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Man armed with machete burst into dinner party

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A man has been convicted by a jury of trespassing at a woman’s home while armed with a machete on St. Stephen’s Day last year.

Joseph Moloney (31), of 329 Castlepark, Galway, denied producing a machete, capable of inflicting serious injury, while trespassing at 12 Lios na Run, Ballybane on December 26 last year.

He also denied trespassing at the property on the same occasion. The jury of eight men and four women returned a majority 10:2 guilty verdict yesterday evening. Sentence will follow in January.

The two-day trial heard evidence from Avril McCann, who lives at 12 Lios na Run, that she was hosting a dinner party on St. Stephen’s Day for her mother, her stepfather, one of her friends, Kelly Bailey, and her friend’s husband when she answered a knock at the front door around 9pm.

She saw a man standing there, wearing a balaclava, with a machete in his hand.

She told the jury the man said nothing but he brushed past her and went into the sitting room. There was nobody there.

He pushed past her again and went into the kitchen where her guests were still sitting around the dinner table.

Ms McCann said she was shocked and she asked the man what was he doing there. He made no reply.

“He pointed the weapon at all the people in the kitchen. He stared me in the eyes and I knew him then. I’ve known him all my life. I know it was him,” Ms McCann told the jury.

She said that when he turned his back to her as he walked into the kitchen ahead of her, she knew it was Maloney from his build.

He pointed the machete in turn at her guests without saying anything.

He then lifted the balaclava up above his eyes and grinned at Ms McCann, before turning and walking out of the house.

Ms McCann said she felt absolutely terrified and started screaming at Maloney as he walked out the door, calling him a “cheeky bastard”.

Defence barrister, William Hughes BL, put it to Ms McCann that her best friend, Kelly Bailey was Mulhall before she married and that his client’s fiancee, Tara Mulhall, was her sister.

Tara Mulhall, he said, was the mother of his client’s two children and the couple had got engaged on December 23 last year.

“Is it fair to say that Kelly Bailey and Joseph Moloney would not be very close?”, he asked.

Ms McCann replied she knew they didn’t have much dealings with each other.

“My client was not there that day and I’m putting it to you that this allegation has its genesis in the connection between Kelly Bailey and Joseph Maloney,” the barrister said.

“You are totally wrong,” she replied.

Ms McCann’s mother, Kim McDonagh, gave evidence she recognised Maloney that evening as she had known him all her life. “I know Joe Maloney all my life. I knew him straight away. He just pointed the machete at every one of us. He just stood there and said nothing whatsoever.

He pulled the balaclava up over his eyes and I knew him,” she said.

Kelly Bailey, nee Mulhall, gave evidence she recognised Maloney when he pulled the balaclava above his eyes.

“He’s my sister’s partner, my sister Tara,” Mrs Bailey said.

Mr Hughes asked her if she ‘got on’ with her sister.

“We haven’t spoken since this event and we had our ups and downs prior to that,” she replied.

Mr Hughes asked her how she had reacted on hearing of the engagement.

“Tara told me herself she got engaged. I was shocked. I was surprised. I wasn’t expecting it,” she replied.

He put it to her that the couple had two children and had been together for years.

“They had been on and off over the years,” she said.

Mr Hughes put it to the witness that she had told Gardai there was a lot of “history” between her sister Tara and his client and she didn’t like it.

“Personally, I feel he treats my sister badly. That is my own opinion. I do not have a grudge against him,” Mrs Bailey said.

Mr Hughes disagreed. He said she was not happy to see the relationship progress.

“No”, she replied.

Garda Pauline de Poar gave evidence she arrested Maloney on January 5 last. Six witnesses had named him and she had no doubt he had gone to the house that evening.

Tara Mulhall, in evidence, said she and Maloney had been in a relationship for 13 years and two of her three children were his.

“It’s a normal relationship. It has its ups and downs. Right now its good and we’re engaged,” she said.

In reply to Mr Hughes, she said her relationship with her family was “up and down”, too, and she had problems with two of them.

She said she was in bed asleep with her two children on December 26 last when she got a phone call from her sister, Kelly Bailey.

“She asked me where was Joe and I told her he was out with friends.

My sister then said, ‘It was f**kin’ him. It was definitely him.’ I hung up and that was it,” she said.

CITY TRIBUNE

Former hotel won’t be ring-fenced for college

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No designation....Corrib Great Southern during demolition.

The site of the former Corrib Great Southern will no longer be ring-fenced for educational purposes if a clause removed in a draft of the next development plan is eventually adopted.

A motion by Mayor Colette Connolly proposed earmarking one-third of the six-acre Dublin Road site for educational use as well as research or collaborative ventures between third level colleges and industry.

Mayor Connolly said her proposal reinstates the text of the current plan reserving a portion of any planned development for education.

Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) was supportive of the motion, the Independent councillor she told a planning meeting convened to collate a draft of the plan.

Councillor Declan McDonell (Ind) said GMIT had recently purchased the home of the Galwegians Rugby Club at Glenina for €9 million and were progressing developments at the Cluain Mhuire site and a proposed Centre of Excellence for Health, Sport, and Marine Science at Murrough.

The former hotel had been offered to GMIT for €3.75m by NAMA (National Asset Management Agency) but they had to pass because they could not come up with the money.

“So I fail to see how they could come up with the money to buy two acres for educational purposes – therefore we could be left with a derelict site for years,” he warned.

Cllr Noel Larkin (Ind) told the meeting he was in favour of an expanding GMIT but agreed the site which only recently saw the demolition of a major eyesore could be left derelict for another decade if developers were hamstrung by what could be built.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Multi-storey car park proposal still on the table

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No multi-storey...the existing Dyke Road car park.

A proposal to remove from the Draft City Development Plan an objective to replace the existing car park at Dyke Road with a multi-storey alternative has been voted down by councillors.

Those opposing the motion argued that regardless of improved public transport and cycle networks, there would always be a requirement for parking in the city centre.

The motion, proposed by Cllr Niall Murphy (Green) and seconded by Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind), sought to take out a line in the plan which stated the replacement of the 550-space car park with a multi-storey “would enable more efficient use of the land”.

This forms part of the planned redevelopment of the area which is to be led by the Land Development Agency (LDA) and is mooted to include residential units, retail space and potentially a hotel.

Cllr Murphy said as improved public transport came on stream, the requirement for parking in the centre of the city should reduce, with the long-awaited Park and Ride rollout the ‘preferred option’.

“It is prejudicial to state [in the development plan] that some of that area will be used by multi-storey parking – that should be decided as part of our negotiations with the LDA,” said Cllr Murphy.

Cllr Donal Lyons (Ind) opposed the motion and said long-term parking, such as that currently provided for on the Dyke Road, should be maintained as there would be a continued demand for it.

“We need a certain amount of parking for people working in town. Park and Ride will not be available for all, like those who come in on the Headford Road and the Tuam Road,” he said.

Cllr Terry O’Flaherty agreed and said workers from areas such as Annaghdown and Corrandulla had no access to public transport and required their car to get to work.

Cllr Frank Fahy (FG) said the population of the city was set to double in the coming years and even by maintaining the existing number of spaces in Dyke Road, the Council would be in effect halving the overall availability.

“People need to get to town and not everybody can hop on a bike – not everybody has that luxury,” he said.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway’s vacant homes and shops

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Councillor Níall McNelis (Lab)

There were in excess of 1,100 vacant commercial and residential properties in Galway City in 2020, a new report has found – a ‘staggering figure’ which one local representative described as ‘frightening’.

The Northern and Western Regional Assembly’s (NWRA) report on Regional Vacancy and Dereliction has revealed a worsening problem in the city – highlighting a 15% increase in the level of commercial vacancy since 2015 and a 5% increase in the number of empty homes.

Some 690 commercial properties were lying idle in the city in September 2020 – many of which could be used to increase the housing stock according to the report.

The West has more than double the national average of vacant commercial space, something that is “undermining the economic, social and cultural wellbeing of the region while exasperating attempts to deliver sustainable settlement patterns”.

“Many of our towns and villages continue to experience high vacancy and dereliction rates along their main streets, with these empty residential and commercial properties providing extensive opportunities to improve housing supply, ensure our residents live closer to key public services and workplaces,” states the report.

A further 444 residential units were also vacant, despite the city experiencing a homelessness crisis and a severe shortage of housing.

Local Councillor Níall McNelis (Lab) said these figures were ‘staggering’ – particularly as the situation is likely to have worsened due to the impact of Covid-19 on businesses.

“A lot of these commercial units would probably be better used as residential units and I believe that is something local government could sort out – if it was given the power to do so.

“Instead, national government has far too much of a hold on it. It would require national legislation but I think we need to look at taxing vacant units if no effort is being made to fill them,” said Cllr McNelis.

There were several cases where ‘very large investors’ had bought up these properties for ‘half nothing’ and left them to rot while there were people in the city crying out for living space, he continued.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from

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