Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us


Jail for teen muggers who robbed German student in Galway



Two teenage muggers who did little to enhance Ireland’s reputation as a safe tourist destination by robbing a German woman, have each been sentenced to three years in prison with the final two years suspended.

Michael Mongan (19), of 5 Cois na Coille, Ballybane, and co-accused Owen Mongan (19), of 167 Ballinfoyle Park, Headford Road, both pleaded guilty at Galway Circuit Criminal Court in April to robbing the 26-year-old German woman of her handbag, mobile phone and €40 cash on October 26 last year at Headford Road, Galway.

Sentence was adjourned for probation reports.

Garda Pat Foley told the sentence hearing last week that the victim, an Erasmus student, was walking home with two German friends when they were accosted by a gang of youths near Ballinfoyle Church.

A girl, who was with the gang, asked to use the victim’s phone. She refused and kept walking and the girl then grabbed the victim by the hair and pulled her to the ground, assaulted her and grabbed her handbag and phone.

When the victim’s two friends tried to help her, both accused grabbed them and held them while the robbery of their friend took place.

The gang of youths then ran off with the victim’s handbag and phone.

Garda Foley said he was in the area and was quickly on the scene.

Both of the Mongans were arrested a short time later and the €40 was found on Owen Mongan.

The woman’s handbag was later recovered at the back of the church but her expensive prescription glasses which were thrown out on the road by the gang were smashed by passing cars. Her house and car keys were not located either.

The victim, who has since returned to Germany, prepared a victim impact statement for the court which Garda Foley read aloud.

It stated this was the worst thing to have every happened to her.  She had felt deeply helpless when attacked by the group and her friends continued to feel guilty that they could not help her that night.

One friend, in particular, still remained deeply traumatised, she said.

“I had to replace the locks in my house because I was afraid of them as they lived near me and I never felt secure again while living in Ireland,” the woman stated.

Clumps of her hair were pulled out by her unidentified female assailant and her head and face were very bruised afterwards, she added.

The court heard Owen Mongan had no previous convictions prior to this incident but since this robbery had again come to the attention of the Gardaí last June.

Michael Mongan has four previous convictions for road traffic offences and had been charged with assault and a public order offence in March, both of which are still before the District Court. His bail for those had been revoked in March, the court was told.

Defence barristers, Aisling Wall and Geri Silke, said both of their clients had each brought €500 to court to give to the victim.

Reading probation reports handed into court, Judge Rory McCabe noted Michael Mongan had told his probation officer he only pleaded guilty because his solicitor had advised him to do so.

He had also told the officer he didn’t want to get a job because he could get Job Seekers Allowance instead.

Ms Wall said he was immature and unable to see the consequences of his actions.

Ms Silke said Owen Mongan was very sorry for what he had done and had drank an enormous amount of vodka on the night.

She said he didn’t have much means but had managed to save €500 with the help of his family.

“He had plenty means to fill himself with vodka that night,” Judge McCabe observed.

He said this was disgusting behaviour.

“Both of them have to share the blame for this cowardly attack on visitors to this country.

It did little to enhance the reputation of Ireland abroad,” the judge added.

The offence of robbery carries a maximum of life imprisonment and this offence merited five years, Judge McCabe said.

Given the guilty pleas, the offer of compensation and the young age of both accused, the judge said the appropriate sentence was three years with the final two years suspended for two years.

Connacht Tribune

Passers-by save church from burning down



The quick reaction of passers-by saved a Connemara church from being razed to the ground by fire.

Hill walkers who stopped off at St Joseph’s Church in Letterfrack on their way to climb Diamond Hill noticed a fire and smoke billowing from inside the building.

They immediately raised the alarm and alerted workers from Connemara National Park. They in turn rang Clifden Fire Brigade, who attended the scene and quenched the blaze.

Parish priest, Fr Anthaiah Pudota told the Connacht Tribune that the fire was started accidentally, possibly by a fallen candle in the church which was built in 1922.

He praised the people who raised the alarm quickly and thanked the workers for their bravery during efforts to bring the fire under control.

“My information was people who visited Connemara National Park raised the alarm. They were on the way to climb Diamond Hill and parked their cars to visit the church.

“I think it was a family who were visiting the area. It was an accidental fire. There is definitely significant damage. Wood was burned, and there was significant smoke damage, but it could have been worse.

“According to the CCTV footage, it happened around 1pm. Clifden Fire Brigade and workers from the National Park were very brave. The smoke inside was like a huge thick fog.

“It took them a while before they could enter. They had to break one of the doors, because the main door was closed. It was definitely very brave of them,” Fr Anathaiah said.

The fire was discovered quite quickly, he said, and so while the church was significantly damaged most of it centred on the candelabra area.

