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CITY TRIBUNE

Heroin addict pushed man into the freezing canal

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A heroin addict took umbrage at a Christmas reveller he saw urinating into the canal and pushed him head first into the freezing water.

Hamdan Ariffin (33), with former addresses in Fairlands Avenue and Lower Fairhill Road, “forcefully” pushed the 37-year-old stranger into the canal at Bruach na Coiribe, off Bridge Street,  at 3.10am on December 30 last, Sergeant Georgina Lohan told Galway District Court.

The victim had been out socialising and was walking along Bridge Street with friends when he decided to turn into Bruach na Coiribe to urinate.

“The defendant approached him and forcefully pushed him into the canal.  He was not a good swimmer and a friend had to pull him out.

“The victim went head first into the canal and lost his prescription glasses which cost €190,” Sgt Lohan explained to the court.

Gardai arrested Ariffin a short time later in Dominick Street and he was subsequently charged with assaulting the man (by pushing him into the canal), with causing criminal damage to his glasses, with breaching the peace and with being intoxicated in a public place.

He pleaded guilty to the charges and also to a separate charge of being found in possession of €25 worth of heroin at Woodquay last October.

Judge Mary Fahy said she was shocked and horrified to think that someone would do such a thing to another person.

Defence solicitor, Brian Gilmartin said his client’s reply when charged –  “I pushed him because he was pissing in the river” – explained his state of mind at the time.

He said Ariffin was battling a serious drug addiction and was currently serving a seven-month sentence for drug dealing.

Judge Fahy said the victim could have drowned, particularly as he had been out socialising and was not a good swimmer and she asked if he was in court as she would like to speak to him.

Sgt. Lohan said the man had told Gardai he did not wish to come to court.

The judge said the maximum sentence the court could impose for the assault charge was six months but given Ariffin’s plea, she said the appropriate sentence was five months,.

“I would imagine a lay person reading this would think it’s too lenient, but we (judges) are bound to work within the confines of the law. I feel I have to explain that,” she said.

The sentence, she added, is to be served consecutively to the sentence Ariffin is already serving.

Judge Fahy imposed a consecutive four-month sentence for the loss of the victim’s glasses, but suspended it for two years to act, she said, as an incentive for Ariffin to turn his life around.

The sentence was suspended on condition he be of good behaviour and not reoffend and link in with the probation service 48 hours prior to his release from prison.

Two concurrent one-month sentences were imposed on him for breaching the peace and having the heroin in his possession while the remaining charge was taken into account.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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