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CITY TRIBUNE

Heroin dealer jailed for four years

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A dealer was found with almost €20,000 worth of heroin in his car five weeks after he had tried to rob a petrol station at gunpoint.

Chris Goldbey, Fana Burca, Knocknacarra, set fire to the Audi A4 he had used during the attempted armed robbery at Monaghan’s garage on the Tuam Road in the early hours of May 10 last year.

Swabs taken from an imitation ‘Desert Eagle’ 6mm pistol – which was found near the burnt-out car – matched a DNA swab taken from Goldbey following his arrest later that same day.

The 26-year-old, who is currently serving a three-year sentence imposed on him by a court in Dublin last February for drug dealing, appeared before Galway Circuit Criminal Court last week for sentence in relation to the Galway offences.

He had pleaded guilty to having heroin in his possession which was for sale or supply to another at Cappagh Road on Friday, June 23, 2017.

He also pleaded guilty to two charges of attempted robbery at Monaghan’s garage on May 10 last year.

Sentence was adjourned to this week for the preparation of reports on Goldbey and to obtain victim impact statements from two members of staff at Monaghan’s 24-hour filling station.

Detective Gerry Carroll told the hearing Goldbey entered the petrol station shop at 3.27am and pointed a handgun at two male members of staff.

He demanded they hand over money but they refused and told him to “clear off”.

Goldbey left the shop and threw the handgun onto the floor behind the driver’s seat of his black Audi A4 which was parked in the forecourt. He then took out a length of iron bar, believed to be a piece of scaffolding and went back into the shop, where he again threatened both men. They stood firm and refused to hand over any money, telling Goldbey to “clear off” again.

Goldbey fled the scene in the Audi, which was found burnt out near the Menlo Park Hotel, a short distance away.

Det Carroll said Gardai used the registration on the Audi to trace Goldbey, who had recently bought the car.

Det Carroll said both staff members had not been adversely affected by the attempted robberies and were still working in the shop.

He said Goldbey had 76 previous convictions, 42 of which were for road traffic offences. The remainder included ten for burglaries, four for criminal damage, six for thefts, three for drug dealing, two for possession of drugs and the remainder for public order offences.

He said the accused was currently serving a three-year sentence imposed last February in Dublin.

Mr Bernard Madden SC, defending, said the gun was clearly an imitation and the staff in the shop knew that and had not taken his client seriously.

Garda Rob Molloy gave evidence in relation to the separate heroin-dealing charge. He said he stopped a blue Avensis being driven by Goldbey at 12.45am on June 23 last year on the Cappagh Road.

A search of the car revealed a black plastic bag which contained nine bags of heroin weighing almost 140 grams with an estimated street value of €19,474, or €140 per gram.

This offence, he said, occurred five weeks after the attempted robberies at Monaghan’s garage.

Mr Madden said his client had started abusing substances aged 13 and had spent half of his life since then involved in criminality to feed his addictions.

“He was completely ‘off his head’ on drugs when both of these offences occurred. He needs help,” Mr Madden said of his client.

The court heard that Goldbey’s prison release date for the Dublin sentence will be March 2020.

Judge Rory McCabe said Goldbey had been “busy breaking the law for a long number of years” and these recent, serious offences merited lengthy custodial sentences.

He said Goldbey had been referred to the probation service on no less than six occasions by various courts in the past – at the taxpayer’s expense – in an attempt to get him to deal with his addictions but this clearly had not worked.

The judge also noted Goldbey remained at a high risk of reoffending according to the latest probation report before the court.

He said the headline sentence for both the drug-dealing and attempted robbery charges was nine years, before mitigating factors were taken into account.

Goldbey’s early plea was identified as the only mitigating factor and Judge McCabe gave him a third off for that, bringing the sentence down to six years for each offence to run concurrently.

He suspended the final two years of each sentence for five years with the aim that Goldbey come under the supervision of the probation service for 18 months on his release from prison and undertake all rehabilitation and training courses as the service saw fit. He also directed Goldbey be afforded all necessary treatment and counselling for his addictions while in prison.

CITY TRIBUNE

Unselfing with TULCA over the weekend

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TULCA Festival of Visual Arts will present a programme of visual arts events this weekend to celebrate its UnSelfing programme.

UnSelfing is a series of exhibitions, performances and art events that was TULCA’s contribution to Galway 2020’s visual arts programme.

Several TULCA events took place during 2020, but Covid-19 put paid to others. Like every other arts group involved in the European Capital of Culture, the festival had to reimagine its programme.

The result is this weekend’s projects. They include a film commission, a new book and a radio play- podcast.

The World premiere of the film, entitled A Visit, A Ceremony, A Gift airs online this Friday, April 16, at 9pm. Created by artist and philosopher Elisabeth von Samsonow and curator Kate Strain, it involved commissioning work by artists from Ireland and France. The resulting collage of film, sculpture, music, sound and design explores people’s access to nature through poetry. This project has been supported by the French Embassy.

The second project is a new publication being launched on Saturday. XVIII – Stories of TULCA explores 18 years of the festival as well as its UnSelfing programme.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Small shops fight back in store wars

Dara Bradley

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Caroline McCarthy

A popular city boutique has threatened to re-open in breach of Covid-19 restrictions – to highlight the unfairness of supermarkets selling so-called ‘non-essential’ goods.

The proprietor of Lanidor on Eyre Street said she is ‘taking a stand’, and has urged all retailers to follow suit, unless the authorities crack-down on those bending the rules.

“This stuff about ‘oh we’re all in it together’ is a load of rubbish,” fumed Caroline McCarthy, who said the multiples were ignoring restrictions while independent retailers remain shuttered.

She said all non-essential retail should be open, or none, but the current situation was “discriminatory”.

“I’ve had it at this stage. I’ve lost it. I can’t put up with this anymore. On a point of principle and on a practical level, someone has to do something about it. It’s not that we want to open.

“We have adhered to every single one of the regulations. But we are making a stand now. We will go ahead and open, at a date to be announced, if they are not shut down. And we would call on retailers across the country to do the same,” she said.

Under public health guidelines only ‘essential’ retail outlets are permitted to open. They are not permitted to sell ‘non-essential’ goods during Level 5. This is to stop people congregating and browsing in order to limit the spread of the virus.

But large retailers such as Dunnes Stores and Marks and Spencer stand accused of selling ‘non-essential’ clothing during the pandemic, even though clothes shops should be closed.

Galway Gardaí visited stores last weekend on foot of a complaint.

A spokesperson for M&S said it was following the guidelines but the tills in its Galway store’s clothing section was staffed on Saturday.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Darragh recalls grandparents in ‘Tilly and the Postmaster’

Declan Tierney

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Darragh O'Dea.

By Declan Tierney

An album that was two years in the making and is in memory of the singer’s grandparents will be released shortly . . . and even before its release, Darragh O’Dea’s album already proving hugely popular with his loyal following.

The paternal grandparents of the accomplished Tuam singer and songwriter passed away in the past year, so he decided name the album he was making in their honour.

Darragh has performed with local bands The Coonics and Ralphs over the years, but this is his first full-length solo album. He’s funding it via the website Kickstarter and the pre-release sales have been incredibly encouraging.

It’s entitled Tilly and the Postmaster to celebrate the lives of Tilly who died in January of this year and her husband of 63 years, Neil O’Dea, who was laid to rest in May 2020.

Neil, the father of Galway footballers Jimmy, Conor and Padraic O’Dea, was the retired Postmaster in Tuam and a prominent member of the town’s GAA club.

Darragh, a born songwriter, explained he wanted to remember his late grandparents at what was a difficult time for the whole family.

His father Sean O’Dea, a member of Tuam Golf Club, is the elder statesman of the family but one who is incredibly proud of his son and mentions Darragh’s musical skills at every opportunity. His mother Carmel is an avid walker.

In a reversal of current trends, Darragh’s new album is being released on old-fashioned vinyl and CD as well as online. He has also produced a limited-edition t-shirt in conjunction with the album for those who have supported his Kickstarter campaign.

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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