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Connacht Tribune

Hit-and-run drink driver jailed for nine months

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A 27-year-old Connemara motorist will serve nine months of a two-year sentence for causing serious injuries to a pedestrian who was struck from behind while walking on a footpath.

Liam Ó Maille, from Maumeen, Lettermore, pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court last May to a charge of dangerous driving causing serious injury to Raymond Byrne, at Bothar Buí, Carraroe, in the early hours of July 11, 2016. Sentence was adjourned to last week’s court for the preparation of reports.

Sergeant Maria Flaherty told the hearing Mr Byrne (31), who is from Wicklow, was attending an Irish school in the area when the incident occurred.

He had been at a local night-club with friends and was walking back along the footpath to his accommodation in the early hours of the morning when he was struck from behind by a car driven by Ó Maille, then aged 25.

The collision occurred just outside a nursing home and adjacent ambulance centre and was captured on CCTV cameras.

Sgt. Flaherty said Ó Maille had been at the night-club too and had driven just 300 metres before mounting the footpath and hitting the pedestrian from behind.

He admitted being in two local pubs with friends since 2pm the preceding day, and had consumed six cans of Bulmers in the pubs followed by one vodka and orange in the night-club.

He had stopped his car ten metres from the point of impact and gone back to check the pedestrian. His car blocked the entrance to the ambulance centre and personnel, who had come out to help the victim, asked him to move his car.

He did so, but kept driving away from the scene, stopping a short distance up the road where he had a view of what was happening.

Mr Byrne sustained fractures to his spine, leg and foot and was removed to hospital by ambulance.

He told the court he sustained life-changing injuries and had been in hospital for two weeks. He spent six weeks in a wheelchair and attended the fracture clinic on his return to Dublin. He continues to need ongoing treatments, he added.

An appeal on local radio the next morning for the driver to come forward, prompted Ó Maille to confide in his mother. She contacted Gardaí and her son made full admissions when questioned by Sgt Flaherty.

She confirmed he was a hardworking young man with no previous convictions, who came from a very good family and she believed his remorse was genuine.

Two local men gave evidence in support of Ó Maille’s excellent sporting and work ethic in the local community.

Judge Brian O’Callaghan said it was a very difficult case but he noted a car is a weapon which becomes a loose cannon when in the control of a person who has consumed large quantities of alcohol.

Taking the excellent character references put before the court, along with a letter from Ó Maille’s GP into account, the judge said the appropriate sentence in the circumstances was two years in prison with the final 15 months suspended for two years.  He also disqualified Ó Maille from driving for five years.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer

Denise McNamara

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Ninety-five year old Margaret Kenny was first person to be administered the Covid-19 vaccination Practice Nurse Deirdre Furey at the Surgery Athenry.

On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.

Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.

While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.

“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.

“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”

Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!

Denise McNamara

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Linda Hughes, presenting the RTÉ weather forecast live in studio.

Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.

But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.

The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.

She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.

The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.

“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.

“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”

Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Quinn...back home after an incredible few months.

Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.

But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.

The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.

To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.

“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.

But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.

Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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