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Connacht Tribune

Heroin addict jailed after guilty plea for forgery

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A man has been sentenced to six months in prison for forging a court clerk’s signature on a fake receipt which he then used to obtain money from a neighbour on the pretext it be used as bail money.

Mark Keady (34), from Powl, Spiddal, pleaded guilty before Galway District Court to making a false hand-written receipt on February 9 last, purporting to be from the Courts Service of Ireland in the name of District Court Clerk Róisín Uí Neachtain, with the intention it be used to induce another person to accept it as genuine, to the prejudice of that person, contrary to Section 25 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001.

His partner, Susan O’Toole (32), from Wormhole, Rosscahill, pleaded guilty to the same offence.

Following their pleas, a second charge of using the forged hand-written receipt to induce another person to accept it as genuine and to do some act to the prejudice of that person, contrary to Section 26 of the same Act, was withdrawn by the State.

Garda Michéal O Rainne gave evidence that on February 8 last, Keady told his friend and neighbour, Jack Conneely, he was due in court in Galway the next day for road traffic offences and he would be sent to jail if he did not have money for bail.  Conneely gave him an undisclosed amount of money.

Keady rang Conneely the following day saying he was in the Courthouse and that he would need an extra €200 to secure bail.

Keady hung up when Conneely told him he would come into court with the money himself.

Moments later, Susan O’Toole rang Conneely and told him her brother was in court and would go bail for Keady but that he would need his money back later that evening.

That night, Keady and O’Toole called to Conneely’s house where he gave them a further €200.

They showed him a hand-written receipt, purporting to be from the Court Service and signed in the name of Róisín Uí Neachtain, acknowledging receipt of the bail money purportedly paid earlier that day to secure Keady’s bail.

Garda O Rainne said Keady had produced the receipt in an attempt to cod Mr Conneely.

He said Conneely made a complaint to him a few days later. He took his statement of complaint and then obtained a warrant and searched Keady’s home where he found a receipt book.

Conneely withdrew his complaint a few days after that stating he had been repaid all of his money.

Susan O’Toole was interviewed and she admitted writing the receipt while they were en route to Conneely’s house that night.

The court heard Keady had 34 previous convictions, 20 of which were for similar theft and fraud offences.

Olivia Traynor, who represented Keady, handed a copy of the forged receipt into court.

“Any normal person looking at it would realise it’s not a genuine receipt. In fact, Jack Conneely said to Gardai he knew it was a false receipt when he looked at it,” she said.

Mr Traynor said Keady was a heroin addict who was now on a methadone programme.

Sean Acton, who represented O’Toole, said his client was very remorseful and embarrassed about what happened. The court heard she had no previous convictions.

Judge John King directed the preparation of a probation report on O’Toole and put sentence in her case back to February 22 next.

The Judge said Keady had ‘form’ for theft and fraud offences before sentencing him to six months in prison.

Leave to appeal was granted on condition Keady and O’Toole have no contact with Ms Uí Neachtain and at all times stay away from her home.

Connacht Tribune

Key moves on animal transport get the nod

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MEP Billy Kelleher: Key amendments passed.

LOCAL and national farm representatives have welcomed the adoption of amendments proposed by an Irish MEP in relation to the transportation of live animals across the EU.

The amendments proposed by Munster Fianna Fáil Munster MEP, Billy Kelleher, means less severe restrictions will apply in relation to calf and pregnant animal travel.

In 2020, the European Parliament set up an ANIT (Committee of Inquiry into Animal Transport) to investigate alleged violations of EU animal transport rules.

The Committee concluded that EU provisions in the area of animal transport were not always complied with in member states and did not fully take into account ‘the different needs of animals’.

Last week, MEPs voted by 557 to 55 (78 absentions) supporting new measures to address animal travel issues, including lack of headroom, water and food supplies, animals for travel being transported, and overcrowding.

However, a number of Irish MEPs led by Billy Kelleher proposed two amendments to the proposals, which were accepted in the overall vote in the European Parliament.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Tuam students have warm welcome for Eddie, the Labrador who is already top of the class

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Eddie the dog, Tuam's Mercy Convent newest addition.

A North Galway school has unveiled their newest member – Eddie, the three-year-old Labrador dog.

The new canine recruit works as a therapy, or education, aid for students in Mercy Secondary School, Tuam – and he has already been a huge hit with students.

Scoil Bhride Principal Gearoid Leen has described the dog as an essential part of the learning process within the school.

The pure-bred Labrador is one of just eight community dogs that have been assigned to schools across the country.

This week, the new arrival was introduced to students and parents as part of the learning process. The presence of the dog relaxes students and, apparently, helps with their concentration.

Eddie’s fourth birthday is on March 18, the day after St Patrick’s Day – and, such is his instant popularity, the students have a special celebration in mind.

The newest addition to the secondary school has been trained by the Irish Guide Dogs Association and Eddie, along with his trained handlers Sarah Molloy and Catherine Murphy, now becomes part of the essential learning process within the school.

The Labrador and his handlers work alongside the teachers and educational staff in the school to help reduce stress and increase the learning potential of the students by goal directed interventions.

Together, Eddie and his handlers participate in classroom activities and work with individual students and groups.

Parents have responded positively to the new arriva, saying that more schools should try and apply for the scheme.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Food for the soul

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Chef Martin Ruffley

Lifestyle – Friends Anna King and Martin Ruffley have joined forces to write a unique book based on Martin’s life story. Built around recipes which Martin, a chef and lecturer at GMIT, has created it covers his journey from alcoholism to sobriety and explains how cooking helps him to live in the moment. They tell JUDY MURPHY how it evolved. 

Watching chef Martin Ruffley preparing food was something that intrigued Anna King.

“When he’s cooking, he moves from this hyperactive personality to being peaceful and in the flow. He gives so much of his heart and soul when he’s cooking. It’s a mindful experience,” she says.

As someone whose background is in mindfulness and meditation, with a life-long interest in sustainable food production, Anna was intrigued by how the art of cooking transformed her friend. He agrees.

“When I’m cooking I focus completely on what I’m doing.”

The discussions they’ve had about this and about Martin’s journey from alcoholism to sobriety form the basis of a new book which they’ve co-authored.

Rekindling the Fire: Food and the Journey of Life is Martin’s story, but Anna has brought her writing skills to bear in how the narrative unfolds in this glorious publication, with photos by Julian Dunin and Professor Chaosheng Zhang,

At the heart of the book are Martin’s recipes, grouped together to create seven menus – each forming a chapter.

The first three chapters document his descent into alcoholism and the final four, his life since becoming sober at the age of 44.

But, while it’s listed under the ‘cookery’ genre by booksellers,  this book defies genres. That’s intentional, explains Anna.

“It’s a creative experience and with a view to supporting and helping communities in the way we view alcoholism. Alcoholism isn’t about an individual it’s about people and support and the lack of it.”

“We won’t make a fortune out of it and retire to Italy,” says Martin with a laugh. “That’s not why we’re doing it. If I can help one person who is suffering from addiction, I’ll be happy.”

Anna praises Martin for expressing his vulnerability in the book, while he stresses that, without his trust in her, it wouldn’t have happened.

“I felt such a connection with Martin’s story on many levels,” Anna explains.

And it’s pretty extraordinary.

Born in Bohermore 64 years ago, Martin left school at 13 and trained as a glass-blower at Galway Crystal. When he as was made redundant a few years later, due to the import of cheaper glass, he joined the Army School of Catering and trained as a chef. The Army gave him a good life and he honed his craft during the 21 years in its ranks. He also saw service overseas, with three tours of Lebanon in the 1980s and one in Bosnia in the late 1990s.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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