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CITY TRIBUNE

Jail for mucky duo who were up to no good

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Two suspected burglars, who were found soaking wet and covered in muck, told Gardaí they were in Galway late at night having affairs with married women.

Members of the armed Regional Support Unit, along with Detectives Gerry Carroll and Ronan Leonard, responded to a call from a Castlegar resident that a 4×4 with two occupants was acting suspiciously in the area.

They carried out a search and stopped Declan Meehan (44), and Sean Hogan (39), both from Cork City, in a two-seater jeep at Twomileditch, Castlegar, at 2.50am on May 10 last year.

Hogan was driving the jeep, while Meehan was a front seat passenger.

Gardaí found a crowbar, two bolt cutters, numerous Stanley knives, gloves, screwdrivers and several small torches thrown on the floor between the two seats.

Both men pleaded not guilty before Galway District Court to being found in possession of the implements with the intention they be used in connection with theft/burglary.

Hogan did admit driving without insurance or a driving licence on the night because he was already disqualified for ten years.

After hearing evidence during the fully contested hearing, Judge Mary Fahy said it was clear that the Cork men were not in Galway that night for ‘romancing and dancing’ and she sentenced both of them to twelve months in prison for having the implements in their possession.

She imposed an additional four-month sentence on Hogan for driving without insurance while already disqualified, and disqualified him from driving for ten years.

Garda Leonard told the hearing he searched Meehan at the scene and found gloves, a torch and a Stanley knife in his jacket pocket.

He said he asked the men what business they had in Galway at that hour of the night and they said they had gone for a spin and ended up in Galway.

“Both of them were soaked and covered in muck. It was a bad night and it was evident they had been out in the elements,” he added.

They were arrested at the scene and the jeep was seized.

They were finger-printed, photographed and DNA samples were taken from them at the Garda station.

Meehan replied ‘no comment’ to every question during interview the following morning.

Det. Carroll told the hearing he arrested Hogan at the scene.  He found two electrical testers and a number of blades in his possession.

Hogan, he said, could offer no explanation why he and Meehan were in Twomileditch at that hour of the morning.

Judge Fahy observed the testers could be used to check if house or business alarms were working.

Hogan said he was wet and mucky because he had got out of the jeep to go to the toilet at the side of the road.

He changed his story while giving evidence in court, claiming the van belonged to his brother who was a roofer and he used the tools in his line of work.

When asked by his barrister, Garry McDonald, why he was in Galway that night, Hogan replied: “To be honest, it was a sexual matter and I can’t say anymore without embarrassing someone.”

Mr McDonald asked him was he having an affair.

“Yes, but I don’t want to mention the woman’s name. I feel ashamed I was having a relationship because the woman concerned is married,” Hogan replied.

Meehan had 90 previous convictions for mostly motoring offences.

Hogan had 102 previous convictions, also for mostly motoring offences and had been given a five-month suspended sentence and ten-year disqualification in 2017 for driving without insurance in Cork.

CITY TRIBUNE

Bikers do their bit to mark anniversary of blood service

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The Blood Bike team and supporters with the charity’ s newest motorbike, Cara, during the fundraising day at the Galway Plaza. Pictured are (from left) John Moylan, Bridie Lyons (Fundraising Manager), Sean Griffin, Fergus Turner, James Treacy, Pat McDonagh, Dave O'Leary (Chairperson), Ronan Kane (Fleet Manager), and Sergio Massidda.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of Blood Bike West, and the big birthday was marked in style with a sun-drenched afternoon at Galway Plaza’s Bike Fest West.

Galway stuntman Mattie Griffin was the headline attraction; there was face painting, games, plenty of ice-cream – and hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts and families.

The birthday celebrations kicked off with a 160-strong motorcycle spin around the Galway countryside, raising well-needed funds for the volunteering efforts of Blood Bike West.

As a 100% volunteer-run and funded organisation, donations are vitally important for Blood Bike West to continue operating their medical transport in the West of Ireland.

