Gardaí were waiting for an Aran Island man as he alighted a bus from Dublin at Galway Coach Station with over €4,000 worth of heroin while armed with a knife.
Colm Joyce (45), a native of Kilronan, Inis Mór pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court last July to having 27.591 grams of heroin in his possession at Bus Aras, Ceannt Station, Galway, on July 3 last year for sale or supply to another.
He pleaded guilty also to having a flick knife in his possession on the same date.
Garda Tom Doyle gave evidence at the sentence hearing last Friday that Gardaí apprehended the accused as he alighted a bus from Dublin at 2a.m. at Galway Coach Station and took him to Galway Garda Station where he was searched.
Joyce denied the heroin found on him was intended for sale and he claimed he carried the knife because he was a fisherman.
Det. Doyle said messages on Joyce’s mobile phone suggested he was a drug dealer as there were various messages on it involving deals with drug dealers.
The value of the heroin, he said, was €4,138. Joyce told Gardaí he had paid €1,000 for the drug himself.
Det. Doyle confirmed Joyce had worked as a fisherman and was a native of Kilronan where he was currently residing.
At the time of his arrest Joyce was using heroin himself and he had 21 previous convictions with some of those for drugs offences, Det Doyle added.
The most recent, he said, was last October when Joyce received a nine-month sentence for drug dealing and a three-month sentence for possession of drugs. The offence date was August last year and those two sentences were currently under appeal.
The other previous convictions included ones for drug dealing in 2008, assaults, drink driving, possession of drugs and criminal damage.
Defence barrister, Brendan Browne said Joyce was a chronic heroin addict. He was in debt at the time of this offence and was going to use some of the proceeds from the sale of the heroin to pay his debts and keep some for himself.
Det. Doyle confirmed Joyce was a heroin addict and had looked very unhealthy at the time. “He looks a little better this morning,” Det. Doyle observed.
Mr Browne said Joyce had made several attempts in the past to rehabilitate but had always “fallen off the wagon”.
He said Joyce was now clear of drugs for the last eight months and for the first time in his life he was now in a position to face his drug addiction and would be attending a residential treatment programme in eight weeks’ time, subject to a successful assessment in Cuain Mhuire.
Mr Browne said Joyce had been away fishing for the previous two weeks but he was attending a counsellor weekly to address his addiction issues.
Judge Karen O’Connor said she wanted written confirmation from Joyce regarding the counselling and the treatment course he was proposing to attend and she adjourned sentence to this coming Friday’s court for him to provide the necessary proofs to the court.
A Moycullen win would add badly needed spice to football’s big day
Inside Track with John McIntyre
BEFORE a ball was kicked in this year’s Galway senior championship, the smart money would have been on champions Corofin, Tuam Stars, Salthill/Knocknacarra and Mountbellew/Moylough making it to the semi-finals if they managed to keep out of each other’s way on the road to the penultimate stage off the title race.
Unfortunately, for a Salthill team which, in any event, didn’t scale their expected heights this year, they came up against the champions in the quarter-finals where the Seasiders’ challenge was dismissed in convincing fashion. It was business as usual for Corofin who remain odds on to claim a record-breaking eighth consecutive title.
With Tuam Stars edging out Bearna after extra-time, a Paul Kelly goal helping Moycullen get the better of St James’, and Mountbellew/Moylough powering home against 14-man Killannin, it means that three of last year’s semi-finalists are back seeking a place in the Galway decider this weekend. Mountbellew/Moylough are the odd ones out having fallen to Corofin in the 2019 quarter-finals.
Val Daly’s troops will need the performance of the lives to overturn club’s football’s dominant power, especially as they continue to field without county player John Daly – a son of their manager. Of course, they are not without a chance and if the likes of Michael Daly, Matthew Barrett, Eoin Finnerty, Eoin Ryan and Barry McHugh hit the ground running, they could give Corofin a searching time.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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Greens see red on gold rush
Opposition is intensifying to the prospect of a licence being awarded to Canadian gold prospectors planning to explore the heart of Connemara.
Environmental campaigners have warned of the dangers of awarding a prospecting licence to Toronto-based MOAG to mine for gold and silver in land around Roundstone, Ballyconneely and Ballynahinch.
They claim the exploration could devastate water supplies, tourism, wildlife – and also led to tensions in the local community.
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton has indicated he intends to grant a prospecting licence to the company to explore for the valuable minerals in townlands in Ballynahinch Barony.
The licence allows the holder to explore for mineral deposits, and does not authorise mining of any materials that are found – that requires further licensing.
And Minister Bruton’s Department insists that the activities permitted under this licence are “non-invasive” and “of minimal environmental impact”.
However, campaigners have warned of the dangers mining can have on Connemara, and have urged the public to object before July 6.
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Controversial Ballinasloe landfill prepares for closure
The Galway dump that forced householders to close their windows during the hottest of summers will take in waste for the last time during the middle of this year.
The pong the emanated from the landfill site in Kilconnell will be no more as it will cease accepting waste by the end of June next year.
Ballinasloe area councillors were told how Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site following the liquidation of the former operators Greenstar.
The Council agreed to accept 300,000 tons of municipal waste over a three-year period and this will come to an end by the middle of next year, after which the dump will be capped and closed the following year.
Director of Services Jim Cullen informed a meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council that following the closure of the dump, there would be long term care of the site to ensure that there would be no adverse environmental issues.
When Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site, an allocation of €300,000 was provided by the Department of the Environment for local projects.
Of this, €120,000 has been given to the area engineer to spend at his discretion and the remaining €180,000 has been dispersed equally among the six Ballinasloe councillors – resulting in each getting €30,000 to spend on projects in their area.
It is expected that a further €300,000 will be allocated to organisations within a certain radius of the landfill site and a committee made up of Cllr Aidan Donohue (FG), Cllr Dermot Connolly (SF) and Cllr Timmy Broderick (Ind) to decide how this fund will be dispersed.
For years, the dump in Kilconnell caused annoyance for local residents because of the smells emanating from the site and many householders say that it is still a major problem.
Cllr Michael Finnerty warned about the possibility of a run-off of leachate – a liquid that drains from landfill sites that can cause pollution – from the site into the future.
He said that he attended a meeting in Ballinasloe in which residents expressed concern about a leachate run-off from the old dump in Poolboy which has been closed down for years.
He was assured by Mr Cullen that the situation in Poolboy was being continually monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency but he would investigate these claims.
With regard to the closure of the dump in Kilconnell, Cllr Aidan Donohue said that he was not convinced about the ongoing maintenance of the site into the future.
He said when the landfill site in New Inn was closed many years ago, the Council just walked away and left the site in an unacceptable state.
The Fine Gael councillor was referring to suggestions that the Kilconnell site might have future potential and may be an asset but he cited what happened in New Inn when he said that it was just abandoned.