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Heroin dealer ‘catapulted’ by gang into Galway

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Another Lithuanian drug dealer who was “catapulted” into Galway to sell heroin for a criminal gang, has been given the maximum sentence of six months for obstructing Gardai by swallowing bags of heroin as they went to search him.

Judge Mary Fahy said that Robert Turkovski (24), with an address at 21 Sylvan Avenue, Fairlands Park, Newcastle, was “just one more, catapulted into Galway to do the needful for someone else.”

The above rental address made headlines last week then Judge Fahy likened the house to a type of Lithuanian Embassy for known drug dealers.

Turkovski pleaded not guilty to obstructing Garda Noel McNulty at Riverside, Tuam Road, on January 19 last.

The accused had only been in Galway for two weeks and had already come to Garda attention during his first week here when he and another man were searched by Gardaí.

Nothing was found on them on that occasion, but the court heard evidence on Monday from Garda McNulty that on January 19, he and Garda Cathal Rodgers were carrying out surveillance at a known heroin-dealing area in Riverside when they observed Turkovski standing in a green area.  He was being approached by known heroin users at the time.

Garda McNulty said he and Garda Rodgers approached Turkovski and told him they were Gardaí and wanted to search him.

Garda McNulty said he saw Turkovski place bags of heroin in his mouth. He refused to spit them out and swallowed them.

He said the accused became aggressive and resisted arrest and had to be pepper-sprayed before being taken to Galway Garda Station where he was subsequently charged.

He said Gardai were aware this particular area is used by well-known heroin users and that a Lithuanian drugs gang are operating in this area.

Garda Rodgers said he had stopped and searched Turkovski the week before and the accused knew very well he and Garda McNulty were Gardaí

Turkovski gave evidence with the aid of a Lithuanian interpreter that he was not aware the men who approached him were Gardaí.  He denied he had placed anything in his mouth.

He claimed the Gardaí had used force to arrest him and he had gone to that area to buy some “weed” for himself but could not find the person he was looking for.

In reply to Insp Brendan Carroll, Turkovski denied he was a drug dealer and said he didn’t recognise Garda Rodgers because it was dark at the time and he had been pepper-sprayed in the eyes.

In reply to Judge Fahy, he said people in 21 Sylvan Avenue had given him a number and told him he could buy drugs in that area.

“Your address is 21 Sylvan Avenue.  That is the address given in this court by all the people who appear in court for obstruction of Gardai and for the sale of drugs.  Were you a tenant there?,” she asked.

“Not for long.  I was only two weeks in Galway,” Turkovski replied through the interpreter.

Judge Fahy remarked: “That figures. Now he was in the city two weeks.  He had been Dublin before that. Obviously, he is one of the ones catapulted into Galway do the needful for someone else.  I do not accept his evidence.  It doesn’t add up.” J

She convicted Turkovski and imposed the maximum six-month sentence for obstruction of a Garda.

Leave to appeal was granted on condition the accused provide a residential address to the State and give 48 hours’ notice of the proposed address and proposed independent surety.  He is to stay away from the Riverside area and NUIG campus and all of its buildings and environs pending any such appeal.

CITY TRIBUNE

Bikers do their bit to mark anniversary of blood service

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The Blood Bike team and supporters with the charity’ s newest motorbike, Cara, during the fundraising day at the Galway Plaza. Pictured are (from left) John Moylan, Bridie Lyons (Fundraising Manager), Sean Griffin, Fergus Turner, James Treacy, Pat McDonagh, Dave O'Leary (Chairperson), Ronan Kane (Fleet Manager), and Sergio Massidda.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of Blood Bike West, and the big birthday was marked in style with a sun-drenched afternoon at Galway Plaza’s Bike Fest West.

Galway stuntman Mattie Griffin was the headline attraction; there was face painting, games, plenty of ice-cream – and hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts and families.

The birthday celebrations kicked off with a 160-strong motorcycle spin around the Galway countryside, raising well-needed funds for the volunteering efforts of Blood Bike West.