Since its inception in 2012, demand for their volunteers’ services continues to grow:  collecting and delivering all manner of urgent medical items regionally and nationally, such as bloods, breast milk, medicines, scans, and equipment.

In 2021 alone, Blood Bike West delivered 983 urgent medical deliveries throughout the country.

As part of Galway City Councils Community, Blood Bike West undertook to operate a 24/7 service, including 165 medication deliveries from pharmacies to the self-isolating and vulnerable during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Since Blood Bike West’s inception in 2012, this increase sees the ongoing need to replace and renew their fleet of motorcycles.

Their motorbikes, Madison, Heather, Margaret, and newly inaugurated bike Cara, are regularly seen on Galway roads, delivering consignments to and from local and regional hospitals.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Park fun to mark Africa Day

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Pam Mncube-Zoki of Africa United Galway, speaking at the National Integration Conference at NUI Galway last week. The group are co-organisers of Africa Day which takes place in Salthill Park on May 28. Photo:xposure

On Saturday next (May 28) in Salthill Park, Galway’s African community invites people to join them in a celebration of culture as part of the national Africa Day celebrations.

Africa United Galway, emerging from lockdown and having hosted online festivals for the past two years, will be delivering a family fun day event.

Africa Day 2022 will reinforce a collaboration between Africa United Galway and Galway Africa Diaspora, Shining Light Galway and GoCom Radio (broadcasting live), who have worked to create a festival that will showcase Galway as a city of culture.

Among the performances on the day will be Afrobeat dancer Lapree Lala of Southside Moves, who will show how to dance in African style; Elikya Band will be bringing indigenous African Congolese music; The Youth Performances will be displaying their talent in rap, singing, speaking, and dancing and for the young at heart.

Galway Afrobeat performer Dave Kody will get the crowd moving and there will be poetry through spoken word and cultural displays. There will be a photo booth and face painting and everyone will get to have a taste of African cuisines.

In the spirit of inclusion and integration, The St Nicholas Collegiate Church Parish Choir will be presenting a special African performance as well as a feature presentation by the Hession School of Irish Dance, who will be presenting the famous Riverdance.

Also organised is a football friendly between the African community and An Garda Siochana.

The Mayor, Colette Connolly, will officially be opening the event with a keynote speech and several African Ambassadors are expected to be present on the day to reinforce the culture, beauty and strength of Africa and support for its people.

Africa Day is sponsored by Irish Aid and supported by Galway City Council.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Domestic Violence Response recorded highest number of clients in 24 years under Covid ‘shadow’

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At the launch of the Domestic Violence Response (DVR) Annual Report were Rachel Doyle and Elizabeth Power of DVR, Deputy Catherine Connolly and Anne Reynolds. Photos Sean Lydon

BY TIFFANY GREENWALDT-SIMON

A domestic violence support charity in Galway has recorded its highest number of clients in 24 years – “under the shadow” of Covid-19.

Domestic Violence Response (DVR), which is based in Moycullen, also reported its highest level of counselling support sessions in its 2021 annual report published last week.

The charity saw 136 new clients in 2021, and a total of 266 people utilised its services. It also saw a significant increase of return service users.

The support service also provided 51 nights of emergency accommodation through a partnership between Airbnb, Safe Ireland, and Women’s Aid.

Elizabeth Power, Coordinator of DVR Galway, said: “Our 2021 annual report highlights the stark reality of the level of domestic violence in Galway. Under the shadow of Covid-19, DVR recorded the highest number of clients in our 24-year history and delivered the highest number of support services.

“Our staff noted increases in the level of worrying and harrowing experiences of control and abuse. The trauma of these experiences will live with our service users long after Covid-19 fades into memory.

“While Covid-19 restrictions are behind us, domestic violence continues to be present in hundreds of homes throughout Galway.

“As we move through 2022, we will continue to provide our much-needed services to women and men throughout Galway, with an extensive counselling support and advocacy service and a number of new initiatives including a partnership with the HSE which will be launched in the coming months.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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