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Judge slams cops over unfair speed traps

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A taxi driver could have racked up 25 penalty points after he was detected driving over the speed limit on five separate occasions in the same spot in the space of 70 minutes.

Judge Mary Fahy observed at Galway District Court this week that if she convicted Orhan Yilmaz of all five speeding offences, she would be rendering him unemployed.

She said the issuing of five speeding summonses in these circumstances was “totally disproportionate” and was bringing the entire speed detection system into disrepute.

A speed van, parked on the R338 at Wellpark, on the Dublin Road, which is a 50 km/h speed zone, detected Yilmaz’s taxi driving at speeds of 77km/h, 62km/h, 73km/h, 64km/h and 77km/h between 1.42am and 2.56am on August 31, last year.

Yilmaz, from 16B Avondale Road, Highfield Park, was going to and from the city centre, dropping off fares and driving back into town to collect more on the night he was detected.

The court heard the detections were automatically uploaded onto the central system and the five fixed charge penalty notices was never paid.

Defence solicitor, Sean Acton said there was no road sign at the location where the van was parked to warn motorists of its presence.

“Is is not the purpose of these vans to deter people from speeding?,” he asked the prosecuting officer who operated the speed detection van that night.

Mr Acton pointed out the court had heard no evidence that fixed charge penalty notices had issued to his client.  He said the court had heard the fixed charge notices were uploaded, but there was no evidence they ever issued.

That evidence, he said, was required to be given by the State.

Judge Fahy said she felt the issuing of five summonses to someone for the one location in such a short space of time was totally disproportionate and was bringing the system into disrepute.

She said that if someone was detected once the court would deal with that, but if someone continued on in a dangerous manner, then that would be a matter for the Gardai.

“This is not a road safety issue,” she pointed out.

“My client was dropping people on and off.  The van didn’t move,” Mr Acton explained.

He said Yilmaz had been driving a taxi for eleven years.

Judge Fahy said that if she convicted the man of all five offences she would be rendering him unemployed, because all of the points that would follow, and he would then be a burden on the State.

“You have hit the nail on the head there Judge.  We’re talking about 25 penalty points here,” Mr Acton said.

“Surely, the function of the Gatso vans is to act as a deterrent and the road signs are there to forewarn the public.

“The State’s function is not to catch people, but to warn people not to speed,” Mr Acton added.

Judge Fahy said it was unfair that one person would get so many detections at one location in just over one hour.

She decided to convict the taxi driver on the first and last summons while striking out the three in between.

“He’s on a ‘sticky wicket’ and he needs to be more careful and slow down a little bit,” Judge Fahy said before fining Yilmaz €120 on each of the two summonses.

Connacht Tribune

Galway historian’s 14 new books bring running total to 70!

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Steve Dolan.

There may be a book in everyone – but producing 18 of them for publication in one week is taking it to a different level. And yet that’s what Galway historian Steve Dolan has done for Heritage Week. . . adding 18 books this year to bring him up to 70 over the last seven years – and he’s firmly committed to hitting one hundred.

By day – and given the workload, increasingly by night – he is the chief executive of Galway Rural Development (GRD), but the Carrabane resident has had a lifelong passion for history. And that’s what he turns to as a form of relaxation which peaks at this time every year.

Not alone that; he already has the first five of next year’s publications completed – and he’s only starting!

This year’s booklets are all on the theme of Gaelic Games and every one of them is in aid of a different community group or charity. Theoretically, they are limited editions, but – given his own love of the subject matter – he won’t see anyone who shares that passion miss out.

While all eighteen new publications share that GAA theme, the diversity of subject matter within that is breath-taking – and an incredible achievement in terms of the workload and production.

From the story of the county title that Liam Mellows were robbed of in 1942 to the contribution of An Cath Gaedhealach to Galway GAA in 1947/48 or Galway’s 1923 and 1925 All-Ireland victories to sport in County Galway during the revolutionary years; the books are as much about social history as about sport.

See the full list of publications in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

And if they are of interest to you, you can contact Steve at sdolan@grd.ie to buy them.

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Connacht Tribune

Why did Galway suffer just half as many Covid deaths as Mayo?

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Galway and Mayo, two neighbouring counties, have had hugely contrasting experiences with Covid-19-related deaths.

Analysis of the latest figures reveals that Mayo’s Covid mortality rate is more than double that of Galway’s.

The disparity has prompted a Galway West TD to call for an investigation to see what caused the disparity.

Fresh data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) shows that Covid deaths in Galway have topped the 250 milestone.

Up to the end of July, HSPC has been notified of some 251 Covid deaths in Galway since the Pandemic was declared in 2020.

This gives a mortality rate of 97.3 per 100,000 population, which is the second lowest of any county in the Republic after Sligo.

During the same timeframe, neighbouring Mayo notified 296 Covid deaths, which gives a mortality rate of 226.8 per 100,000.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Hurling legend’s distillery plans for heart of Conamara

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Joe Connolly....Conamara vision.

Plans have been lodged to build a multi-million euro whiskey distillery on the Conamara coastline – the brainchild of Galway hurling legend Joe Connolly and his family.

And if it gets the green light, it will square a circle that has its roots firmly in the same Conamara soil – where both of the All-Ireland-winning Galway captain’s grandfathers were renowned distillers too . . . only of the illegal variety.

The plans for the Cnoc Buí Whiskey Distillery & Heritage Centre outside Carna – lodged by Údarás na Gaeltachta on behalf of Drioglann Iarthar na Gaillimhe Teoranta – describe a facility that will provide a first-class visitor experience and greatly enhance the local area’s tourism offering.

Once complete, Cnoc Buí will comprise the distillery itself, bonded warehousing, a bottling hall and tasting bar – as well as the heritage centre, shop and café.

That will create over 30 jobs in the first five years, with the heritage centre alone aiming to attract 16,000 visitors in the first year of operation – rising to at least 52,000 by year five in Iorras Aithneach, an area blighted by unemployment and emigration.

On top of that, their own economic analysis envisages the creation of another 130 jobs in the Carna/Cill Chiarain area – in leisure, hospitality and accommodation on foot of that significant increase in visitor numbers.

The Connollys see Cnoc Buí as ‘an asset which will enrich the entire community’.

“It will enhance the local tourism product and serve as a focal point for both the local community and visitors,” said Cnoc Buí director Barry Connolly.

“The building has been carefully designed to reflect the beauty of its surroundings, because we want our distillery to be an attractive hub, with its Visitors’ Centre and Tasting Bar. It will provide employment, draw in tourists and add value to other business in the area,” he added.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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