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High-speed biker is jailed after nearly killing student



A motorcyclist, who fled from Gardaí through residential areas at high speed, was jailed for 13 months at Galway District Court.

In imposing the lengthy term, Judge Mary Fahy was taking into account that the defendant was already disqualified, and had chosen to ignore the court order.

“If he had killed someone that day, it would be the courts and the Gardai that would be blamed, as usual,” she observed.

Marcin Lewandowski (28), with an address at McGrill’s Apartments, Moyvilla, Oranmore, pleaded guilty to numerous counts of dangerous driving on the evening of March 9 last.

Garda Conor Barrett told the court that he was on patrol on the Coast Road in Oranmore when a motorcyclist passed the car out.

“We followed, and indicated for the driver to stop, but he failed to do so,” he said.

The court heard that Lewandowski proceeded at speed onto the Dublin Road, along Ballybane Road where he drove on the wrong side of the road and narrowly avoided a fatality.

“It was a Sunday evening, students were coming back for college, and a young female was crossing the road – he nearly collided with her,” the Garda added.

“On the Tuam Road he went through a red light at speed, on the N17 he again failed to stop, and turned off Ballintemple side road, driving down it at very high speed. There were numerous people out walking.”

When Lewandowski’s bike eventually came to a halt he was arrested and charged with dangerous driving.

The court heard that the defendant had 16 previous convictions for the same offence, arising from one incident, which had landed him with a lengthy disqualification.

His solicitor, Tomás McHale, said that his client was a mechanic, and had been in Ireland for five years. He said that the disqualification “caused him to take the action.”

He acknowledged that his client’s behaviour was entirely inappropriate, and that he had put both himself and innocent people in danger.

There was little that he could say, however, that would change Judge Fahy’s view of him.

“His record is so appalling, I’m flabbergasted,” she said.

“This disqualification order had no effect on him whatsoever, it just happened that he was detected on that day.

“He was working as a mechanic, while disqualified for 15 years – the only way he could have been doing that was by disregarding the order. He didn’t appeal the order, he just ignored it and carried on regardless.”

For the matter at Ballybane Road, which Garda Barrett said was the most serious incident, she imposed a five month sentence. He was further sentenced to five months for driving while disqualified, and three months for having no insurance.

Recognisances were fixed, in the event of an appeal, on his own surety of €800, and an independent surety of €800. The condition of which is that he does not drive any MPV pending completion of the case.


Councillors back bid to ban city centre parking in Galway



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors have unanimously agreed to ask Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to limit parking to residents only in the city centre.

Pedestrians in the city are being treated like second-class citizens, according to the Mayor, who said cars continued to get the priority on Galway’s streets.

At a meeting of the City Council this week, Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) said the city had come to a standstill in car traffic, and pedestrians and cyclists were suffering the consequences.

“At junctions, why am I a second-class citizen in my own city as a pedestrian? It rains in Galway for 300 days of the year, but I am a second-class citizen when priority is given to motorists.

“It’s always the pedestrian that waits,” she said, hitting out at the length it took to get a green light to cross at pedestrian crossings.

One way to reduce the number of cars in the city centre would be to limit parking to residents only in the city centre, said the Mayor.

In a motion she proposed, seconded by Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind), councillors unanimously agreed to write to the Minister for Transport to demand he pass the necessary legislation to enable the Council to do this.

The Mayor said residents were “sick, sore and tired” of people parking where they wanted when they visited the city and said despite a desire to introduce this measure going back almost 20 years, the Council was hamstrung by national legislation that prevented them from proceeding.

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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Planners approve homes for ‘cuckoo fund’ investor



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The green light has been given for the construction of 345 apartments at the Crown Square site in Mervue – the majority of which will be put on the rental market and operated by a ‘cuckoo fund’ for a minimum of fifteen years.

Crown Square Developments, which is owned by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has secured permission from An Bord Pleanála for the ‘Build to Rent’ development, with four blocks ranging ranging from four to nine storeys in height.

There will also be a neighbourhood facility with a gym, a primary care medical centre with pharmacy, a ‘working from home’ lounge, six shops, a games room and a creche.

There will be 240 two-bed apartments, 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds, all of which will be specifically for the rental market and not available to purchase.

A breakdown of the apartments shows there will be 240 two-beds; 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds.

To meet social housing requirements, the developer plans to transfer 35 of the apartments (20 two-bed, 10 one-bed and 5 three-bed) to Galway City Council.

A total of 138 car-parking spaces have been allocated on the lower basement levels of Crown Square for residents, along with shared access to another 109 spaces and another 13 for use by a ‘car club’. There will be 796 secure bicycle parking spaces to serve the apartments.

The Board has ordered that the apartments can only be used as long-term rentals, and none can be used for short-term lettings.

Under ‘Build to Rent’ guidelines, the development must be owned and operated by an institutional entity for a minimum period of 15 years and “where no individual residential units shall be sold separately for that period”. The 15-year period starts from the date of occupation of the first residential unit.

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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Councillors divided over vote on Salthill Prom cycleway



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to install a temporary two-way cycle lane along Salthill Promenade hangs in the balance, with city councillors split ahead of a vote next week.

On Monday night, the 18 city councillors will discuss Mayor Colette Connolly’s motion that the lane be installed on the coastal side of the road from Blackrock to a point opposite Galway Business School.

A poll of the councillors carried out by the Galway City Tribune yesterday found nine in favour of the proposal, with one indicating they will abstain. A simple majority is required and if there is a 9-9 split, the Mayor holds a ‘casting’ vote, effectively a second vote.

There has been a flurry of lobbying by cycling campaigners urging councillors to vote in favour, as well as some complaints from residents worried it will again impinge on their parking as visitors to Salthill seek somewhere to park up while they swim or walk along the most utilised resource the city has.

During lockdown, Gardaí removed parking on the Prom to deter people from gathering in a public space. This resulted in motorists blocking driveways and entering private estates, leading one estate off Threadneedle Road to hire a private clamping company.

Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) believes there are a maximum of 250 spaces that would be lost to the project on one side of the road as currently proposed, including seven disabled spaces, which could be reassigned close by.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the issue and to see how each councillor intends to vote, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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