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Jury ordered to find knife attack duo ‘not guilty’ on technicality

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A judge has directed a jury to find two city youths not guilty of a knife attack on another youth two years ago, following a three-day trial at Galway Circuit Criminal Court.

Marcus MacComascaigh (20), with addresses in Fana Glas, Ballybane, and Cur na Lus, Circular Road, and a now 18-year-old youth – who cannot be named because he was 16 at the time of the alleged offence – had both denied a charge of assaulting Dominic Downes, then aged 18, causing him harm, at Church Alley, Ballymoneen Road, Knocknacarra, in the early hours of Saturday morning September 27, 2014, when they appeared for trial at Galway Circuit Criminal Court.

A jury was sworn in to hear evidence in the trial which was expected to take two to three days.

Outlining the State’s case, prosecuting barrister, Conor Fahy told the jury Mr Downes had sustained a number of stab wounds to his back and shoulder and had been hit with a bicycle lock.

He said Mr Downes had been in a number of pubs in the city on the Friday night celebrating a friend’s 18th birthday.

He went home in the early hours of the morning and his brother and a female friend were in the house. They continued drinking and the girl decided to make a prank call to the juvenile.

The juvenile figured out the phone call came from Mr Downes’ phone and he rang him, arranging to meet him in the alleyway beside Knocknacarra Church.

Before he left to meet the juvenile, Mr Downes took a butterfly knife with him for his own protection.

When he arrived at the alley, he was confronted by the two accused.

The juvenile pulled out a knife and swung it at Mr Downes, cutting him over his right eye.

Mr Downes pulled out the butterfly knife but dropped it.

The juvenile then swung his knife again, cutting Mr Downes’ arm.

Mr Downes kicked the juvenile, knocking him to the ground.  He then walked away, but the juvenile came after him.

Mr Fahy said MacComascaigh then joined in the assault and held Downes in a headlock, while the juvenile stabbed him a number of times in the back.

The juvenile then took out a bicycle lock and hit Downes.

He eventually managed to free himself and make his way home. He was later treated in hospital for his injuries.

Mr Downes had refused to come to court to give evidence in the trial and in the absence of the jury, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

Detective Fergal Kilbane executed the warrant and brought Mr Downes to court in custody the next day. Jurors were unaware he was in Garda custody at all times during the trial.

Mr Downes was called as a witness for the prosecution on and was questioned by Mr Fahy. He told the jury he didn’t remember what happened that night.

In reply to Mr Fahy, he said he remembered he had been drinking in town but said he could not remember anything after that.

Following further questioning, Mr Downes said he remembered drinking later when he got home, but could not remember anything after that.

Legal submissions were made to the court in the absence of the jury by two barristers who represented both accused under the Free Legal Aid scheme, regarding Mr Downes’ unwillingness to give evidence.

Following their submissions, Judge Rory McCabe ruled Mr Downes’ statement, which he had made to Gardai, was inadmissible in the trial as he could not be cross-examined by both defence teams if it was allowed into evidence.

Mr Fahy informed the court that the State was not offering any further evidence in the case and the trial could not proceed.

Judge McCabe then directed the jury foreman to enter a verdict of “not guilty by direction of the trial judge” in relation to both accused.

Judge McCabe said to MacComascaigh and to the juvenile, who is serving sentences for other offences: “You’re both discharged for the present, but I’m sure we will be seeing you again.”

CITY TRIBUNE

Hero’s welcome following rescue of two women on Galway Bay

Stephen Corrigan

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Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan, who rescued Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn off Inis Oirr island, on their arrival back at the Galway RNLI Lifeboat Station at Galway Docks. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The miraculous rescue on Galway Bay yesterday of two young women from Knocknacarra brought 15 long hours of searching to a euphoric conclusion, as cousins Sara Feeney (23) and Ellen Glynn (17) were brought safely to shore.

A major search and rescue operation was launched after the pair went missing from Furbo Beach on Wednesday night, when they were swept away by a sudden wind while paddle boarding.

Claddagh fisherman and former Lifeboat shore crew member Patrick Oliver and his 18-year-old son Morgan joined the search early on Thursday morning and were the heroes of the hour after they discovered the two women on their boards, clinging to a lobster pot about two miles south-west of Inis Oírr, where despite their ordeal, they were described as “ok, but shaken”.

In the face of torrential rain and high winds overnight, both women had drifted almost 20 miles out to sea, but amazingly neither required serious medical attention.

Sara’s mother, Helen Feeney, raised the alarm shortly after 9pm on Wednesday evening when she noticed the pair missing as she walked their dog along the shore.

Sara, a daughter of Helen and Bernard Tonge, and Ellen, daughter Deirdre and well-known former captain of Galway United Johnny Glynn, were both said to be in good spirits at the hospital yesterday afternoon.

One relative told the Galway City Tribune that the family was “utterly humbled by the generosity of people” who had took part in the search and said, “unbelievable doesn’t even begin to describe it”.

“Thank you from all the family to everyone who helped, words will never express our gratitude.”
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Photo: Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan, who rescued Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn off Inis Oirr island, on their arrival back at the Galway RNLI Lifeboat Station at Galway Docks. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway farm operators fall fowl of locals

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Neighbours of Mad Yolk Farm have asked Galway City Council to determine whether planning permission is required for a portable chicken coop earmarked for the land in Roscam.

This week, Mad Yolk Farm has indicated that it will be adding chickens to the site, which has already been the subject of planning enforcement by the local authority.

In a Facebook post, the operators said they are planning to rear organic chickens on site, with neighbours fearing as many as 450 birds in the chicken ‘caravan’.

“Our chicken caravan is now built and our beaked ladies will arrive in eight days. We’ll be moving the hens onto fresh grass each day and they’ll be free to forage for insects and take mud baths. They’ll be free to behave like a chicken should,” the business said on social media.

It has prompted a neighbour of the property to write the Council to formally ask for a declaration “whether the work/development described in the form is or is not development or is or is not exempted development under Section 5 of the Planning and Development Act”.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cold water poured on Spanish Arch ‘bushing’ sprinkler plan

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway City Council has poured cold water on a suggestion that it should install water sprinklers to deter ‘bushing’ at city centre hotspots for outdoor drinking, such as Spanish Arch.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) this week said the local authority should examine providing sprinklers, to deter bushing, after Spanish Arch and Middle Arch were packed with hundreds of revellers during the sunshine last weekend, and the areas were littered with alcohol bottles and cans.

Cllr Hoare said large crowds were prohibited from gathering outside due to Covid-19 social distancing guidelines, and if the partying continued “Galway will be the next county to be locked down”.

He said CCTV cameras should be installed at Spanish Arch and Middle Arch and added: “Galway City Council should consider installing sprinklers as a long-term solution.”

However, the City Council said it was not its intention to install sprinklers.

“It’s so hot at the moment, if you put out a sprinkler anywhere in Galway, people would just dance under it. We’re so unused to this muggy heat, that if you did that (installed sprinklers), on top of your 12-pack of Bacardi Breezers, or whatever it is young people drink these days, you’d have the biggest wet t-shirt competition this side of Ibiza – people would just dance under them. No, we have no plans for sprinklers,” remarked a City Council spokesperson.

He said the Council was unaware of a separate suggestion – announced by Mayor of Galway Mike Cubbard on social media – that certain city areas be exempted from the street drinking bylaws, to allow them to be monitored and controlled.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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