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Heartless thief stole €40,000 from his grieving aunt

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A 24-year-old burglar ransacked his aunt’s home, stealing over €40,000 worth of her jewellery and other items while she was attending the funeral of her sister, who had died suddenly.

Cian Cantwell, with addresses at Nun’s Island and 9 Ard na Gaoithe, Upper Clybaun Road, Knocknacarra, pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court in March to entering a house in Monalee Heights, Knocknacarra, as a trespasser between October 10 and 11, 2013, with intent to commit theft.

Sentence was adjourned to last week for the preparation of reports. Garda John Horkan told the sentence hearing one of Cantwell’s aunts died suddenly and Cantwell knew his other aunt and her husband would be away attending the funeral.

He broke a kitchen window to gain entry to the house, which he then ransacked, stealing his aunt’s jewellery, two televisions, a safe, a video, laptop and printer. The woman’s husband, who is a retired Garda, read a victim impact statement to the court.

He said his wife suffered from a serious mental illness and this burglary had plunged her into a deep depression, from which she had not recovered.

He said his wife had been very good to her nephew down through the years and she was devastated when she heard he had burgled her home.

Her husband said all of his wife’s jewellery, including her engagement ring, which was of great sentimental value, was taken and never returned.

Special purchases the couple had made during a cruise they had taken together following his retirement, were also stolen and could never be replaced, he said.

He said he knew immediately on entering the house, that the burglar knew exactly where everything was and must be someone they knew.

“In her will, she had left her jewellery to her granddaughter and there’s nothing left now to leave her.

“He just didn’t steal her possessions, but also my wife’s health,” the man said.

Defence barrister, Geri Silke said her client did not intentionally target his aunt’s house and didn’t know whose house he had broken into.

She said he was “off his head” on drugs at the time and when he “came to” and realised what he had done he became very remorseful, went immediately to the Gardai and handed himself in.

“He would not like you to think he targeted his poor aunt.  He has done everything since to rehabilitate himself and is now off all drugs and doing everything he can to stay out of trouble,” Ms Silke said to Judge Rory McCabe.

She asked him to adjourn sentence for a year so that her client could get the treatment he needed.

“He has changed as a human-being as a result of this,” Ms Silke added.

Judge McCabe told Cantwell this was a despicable crime, committed against his own aunt who was grieving the loss of her sister at the time.

“The harm you caused is ongoing and is never likely to be healed.

“This was a callous, thoughtless and wanton crime by the accused who put his own needs before those of others.

“The court cannot accept his expression of remorse is genuine,” Judge McCabe said.

He indicated the crime merited a six-year sentence, with two years taken off for the plea, thus sparing his aunt from having to give evidence at his trial.

That left four years, he said, and as the accused was currently engaged in a process of rehabilitation, he said he would allow him complete that before finalising sentence this time next year.

The degree to which Cantwell engaged with the rehabilitation services in the interim would determine how much of the four-year sentence he would serve next year, the judge said.

“He obviously didn’t tell anybody where the stolen items went or try to get them back. There may be no way of avoiding a custodial sentence, but we will wait the year,” Judge McCabe added.

CITY TRIBUNE

Hero’s welcome following rescue of two women on Galway Bay

Stephen Corrigan

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Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan, who rescued Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn off Inis Oirr island, on their arrival back at the Galway RNLI Lifeboat Station at Galway Docks. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The miraculous rescue on Galway Bay yesterday of two young women from Knocknacarra brought 15 long hours of searching to a euphoric conclusion, as cousins Sara Feeney (23) and Ellen Glynn (17) were brought safely to shore.

A major search and rescue operation was launched after the pair went missing from Furbo Beach on Wednesday night, when they were swept away by a sudden wind while paddle boarding.

Claddagh fisherman and former Lifeboat shore crew member Patrick Oliver and his 18-year-old son Morgan joined the search early on Thursday morning and were the heroes of the hour after they discovered the two women on their boards, clinging to a lobster pot about two miles south-west of Inis Oírr, where despite their ordeal, they were described as “ok, but shaken”.

In the face of torrential rain and high winds overnight, both women had drifted almost 20 miles out to sea, but amazingly neither required serious medical attention.

Sara’s mother, Helen Feeney, raised the alarm shortly after 9pm on Wednesday evening when she noticed the pair missing as she walked their dog along the shore.

Sara, a daughter of Helen and Bernard Tonge, and Ellen, daughter Deirdre and well-known former captain of Galway United Johnny Glynn, were both said to be in good spirits at the hospital yesterday afternoon.

One relative told the Galway City Tribune that the family was “utterly humbled by the generosity of people” who had took part in the search and said, “unbelievable doesn’t even begin to describe it”.

“Thank you from all the family to everyone who helped, words will never express our gratitude.”
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Photo: Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan, who rescued Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn off Inis Oirr island, on their arrival back at the Galway RNLI Lifeboat Station at Galway Docks. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway farm operators fall fowl of locals

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Neighbours of Mad Yolk Farm have asked Galway City Council to determine whether planning permission is required for a portable chicken coop earmarked for the land in Roscam.

This week, Mad Yolk Farm has indicated that it will be adding chickens to the site, which has already been the subject of planning enforcement by the local authority.

In a Facebook post, the operators said they are planning to rear organic chickens on site, with neighbours fearing as many as 450 birds in the chicken ‘caravan’.

“Our chicken caravan is now built and our beaked ladies will arrive in eight days. We’ll be moving the hens onto fresh grass each day and they’ll be free to forage for insects and take mud baths. They’ll be free to behave like a chicken should,” the business said on social media.

It has prompted a neighbour of the property to write the Council to formally ask for a declaration “whether the work/development described in the form is or is not development or is or is not exempted development under Section 5 of the Planning and Development Act”.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cold water poured on Spanish Arch ‘bushing’ sprinkler plan

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway City Council has poured cold water on a suggestion that it should install water sprinklers to deter ‘bushing’ at city centre hotspots for outdoor drinking, such as Spanish Arch.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) this week said the local authority should examine providing sprinklers, to deter bushing, after Spanish Arch and Middle Arch were packed with hundreds of revellers during the sunshine last weekend, and the areas were littered with alcohol bottles and cans.

Cllr Hoare said large crowds were prohibited from gathering outside due to Covid-19 social distancing guidelines, and if the partying continued “Galway will be the next county to be locked down”.

He said CCTV cameras should be installed at Spanish Arch and Middle Arch and added: “Galway City Council should consider installing sprinklers as a long-term solution.”

However, the City Council said it was not its intention to install sprinklers.

“It’s so hot at the moment, if you put out a sprinkler anywhere in Galway, people would just dance under it. We’re so unused to this muggy heat, that if you did that (installed sprinklers), on top of your 12-pack of Bacardi Breezers, or whatever it is young people drink these days, you’d have the biggest wet t-shirt competition this side of Ibiza – people would just dance under them. No, we have no plans for sprinklers,” remarked a City Council spokesperson.

He said the Council was unaware of a separate suggestion – announced by Mayor of Galway Mike Cubbard on social media – that certain city areas be exempted from the street drinking bylaws, to allow them to be monitored and controlled.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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