Ballinakill Parish Secretary in Letterfrack, Ann Cooke, thanked the local community and neighbouring parishes for good wishes and support.

“A very special note of thanks to the kind passer-by who raised the alarm, the National Park workers, and the emergency services, for their fast action and bravery, without all of whom the unfortunate event could have been much worse,” she said.

“Thank you all again for your support. Please God we will be able to come together in Letterfrack Church before long,” Ms Cooke added.

Fr Anathaiah, from India, will be two years in the rural Connemara parish of Ballinakill next month. He said that his parishioners have strong faith and are looking forward to the church reopening, but he could not confirm a date as yet.

Mass was said twice weekly, Sunday and Wednesday, at St Joseph’s up until the fire caused the damage at around 1pm on Friday July 22.

Fr Anathaiah said that services would now be said at Tullycross Church, about five kilometres away, for the foreseeable future.

“We are not quite sure at the moment (when it will reopen); we are waiting to see the extent of the damage. I can’t give an exact date, but we will definitely come back in the coming months,” Fr Anthaiah Pudota said.

Continue Reading


GSPCA closes city centre charity shop permanently



From the Galway City Tribune – It’s the end of an era for a popular animal charity shop that has shut up shop for good at its city centre base.

The Galway SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has confirmed that it has not renewed its lease on its premises at St Augustine Street, where its charity shop has been based for a number of years.

The popular shop that sold books, clothes and bric-a-brac closed in June due to a leak in the building. It was due to reopen within days, but it has not and will not be, according to the charity.

The GSPCA said they are looking for a new premises in the city.

A spokesperson confirmed that the lease on the building was due to finish soon anyway, but after a major leak, the GSPCA and the landlord mutually agreed to bring forward the lease termination by a number of months.

“We hope to be up and running at another location in due course,” a spokesperson said.

A register charity and not-for-profit organisation, GSPCA still has a retail presence in Athenry and Ballinasloe, which generate money to run the organisation.

Its fundamental aim for over 20 years has been to care for animals in need through neglect, abandonment, abuse or those at risk due to a change in circumstances.

Its main sanctuary is based in the county, between Killimor and Portumna; and its cattery is in Athenry.

The charity assisted over 700 cats, dogs and smaller animals during 2020. According to accounts filed with the Charity Regulator, the vast majority of its income comes from donations, but its shops are important income sources and the charity made over €86,000 income from “trading and commercial activities” in 2020.

Continue Reading


Workers in Galway still waiting for ‘frontline’ payments



From the Galway City Tribune – A number of workers in healthcare settings in Galway have yet to receive promised pandemic bonus payments for toiling on the frontline during the Covid-19 crisis.

The Government had pledged each front-line worker would get a €1,000 payment as a thank you for contributing to the national effort during the pandemic.

But nine months on from when the Cabinet signed off on the payment, many local workers, including nurses and carers, particularly in private nursing homes, have received nothing.

Louis O’Hara, a general election candidate for Sinn Féin in Galway, labelled it as another broken promise by this Government.

“Workers here in Galway such as caterers, cleaners, security staff, agency staff and many more on the frontline in our local hospitals and healthcare settings have been contacting me to express their concern that they are still waiting for this payment,” he said.

“They are entitled to receive this payment, however the Government has failed to follow through on their promises and workers have been left in the lurch with no answers and no sense of urgency from the Government,” he said.

Mr O’Hara told the Galway City Tribune that the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, needed to clarify that the funding was still there to pay the staff.

He said a breakdown of figures for the number of staff in Galway that were not yet been paid was not available, but Sinn Féin has been inundated with complaints from workers – particularly agency staff and those in private nursing homes.

“Frontline workers in Galway have been let down badly by this Government’s failure to follow through on their promises. This is absolutely unacceptable,” Mr O’Hara said.

The party’s Health spokesperson has written to An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, urging him to intervene directly to ensure this payment is paid promptly.

Minister Donnelly, in a recent reply to a Parliamentary Question in the Dáil, said priority was given to payment of eligible staff in hospital groups, such as Saolta, and community services within the HSE.

He said that the Department of Health was “examining progressing the rollout” to six groups of non-HSE and Non-Section 38 Agencies, who were included in the scheme.

These include eligible workers in private nursing homes and hospices; staff on-site in long-term residential care facilities for people with disabilities; agency staff working for the HSE; healthcare assistants such as home help, home care and home support staff contracted by the HSE; Defence Forces members redeployed to work “in front-line Covid-19 exposed environments in the HSE”; and paramedics employed by Dublin Fire Brigade.

This was a “complex task”, he said, because “these employees are not normally paid by the public health service, duplicate payments need to be avoided, and there are many organisations to be covered”.

This work was being given “priority attention” he said.

“Payment to eligible workers will be made as soon as possible,” Minister Donnelly added.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads