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Man jailed for throttling Garda in violent struggle



A man who almost choked a Garda while holding him and another Garda in a ‘judo hold’ has been sentenced to a total of eighteen months in prison.

Daniel Bane (25), from 13 Ard Esker, Tuam Road, Athenry, appeared in custody before Galway District Court where he pleaded guilty to obstructing Garda Seamus O’Donnell and Garda Patricia Sloyan in the course of their duty, at Tesco, Oranmore, on August 16, last year.

He also pleaded guilty to the theft of a trolley-load of items worth €190, from the store on the same date and to the theft of €8 worth of dog treats, also on the same date.

Bane further pleaded guilty to having a claw hammer concealed in the door panel of a car he was driving while uninsured at Woodquay on January 20 last, and to having €10 worth of cannabis in his possession on the same date.

Sergeant Grace Hennessy told the court Garda O’Donnell and Garda Sloyan responded to a call and went to Tesco at 5pm where they found Bane being held by a member of security.

CCTV showed Bane leave the store without paying for a trolley full of items.  He then returned from the car park and entered the store again before taking bags of dog treats.

Security apprehended him on his return visit to the store and called Gardai. Bane became extremely violent when Garda O’Donnell told him he was about to be arrested.

Garda O’Donnell struggled to arrest Bane and both of them fell to the floor outside the entrance to Tesco.

Bane grabbed Garda O’Donnell by the throat with both hands and wrapped his legs around him. He kicked out at Garda Sloyan as she tried to pull Bane’s hands from Garda O’Donnell’s throat.

“He grabbed Garda O’Donnell by the throat and was trying to choke him. Garda O’Donnell could not release his grip and he was finding it difficult to breathe.

“Garda Sloyan tried to stop Daniel Bane from choking Garda O’Donnell and a violent struggle ensued,” Sgt Hennessy said.

Garda Sloyan told the court Bane kicked out at her, bruising her legs from her thighs down to her ankles as she tried to pull him off her colleague.

She said Bane then wrapped his legs around her while he was still throttling Garda O’Donnell and he managed to kick her in the back a number of times with his heels.

He released his grip on Garda O’Donnell and twisted her left wrist in an effort to break it as she tried to loosen his grip, she said.

Garda Sloyan shouted for help and a man who was shopping in Tesco at the time came to the Garda’s aid.

She said they could see Garda O’Donnell’s face turning red by this time as he could not free himself from Bane’s grip.

The bystander succeeded in releasing Bane’s grip but he too was kicked and Bane managed to bite him in the ribs. The bystander man, assisted by two other male customers, eventually helped in restraining Bane at the scene.

Sgt. Hennessy said Garda Sloyan suffered soft tissue injuries and “acute stress reaction” as a result of the assault and was off work for five weeks.

Garda O’Donnell gave evidence of the impact the attack had on him. He said Bane had tried to choke him and the attack had lasted “quite some time” before assistance arrived. He had been off work for seven weeks due to the injuries he sustained.

Defence solicitor, Brian Gilmartin, said Bane had some judo skills and had used him on this occasion. He said Bane smoked cannabis to excess and takes tablets.

He added Bane had a difficult upbringing. His mother and two sisters were present and a letter from one of the sisters was handed into court.

“Garda O’Donnell was within inches of being choked,” Judge Mary Fahy observed.

The court heard Bane had 20 previous convictions, mostly for Public Order offences.

Judge Fahy imposed sentences totalling eighteen months and she disqualified him for four years for driving without insurance.

Leave to appeal the sentences was granted.


Galway City Council Chief asked to intervene after Kirwan junction ‘near misses’



From the Galway City Tribune – Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, has been urged to intervene and instigate a review of the controversial changeover of Kirwan roundabout to a traffic light junction.

A relative of the Collins’ family, who operate a B&B on Headford Road, has pleaded with Mr McGrath to act to make it safe to enter and exit this house.

Joseph Murphy, from County Galway but living in England, a relative of the owners of the B&B located on the N84 side of the Headford Road, has warned of the potential for a serious collision at that junction.  He wrote to Mr McGrath, and copied all city councillors including Mayor of Galway, Clodagh Higgins (FG), seeking a review of the junction and in particular access to the B&B. Mr Murphy said he has been driving for forty years but this junction was “one of the most difficult and complicated traffic light junctions I have ever experienced”.

