A father of five, who had been stopped at a routine checkpoint when a Garda noticed that there was a strong smell of diesel coming from his petrol car, was jailed for nine months for having equipment used to steal home heating oil, at Galway District Court on Wednesday.
In imposing the sentence, Judge Mary Fahy said she was making an example of the defendant, whose actions she described as ‘the lowest of the low’.
“Some people pay for everything, some people pay for nothing – I expect that he is of the latter group,” she said.
Garda Pat Fahy had told the court that he was on uniformed duty at a checkpoint on Newcastle Road just before midnight on October 19 last year when he stopped a Dublin-registered car.
He noticed that the driver, Thomas Myers (41), of 58 Murrough Drive, Renmore, seemed very nervous; he was accompanied by another man.
The Garda proceeded to search the vehicle and, in the foot-well of the front passenger seat, he recovered two pairs of gloves, a vice grips, a torch, and a screwdriver.
“It was a petrol car but there was a strong smell of diesel or kerosene,” he said.
“He could give no explanation for having the implements. I believe that he had them for the theft of home heating oil,” Garda Fahy added.
The court heard that Myers had 19 previous convictions, seven of which were theft-related, and three of which were for the same offence. In some cases he had been given suspended sentences, on the basis that he would not reoffend, the Garda said.
“He’s got his chances… let’s look at the other side of the coin – there are people who cannot turn on the heat in their homes because they don’t have the money to do so,” the Judge replied.
“A fill of kerosene can cost up to €1,200, and the likes of Mr Myers stealing it is pathetic and low-down. I can’t believe how low a person can stoop … people are paying mortgages, and for oil, and a lot are struggling – even working people.”
“It is the lowest of the low; it was well known that it was going on, we all had read about it,” she added.
“I want to send out the message to others who may be thinking about it, as the winter approaches, to think carefully before they do it.”
Myers was further disqualified from driving for two years as, the Judge said, he had used his vehicle for criminality.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.
Elective surgeries cancelled at UHG as overcrowding continues
Galway Bay fm newsroom – Some non-urgent elective surgeries are being cancelled at UHG in a bid to tackle severe overcrowding at the city hospital.
It follows the issuing of a warning from the Saolta Hospital Group that the emergency department is extremely busy and there is ongoing pressure on bed availability.
General Manager at UHG, Chris Kane, says over 500 people presented at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday.
She says the overcrowding situation is very serious, particularly in relation to the ED, the Surgical Unit and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit.
Members of the public are urged to only attend the hospital in the case of emergency, and contact their GP or out-of-hours service if their health problem is not urgent.
Saolta is also reminding the public that the Injury Unit at Roscommon University Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, to treat adults and children over 5.
Speaking to Keith Finnegan on Galway Talks, Chris Kane said the current level of patients presenting is extremely high and “unusual” for this time of year.
She also noted there’s also been a rise in patients being treated for Covid-19, including in the ICU.
Galway rowers aim for Olympic gold!
Best of luck to two Galway rowers – Aifric Keogh of Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, and Fiona Murtagh from Gortachalla in Moycullen – who are part of Team Ireland’s Women’s Coxless Fours team who compete in an Olympic final in Tokyo at 1.50am (Irish time) Wednesday.
Coverage on RTÉ 2 television begins from 1am.
Ireland – who were second in their heat after Australia, who set a new Olympic Record – are in lane two, with Great Britain on their outside, and Australia, favourites for a gold medal, in lane three.
The Netherlands, China and Poland are in lanes four, five and six at the Sea Forest Waterway.
Poor weather meant some rowing events were re-scheduled but the Women’s Fours final was not impacted.
Jim Keogh, Aifric’s father, told the Tribune he was hopeful ahead of the final.
“To make the Olympics is tough, to make the final is tough, to make the medal is tougher,” he said.
Photo: Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty.
*Full coverage of the race and reaction in this week’s Connacht Tribune and Galway City Tribune
Paedophile sentenced to a further 17 months in prison
A convicted paedophile, described by a Garda as ‘a prolific child abuser’, has had a 17-month prison sentence added to a 13-year sentence he is already serving for the rape and sexual abuse of children.
Disgraced primary school teacher and summer school bus driver, 69-year-old Seosamh Ó Ceallaigh, a native of Tuirín, Béal a’ Daingin, Conamara, had at all times denied two charges of indecently assaulting a ten-year-old boy at a Gaeltacht summer school in Béal a’ Daingin in 1979.
The offence carries a maximum two-year sentence.
A jury found him guilty by majority verdict following a four-day trial at Galway Circuit Criminal Court last month.
At his sentence hearing last week, Detective Paul Duffy described Ó Ceallaigh as a prolific child abuser who had amassed 125 child abuse convictions, committed while he was a primary school teacher in Dublin and while he operated an Irish language summer school in Beal a’ Daingin.
They included convictions for rape and sexual assault for which he is currently serving sentences totalling 13 years.
Those sentences were due to expire in August 2024, but last week, Judge Rory McCabe imposed two, concurrent 17-month sentences on Ó Ceallaigh, before directing the sentences begin at the termination of the sentences he is currently serving.
The judge noted Ó Ceallaigh’s denial and lack of remorse and the lifelong detrimental effect the abuse had on the victim as aggravating factors.