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Man denies attack in Eyre Square was racially motivated



A man who followed and shouted abuse at a Polish man before punching him in the head, has denied the attack was racially motivated.

Ciaran Savage (22), from 20 Wellpark Grove, apologised at Galway District Court to the Polish man, who said he had been living and working in Galway for the last 13 years without incident.

Garda James Kavanagh said Savage approached the Polish man and his male Irish friend as they left Halo nightclub in the early hours of June 19, 2016. He followed them down Mary Street and became abusive when he realised they did not want to speak to him.

Garda Kavanagh said Savage noticed one of the men was not Irish and he began to shout abuse and try to hit him as all three walked along Eglinton Street, heading towards Eyre Square.

Passers-by intervened to help the Irish man in his efforts to keep Savage away from the Polish man, but to no avail.

Savage then came up behind the Polish man in Eyre Square and punched him into the side of the head before running away.

The Polish man and his friend decided to go to Galway Garda Station to make a complaint, but as they were walking down Shop Street, Savage again approached them and kicked the Irish man in the hip.

Savage pleaded guilty in court to two assault charges.

The court heard Savage had six previous convictions. Four were for Public Order offences, one was for possession of drugs, while the sixth was for possession of a knife.

He was convicted of the latter offence in 2014 and was fined €200 at the time.

Defence solicitor, Brian Gilmartin said his client’s offending behaviour in the past was due to alcohol abuse. He said Savage had since addressed that issue with the help of the probation service and no longer drank.

The Polish man told the court Savage had followed him because he was not Irish and had shouted abuse at him because he was not Irish.

Judge Fahy asked the man if he thought the assault was racially motivated.

The man nodded. “I’m Polish. I’m here 13 years and this was the first time I was approached like this,” he said.

Savage apologised to the man for his behaviour on the night and claimed it was out of character.

“I work with Polish people and I’ve never had an issue with people from other countries. For me to call you names because you come from another country? That is out of character for me,” Savage said.

He told Judge Fahy he no longer went out drinking because the probation service had helped him realise drink did not suit him and he just couldn’t do that anymore.

In reply to Judge Fahy, the Polish man declined an offer of compensation and said he would prefer any compensation to go to a charity.

The judge directed Savage pay €800 into court and she would donate it to Our Lady’s Boys’ Club, which takes boys on supervised holidays.

The judge asked the Polish man if he accepted Savage’s apology or was he still concerned about his attitude.

The man said he had become very concerned when he heard just moments before that Savage had a previous conviction for carrying a knife.

“He ran at me and punched me from behind that night. It could have been a knife, so for that reason I’m very worried,” the man replied.

Judge Fahy said the Polish man’s disappointment – at being targeted after being in Ireland for so many years – was really coming across to the court.

She warned Savage he was possibly looking at a custodial sentence but it might be suspended if he paid the compensation and be of good behaviour.

She remanded him on continuing bail to July for payment of €800 and ordered him to stay away from the men.


Elective surgeries cancelled at UHG as overcrowding continues



Galway Bay fm newsroom – Some non-urgent elective surgeries are being cancelled at UHG in a bid to tackle severe overcrowding at the city hospital.

It follows the issuing of a warning from the Saolta Hospital Group that the emergency department is extremely busy and there is ongoing pressure on bed availability.

General Manager at UHG, Chris Kane, says over 500 people presented at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday.

She says the overcrowding situation is very serious, particularly in relation to the ED, the Surgical Unit and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit.

Members of the public are urged to only attend the hospital in the case of emergency, and contact their GP or out-of-hours service if their health problem is not urgent.

Saolta is also reminding the public that the Injury Unit at Roscommon University Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, to treat adults and children over 5.

Speaking to Keith Finnegan on Galway Talks, Chris Kane said the current level of patients presenting is extremely high and “unusual” for this time of year.

She also noted there’s also been a rise in patients being treated for Covid-19, including in the ICU.

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Mercury hit 30°C for Galway City’s hottest day in 45 years



From this week’s Galway City Tribune –

Wednesday was the hottest day in the city over the past 45 years when with a high of 30.1 Celsius being recorded at the NUI Galway Weather Station.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the city dates back to June 30, 1976, when the late Frank Gaffney had a reading of 30.5° Celsius at his weather station in Newcastle.

Pharmacists and doctors have reported a surge in people seeking treatment for sunburn.

A Status Yellow ‘high temperature warning’ from Met Éireann – issued on Tuesday – remains in place for Galway and the rest of the country until 9am on Saturday morning.

It will be even hotter in the North Midlands, where a Status Orange temperature warning is in place.

One of the more uncomfortable aspects of our current heatwave has been the above average night-time temperatures and the high humidity levels – presenting sleeping difficulties for a lot of people.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Property Tax hike voted down in Galway City



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to boost Galway City Council coffers by half a million euro every year by increasing Local Property Tax (LPT) did not receive the support of city councillors.

Councillor Peter Keane (FF) failed to get a seconder at this week’s local authority meeting for his motion to increase the LPT payable on Galway City houses by 5%.

Cllr Keane said that the increase would net the Council €500,000 every year, which could be spent evenly on services across all three electoral wards.

It would be used to fund services and projects city councillors are always looking for, including a proposal by his colleague Cllr Imelda Byrne for the local authority to hire additional staff for city parks.

The cost to the taxpayer – or property owner – would be minimal, he insisted.

“It would mean that 90% of households would pay 37 cent extra per week,” he said.

Not one of the 17 other elected members, including four party colleagues, would second his motion and so it fell.

Another motion recommending no change in the current rate of LPT in 2022 was passed by a majority.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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