The CCTV shows a van stopping in the junction to give way to pedestrians before entering the B&B.

He said he wrote the letter because he nearly had a serious accident, due to no fault of his, when leaving the residence.

An amber traffic lights system is in place at the house, since the junction changeover last year, which is supposed to help motorists exit onto the Headford Road from the B&B.

This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. A one-year digital subscription costs just €89.00. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

He said the lights are complicated and it was unreasonable and unfair on his family and any guests staying at their B&B who may be endangered trying to enter or exit the driveway.

Videos of ‘near misses’ recorded on CCTV footage, and supplied to Councillor Mike Crowe (FF), have been seen by the Galway City Tribune.

They give a flavour of how dangerous it is to exit the residence on an amber light; and indicate an apparent lack of understanding of the system on the part of other motorists.

Cllr Crowe and other elected members raised this safety issue at a Council meeting last week during a discussion on the City Development Plan. It was decided to rezone some land adjacent to Sandyvale Lawn, which would allow for a new entrance to the house to be constructed, although there is no timeframe.

Mr Murphy, in his email to officials and councillors said it was an “extremely busy junction”.

“I do not believe that enough planning or consideration was taken when the traffic lights were installed, especially those that were installed directly in front of my sister’s house.

“My relatives in Galway should not have to worry every time they leave their house nor should anyone coming from the Menlo direction have to worry about getting blocked in by other vehicles when entering my sister’s house,” he said.

Mr Murphy added: “I would urge the Galway City Council to carry out an immediate review to make this busy junction safe before somebody gets hurt in a serious accident.”

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Plan for former pub in Galway to house Ukrainian refugees



From the Galway City Tribune – The former Lantern Bar in Ballybane has been proposed to accommodate Ukrainians seeking refuge in Galway.

The Galway City Tribune has learned that works are underway on the building to advance the plans.

The Council confirmed that they had been briefed on the proposal but refused to be drawn on the details.

“Galway City Council is aware of a proposal to use the Lantern Bar at Ballybane Shopping Centre for refugees,” said a spokesperson.

“The coordination of the development of accommodation facilities such as this is the responsibility of the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.”

This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. A one-year digital subscription costs just €89.00. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

The local authority spokesperson said they did not have information on the number of people who would be accommodated, nor did they know when the facility might be open.

The Lantern Bar has not operated as a pub for some time, although its licence was renewed on appeal at Galway Circuit Court in February 2020 when the court was told that it was intended to sell the premises.

The bar, which had been the location of a series of public order incidents in 2019, had previously had its licence revoked following several objections from residents.

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City centre residents’ fears over new late-night opening hours



From the Galway City Tribune – Residents in one of the city centre’s oldest residential areas fear their lives will be turned upside-down by proposed later opening hours for pubs and nightclubs.

Chairperson of the Bowling Green Residents’ Association, Jackie Uí Chionna, told a public meeting of the City’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC) that as city centre residents, anti-social behaviour was part of their daily lives.

However, they expected the situation to worsen if Government proceeded with proposals to extend nightclub opening hours to 6.30am.

“Our concern at our recent AGM was the longer pub opening hours – it will result in an increase in [anti-social behaviour],” said Ms Uí Chionna.

She said it was their belief that this policy went against the right of city centre residents to “exist and live as a community” in the middle of town.

“We oppose increasing opening hours. We won’t have any sleep – we have minimal as it is. And we won’t feel safe to walk on the streets.

“It is regrettable that there has been so little consultation with gardaí and residents,” said Ms Uí Chionna.

Chief Superintendent Gerard Roche said Gardaí were waiting to see what happened with the legislation for later opening hours.

“On one hand, not having 5,000 or 10,000 people coming out at the one time will be a benefit but the question is if they won’t [come out at one time]. And will businesses buy into it?” questioned the Chief Supt.

Meanwhile, another Bowling Green resident and former city councillor, Nuala Nolan, raised concerns about the new model of policing and said rostering, which had gardaí working three days on and four days off was making it difficult to follow up on matters with community gardaí.

“You can’t get that person when they’re off for another four days – the continuity is gone,” said Ms Nolan.

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