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Man had part of ear bitten off in unprovoked attack




A 21-year-old man has been sentenced to three years in prison for biting off part of another man’s ear in an unprovoked assault in Eyre Square last year.

James Ward, 50 Gaelcarrig Park, Newcastle, appeared in custody before Galway Circuit Criminal Court, as he is already serving a total of twelve months in prison for a series of other assaults.

Ward pleaded guilty earlier this year to assaulting the 19-year-old man, causing him harm, at Eyre Square on March 20 last year and sentence was adjourned for the preparation of an impact statement from the victim and a probation report on the accused.

Garda Ronan Leonard told the sentence hearing a young County Clare man was sitting in Eyre Square with his girlfriend and a group of other friends at 5pm on the day in question when Ward came along and leaned in towards the victim.

Garda Leonard said the victim thought Ward wanted to say something to him and he leaned forward. Then, for no reason, Ward bit the top half of the young man’s right ear off before walking away.

Garda Leonard said the victim was in great pain and distress and without thinking he just started walking away from Eyre Square. He walked all the way out to GMIT and got on a bus which brought him home to County Clare.

In his victim impact statement, which Garda Leonard read on his behalf to the court, the victim said he was in a state of shock at the time and he just wanted to get out of Galway City as fast as he could.

He realised when he got home that the top half of his ear was missing.

He had to undergo surgery to stitch the wound, and more of the ear had to be removed where Ward’s teeth marks could be seen.

In his impact statement, the victim said he walked quickly out of Eyre Square and Galway City after the attack because he didn’t feel safe.

He said he did not want to come to court because he feared Ward or his friends would attack him.

He said he hated it when people asked him about his ear now.

“The assault has ruined my life. It has turned my life upside-down.

“I wasn’t the most confident person before this happened and I’m worse now,” he said.

Garda Leonard said Ward had four previous convictions. Two were for serious assaults, one was for a less serious assault, and one was for sending obscene and threatening text messages.

Ward, he said, was currently serving sentences totalling twelve months and was due for release in October.

Defence barrister, John Hogan, said his client pleaded guilty to this attack at the earliest opportunity.  This, he said, had spared the victim from having to give evidence and he would have known for a long time that he would not have to come to court.

He said he asked Ward why he had not proffered an apology to the victim and Ward told him he had been warned as part of his bail conditions not to make any contact with the victim.

Ward wrote a letter of apology which was handed into court. In it, he said he had been drinking and taking prescription drugs at the time of the assault.

He said he had seen his father dead when he was 13 and he had been bullied as a youngster because he had bad eyesight. He claimed he was also angry because some of his friends had committed suicide.

Mr Hogan said Ward was doing very well in prison. He was attending several educational classes and had applied to do an anger management course as well.

In his letter to Judge Rory McCabe, which was read out to the court, Ward said: “I’ve seen what prison is like and it’s not the life for me.”

Mr Hogan conceded a negative report from the probation service was of concern and his client knew he was going to get a custodial sentence for this latest assault.

“He is appalled by his own actions and he wants to apologise to the victim now,” Mr Hogan added.

Judge McCabe said alcohol, drugs and a propensity towards violence contributed to Ward inflicting this horrendous injury.

He said the accused offered no explanation for his actions and had been dishonest in his dealings with the probation service as stated in its report to the court.

The victim impact statement was “disturbing” and it related the victim’s ongoing fear of Ward, the judge noted.

He placed the offence at the top end of the scale of gravity, bearing in mind, he said, Ward’s previous convictions for violent assaults and his lack of insight into his victim’s suffering, as reported by the probation service.

“His expression that he would ‘consider’ apologising is the way the probation service reported his attitude and the service is of the view that he was not committed to apologising at all,” Judge McCabe said.

He said Ward had been untruthful in the past so he had no confidence in his attempts to convince the court that he was interested in rehabilitation.

“It’s no more than a last-minute attempt to ‘sweeten the bitter pill’.

“He’s expressed remorse now through his barrister, but only he knows if he means it; if he is sorry for what he did, or merely sorry for being caught,” Judge McCabe said.

He then sentenced Ward to three years in prison, the sentence to run concurrently to the sentences he is already serving.


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

Stephen Corrigan



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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Galway farm operators fall fowl of locals

Dara Bradley



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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Cold water poured on Spanish Arch ‘bushing’ sprinkler plan

Dara Bradley



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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