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Heroin dealer caught in the act remanded on bail

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A heroin dealer and addict who was caught red-handed in a car with nearly €2,000 worth of the drug, is finding it difficult to kick the habit himself and faces sentence next month if he does not get himself ‘clean’ of the drug by then.

Keith Morkan (44), of 5 St Brendan’s Avenue, Woodquay, pleaded guilty before Galway District Court last February to having €1,900 worth of heroin in his possession for sale or supply to others when searched at Galway Garda Station on August 22, 2013.

Morkan was in a car with two other known drug users when it was stopped by Gardai and searched. He admitted straight away he had the heroin to sell to the others.

Defence solicitor, Sean Acton, told the court in February that Morkan had a chronic heroin addiction for eight years and was one of the first intravenous heroin and crack cocaine users in Galway, ingesting €100 worth of the drugs every day.

The father of one developed numerous abscesses, before deciding to get ‘clean’ and was on a methadone treatment programme and doing quite well with the help of the relevant HSE services, Mr Acton told the court in February.

A HSE report confirming that was handed into court at the time.

Reading the report, Judge Denis McLoughlin said Morkan appeared to be making quite considerable progress and he was delighted for him because the way he had been going would not have had a happy ending.

The judge said he was aware that people on methadone could do community service.

The judge remanded him on bail to April 15 to give the probation service time to assess his suitability to carry out community service. If deemed suitable, the Judge directed Morkan carry out the maximum of 240 hours of community service in lieu of a 10-month prison sentence.

The matter was further adjourned in April to last week’s court, as Morkan continued to struggle with the rehabilitation process.

Mr Acton told Judge Mary Fahy last week that according to an up-to-date report from the HSE, Morkan needed to stabilise before the matter could be finalised.

Judge Fahy warned Mr Acton that his client was on his last chance until July and that if he was deemed unsuitable then by the probation service, either she or Judge McLoughlin would deal with sentence.

She then remanded Morkan on continuing bail to July 8 for an up-to-date HSE report.

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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