by a Garda as ‘a prolific child abuser’, has had a 17-month prison sentence added to a 13-year sentence he is already serving for the rape and sexual abuse of children.
Disgraced primary school teacher and summer school bus driver, 69-year-old Seosamh Ó Ceallaigh, a native of Tuirín, Béal a’ Daingin, Conamara, had at all times denied two charges of indecently assaulting a ten-year-old boy at a Gaeltacht summer school in Béal a’ Daingin in 1979.
The offence carries a maximum two-year sentence.
A jury found him guilty by majority verdict following a four-day trial at Galway Circuit Criminal Court last month.
At his sentence hearing last week, Detective Paul Duffy described Ó Ceallaigh as a prolific child abuser who had amassed 125 child abuse convictions, committed while he was a primary school teacher in Dublin and while he operated an Irish language summer school in Beal a’ Daingin.
They included convictions for rape and sexual assault for which he is currently serving sentences totalling 13 years.
Those sentences were due to expire in August 2024, but last week, Judge Rory McCabe imposed two, concurrent 17-month sentences on Ó Ceallaigh, before directing the sentences begin at the termination of the sentences he is currently serving.
The judge noted Ó Ceallaigh’s denial and lack of remorse and the lifelong detrimental effect the abuse had on the victim as aggravating factors.