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Home CCTV system catches burglar in the act



Home security cameras captured a burglar, who has 91 previous convictions, using a crowbar to try and break into a house in broad daylight.

Thomas Sweeney (36), from 214 Castlepark, Ballybane, appeared in custody before Galway District Court as he is already serving a total of 17 months in prison for other offences.

He pleaded guilty to new charges of burglary at an unoccupied home at The Orchard, Kingston, Galway on the afternoon of November 27 last year and to a separate charge of handling almost €4,000 worth of copper cable, knowing it was stolen, at Ballybane Beg two days later on November 29.

Sweeney also pleaded guilty to smashing a window in a woman’s car which was parked at Liosban Industrial Estate and to stealing vouchers from the car and €80 cash at around 1pm on October 23, 2016.

Sergeant Georgina Lohan said CCTV cameras at the house at The Orchard in Kingston, captured clear images of Sweeney trying to break in at 2pm in the afternoon.

Sweeney tried in vain to force the front door open with a crowbar.  He went around to a side window but the fled the scene a short time later when he activated the house alarm while trying to open the window with the crowbar.

Two days later, Sweeney was caught red-handed loading stolen cable into the back of a van.

Sgt Lohan said the cable was rendered useless as it had been cut into short lengths so that it would fit inside the van.

She said that in relation to the theft of the vouchers, a woman had parked her car at Liosban at 1pm and gone about her business.  She returned a short time later to find the passenger’s window had been smashed in and there was a rock on the seat inside.

Her handbag, which contained €250 worth of vouchers and cash had been taken.

Blood found at the scene matched Sweeney’s DNA profile.

Defence solicitor, Valerie Corcoran, said her client was heavily addicted to drugs at the time and wanted to apologise to his family and the victims of his crimes.

Sergeant Lohan said Sweeney had 91 previous convictions, including some for other burglaries and thefts.

Noting Sweeney was already serving a 17-month sentence, Judge Fahy said the District Court’s jurisdiction was 24 months and she could not impose further sentences that would exceed that.

She said the burglary at the house in Kingston was the most serious offence as it was a family home which had been deliberately targeted by Sweeney who lived on the other side of the city.

She imposed a six-month sentence for that which is to be served on the termination of the sentences Sweeney is currently serving.

The judge imposed concurrent three-month and two-month sentences for the remaining charges, explaining that Sweeney’s sentences were now at 23 months and he had to be given some credit for pleading guilty.


Galway City Council Chief asked to intervene after Kirwan junction ‘near misses’



From the Galway City Tribune – Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, has been urged to intervene and instigate a review of the controversial changeover of Kirwan roundabout to a traffic light junction.

A relative of the Collins’ family, who operate a B&B on Headford Road, has pleaded with Mr McGrath to act to make it safe to enter and exit this house.

Joseph Murphy, from County Galway but living in England, a relative of the owners of the B&B located on the N84 side of the Headford Road, has warned of the potential for a serious collision at that junction.  He wrote to Mr McGrath, and copied all city councillors including Mayor of Galway, Clodagh Higgins (FG), seeking a review of the junction and in particular access to the B&B. Mr Murphy said he has been driving for forty years but this junction was “one of the most difficult and complicated traffic light junctions I have ever experienced”.

The CCTV shows a van stopping in the junction to give way to pedestrians before entering the B&B.

He said he wrote the letter because he nearly had a serious accident, due to no fault of his, when leaving the residence.

An amber traffic lights system is in place at the house, since the junction changeover last year, which is supposed to help motorists exit onto the Headford Road from the B&B.

This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. A one-year digital subscription costs just €89.00. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

He said the lights are complicated and it was unreasonable and unfair on his family and any guests staying at their B&B who may be endangered trying to enter or exit the driveway.

Videos of ‘near misses’ recorded on CCTV footage, and supplied to Councillor Mike Crowe (FF), have been seen by the Galway City Tribune.

They give a flavour of how dangerous it is to exit the residence on an amber light; and indicate an apparent lack of understanding of the system on the part of other motorists.

Cllr Crowe and other elected members raised this safety issue at a Council meeting last week during a discussion on the City Development Plan. It was decided to rezone some land adjacent to Sandyvale Lawn, which would allow for a new entrance to the house to be constructed, although there is no timeframe.

Mr Murphy, in his email to officials and councillors said it was an “extremely busy junction”.

“I do not believe that enough planning or consideration was taken when the traffic lights were installed, especially those that were installed directly in front of my sister’s house.

“My relatives in Galway should not have to worry every time they leave their house nor should anyone coming from the Menlo direction have to worry about getting blocked in by other vehicles when entering my sister’s house,” he said.

Mr Murphy added: “I would urge the Galway City Council to carry out an immediate review to make this busy junction safe before somebody gets hurt in a serious accident.”

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Plan for former pub in Galway to house Ukrainian refugees



From the Galway City Tribune – The former Lantern Bar in Ballybane has been proposed to accommodate Ukrainians seeking refuge in Galway.

The Galway City Tribune has learned that works are underway on the building to advance the plans.

The Council confirmed that they had been briefed on the proposal but refused to be drawn on the details.

“Galway City Council is aware of a proposal to use the Lantern Bar at Ballybane Shopping Centre for refugees,” said a spokesperson.

“The coordination of the development of accommodation facilities such as this is the responsibility of the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.”

This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. A one-year digital subscription costs just €89.00. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

The local authority spokesperson said they did not have information on the number of people who would be accommodated, nor did they know when the facility might be open.

The Lantern Bar has not operated as a pub for some time, although its licence was renewed on appeal at Galway Circuit Court in February 2020 when the court was told that it was intended to sell the premises.

The bar, which had been the location of a series of public order incidents in 2019, had previously had its licence revoked following several objections from residents.

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City centre residents’ fears over new late-night opening hours



From the Galway City Tribune – Residents in one of the city centre’s oldest residential areas fear their lives will be turned upside-down by proposed later opening hours for pubs and nightclubs.

Chairperson of the Bowling Green Residents’ Association, Jackie Uí Chionna, told a public meeting of the City’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC) that as city centre residents, anti-social behaviour was part of their daily lives.

However, they expected the situation to worsen if Government proceeded with proposals to extend nightclub opening hours to 6.30am.

“Our concern at our recent AGM was the longer pub opening hours – it will result in an increase in [anti-social behaviour],” said Ms Uí Chionna.

She said it was their belief that this policy went against the right of city centre residents to “exist and live as a community” in the middle of town.

“We oppose increasing opening hours. We won’t have any sleep – we have minimal as it is. And we won’t feel safe to walk on the streets.

“It is regrettable that there has been so little consultation with gardaí and residents,” said Ms Uí Chionna.

Chief Superintendent Gerard Roche said Gardaí were waiting to see what happened with the legislation for later opening hours.

“On one hand, not having 5,000 or 10,000 people coming out at the one time will be a benefit but the question is if they won’t [come out at one time]. And will businesses buy into it?” questioned the Chief Supt.

Meanwhile, another Bowling Green resident and former city councillor, Nuala Nolan, raised concerns about the new model of policing and said rostering, which had gardaí working three days on and four days off was making it difficult to follow up on matters with community gardaí.

“You can’t get that person when they’re off for another four days – the continuity is gone,” said Ms Nolan.

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