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High-speed biker is jailed after nearly killing student

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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.

CITY TRIBUNE

Residents call in the clampers to sort problem parking

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Residents in a Salthill estate have become tired of illegal parking outside their homes – and hired private clampers as a deterrent.

People living in Seamount off Threadneedle Road near Blackrock said they have been plagued by extra traffic and vehicles parking outside their homes, blocking access, during the latest Covid lockdown.

They said that since Galway City Council closed off the Prom to car parking, and closed the two public carparks, the cars have just migrated to Threadneedle Road and their estate.

Seamount is a private estate and the road has not been taken in charge by the Council. The residents have clubbed together and hired a clamping company, which will erect signs in the coming days and begin clamping illegally parked cars from next week.

Residents said they are also concerned that cars parked on Threadneedle Road are making it more difficult for buses to pass, and cause congestion.

A residents’ spokesperson said: “Since the lockdown, they closed off the Prom and closed off Salthill car park but people are still using the Prom and swimming off Blackrock. I have huge admiration for the swimmers, I do it myself when it’s warmer. But what’s happening is they park on both sides of Threadneedle Road, because there’re no yellow lines on either side of it and it’s not wide enough for cars to be parked either side of it, so buses are getting stuck.”
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

NUIG President’s upset at Covid breaches on campus

Enda Cunningham

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – “I work in the hospital and we have had a really awful six weeks. We have nowhere to sit down and have our breaks. We are exhausted and would long to see family and friends. To see public health guidelines [being flouted] on NUIG property is a kick in the teeth.”

These are the words of an angry and frustrated healthcare worker at University Hospital Galway in a message sent to the head of NUIG.

President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh told students and staff at the university this week that he found it “deeply frustrating” that some students were flouting public health guidelines.

The HSE has confirmed that there were at least 441 cases of Covid in the city’s 18-24 age group – which has affected 224 households – in the past three weeks.

“Our neighbours contacted me expressing their upset at what they see as activities by our students that do not respect the health and safety of the community at large. People who work in the health service, people who have lost friends and relations to Covid-19. I share their upset.

“I was struck, for example, by one particularly heartfelt message from a local healthcare worker and campus user who shared their frustration with me last week on seeing groups congregating and socialising on campus grounds and which they agreed we could share,” Prof Ó hÓgartaigh said.

The head of the university shared the message in an email to students and staff this week, adding that students had expressed frustration that study spaces were not open on campus and at the challenges posed by the constricted spaces in which they study.

NUIG confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it had imposed sanctions on a number of students in relation to Covid breaches, while there have been none at GMIT.
This is a brief 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

Principals band together for safer cycling infrastructure

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A total of 28 Galway City school principals have signed an open letter to the Minister for Transport and local councillors highlighting the need for safer cycling infrastructure around schools, to encourage students and staff to switch to bikes.

The push by Government to cycle or walk where possible during the pandemic has its limitations in a city where cycle lanes are rare and parents are too afraid to let their children cycle on narrow roads often choked with traffic.

A group of cycling enthusiasts in city schools has been campaigning to encourage the school community to engage with Galway City Council’s public consultation process for the next development plan which will have a key role in deciding whether cycling lanes or off-road cycle routes become a reality.

The first stage of the initial consultation process for the ‘City Development Plan 2023-2029, Your City, Your Future’ closes today (Friday). But the process will continue for two more years with more consultation encouraged once the draft plan is published.

This week a letter from 28 principals sent to councillors called for support for the provision of better cycle infrastructure in and around all schools. It has also been sent to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan and Galway West TD and Minister of State at Cabinet, Hildegarde Naughton.

“It is our view that existing road infrastructure around schools can be unsafe for children, teachers, and families who wish to cycle to school and we would like to encourage the development safe cycling routes in the future,” the letter states.

Principal of Coláiste na Coiribe, Eoghan Ó Ceallaigh, said it was important for the school community to get involved with the public consultation.

(Photo: Last year, the Council introduced a ‘School Streets’ pilot scheme at Scoil Iognáid, which bans cans during certain times, encouraging parents and children to walk or cycle. Schools now want proper cycling infrastructure put in place).
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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