As a 100% volunteer-run and funded organisation, donations are vitally important for Blood Bike West to continue operating their medical transport in the West of Ireland.

Since its inception in 2012, demand for their volunteers’ services continues to grow:  collecting and delivering all manner of urgent medical items regionally and nationally, such as bloods, breast milk, medicines, scans, and equipment.

In 2021 alone, Blood Bike West delivered 983 urgent medical deliveries throughout the country.

As part of Galway City Councils Community, Blood Bike West undertook to operate a 24/7 service, including 165 medication deliveries from pharmacies to the self-isolating and vulnerable during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Since Blood Bike West’s inception in 2012, this increase sees the ongoing need to replace and renew their fleet of motorcycles.

Their motorbikes, Madison, Heather, Margaret, and newly inaugurated bike Cara, are regularly seen on Galway roads, delivering consignments to and from local and regional hospitals.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Park fun to mark Africa Day

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Pam Mncube-Zoki of Africa United Galway, speaking at the National Integration Conference at NUI Galway last week. The group are co-organisers of Africa Day which takes place in Salthill Park on May 28. Photo:xposure

On Saturday next (May 28) in Salthill Park, Galway’s African community invites people to join them in a celebration of culture as part of the national Africa Day celebrations.

Africa United Galway, emerging from lockdown and having hosted online festivals for the past two years, will be delivering a family fun day event.

Africa Day 2022 will reinforce a collaboration between Africa United Galway and Galway Africa Diaspora, Shining Light Galway and GoCom Radio (broadcasting live), who have worked to create a festival that will showcase Galway as a city of culture.

Among the performances on the day will be Afrobeat dancer Lapree Lala of Southside Moves, who will show how to dance in African style; Elikya Band will be bringing indigenous African Congolese music; The Youth Performances will be displaying their talent in rap, singing, speaking, and dancing and for the young at heart.

Galway Afrobeat performer Dave Kody will get the crowd moving and there will be poetry through spoken word and cultural displays. There will be a photo booth and face painting and everyone will get to have a taste of African cuisines.

In the spirit of inclusion and integration, The St Nicholas Collegiate Church Parish Choir will be presenting a special African performance as well as a feature presentation by the Hession School of Irish Dance, who will be presenting the famous Riverdance.

Also organised is a football friendly between the African community and An Garda Siochana.

The Mayor, Colette Connolly, will officially be opening the event with a keynote speech and several African Ambassadors are expected to be present on the day to reinforce the culture, beauty and strength of Africa and support for its people.

Africa Day is sponsored by Irish Aid and supported by Galway City Council.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Domestic Violence Response recorded highest number of clients in 24 years under Covid ‘shadow’

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At the launch of the Domestic Violence Response (DVR) Annual Report were Rachel Doyle and Elizabeth Power of DVR, Deputy Catherine Connolly and Anne Reynolds. Photos Sean Lydon

BY TIFFANY GREENWALDT-SIMON

A domestic violence support charity in Galway has recorded its highest number of clients in 24 years – “under the shadow” of Covid-19.

Domestic Violence Response (DVR), which is based in Moycullen, also reported its highest level of counselling support sessions in its 2021 annual report published last week.

The charity saw 136 new clients in 2021, and a total of 266 people utilised its services. It also saw a significant increase of return service users.

The support service also provided 51 nights of emergency accommodation through a partnership between Airbnb, Safe Ireland, and Women’s Aid.

Elizabeth Power, Coordinator of DVR Galway, said: “Our 2021 annual report highlights the stark reality of the level of domestic violence in Galway. Under the shadow of Covid-19, DVR recorded the highest number of clients in our 24-year history and delivered the highest number of support services.

“Our staff noted increases in the level of worrying and harrowing experiences of control and abuse. The trauma of these experiences will live with our service users long after Covid-19 fades into memory.

“While Covid-19 restrictions are behind us, domestic violence continues to be present in hundreds of homes throughout Galway.

“As we move through 2022, we will continue to provide our much-needed services to women and men throughout Galway, with an extensive counselling support and advocacy service and a number of new initiatives including a partnership with the HSE which will be launched in the coming months.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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