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Connacht Tribune

Man jailed for using coercive behaviour to control family

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A man whose young children fear for their mother’s safety once he is released from custody, has been sentenced to three years in prison for using coercion to control his family.

Imposing the sentence at Galway Circuit Criminal Court this week, Judge Rory McCabe concurred with the findings of psychiatric and probation reports handed into court, that 49-year-old Paul Harkin posed a high risk of reoffending and of committing violence against his partner.

Harkin, a native of Derry who formerly lived with his wife and two children near Kilchreest, Loughrea, pleaded guilty before the court last January to knowingly and persistently engaging in behaviour that was controlling or coercive on a date unknown between June 24 and August 13 last year at an unknown location, which had a serious effect on a woman who is or was his spouse, and the behaviour was such that a reasonable person would consider it likely to have a serious effect on a relevant person, contrary to Section 39 (1) and (3) of the Domestic Violence Act, 2018.

Judge McCabe heard evidence at Harkin’s sentence hearing last week but adjourned finalisation of sentence until this week to consider the findings of comprehensive psychiatric and probation reports.

The court heard Harkin believed in several conspiracy theories and his coercive control of his wife and two young children, then aged nine and seven, escalated on the run-up to the children’s impending return to school last September as he feared they would be vaccinated against Covid 19, which he believed was a hoax.

He made veiled threats to his now former wife, Fiona Clarke, that he would burn their house down, and the homes of her extended family without warning, resulting in the loss of twelve lives, if she did not behave and do as she was told.

The court heard Ms Clarke went out to work while her husband stayed at home. He got her to withdraw money from her account on a regular basis and give it to him. He spent most days watching conspiracy videos on his phone and drinking beer, the court heard.

In her victim impact statement, which Ms Clarke read to the court, she said she lived in fear for the future when Harkin got out of prison.

“I went against Paul by speaking out and I am now terrified of the consequences. I don’t know if he will want revenge,” she said.

Detective Sergeant Paul Duane told the court that he arrested Harkin on September 2 last year.

He confirmed Harkin had previous convictions from Northern Ireland in 1998 for threatening to kill a former partner there, for two aggravated burglaries and causing criminal damage for which he had received a two-year suspended sentence.

Judge Rory McCabe said Harkin’s 1998 convictions showed he had ‘form’.

The judge placed the headline sentence at four-and-a-half years which he said, reflected the gravity of the offence, which carries a maximum tariff of five years.

Taking the early plea, Harkin’s expression of remorse, and his intention to leave the jurisdiction and go back to live in Derry as mitigating factors, Judge McCabe said the sentence he had in mind was three years.

However, he decided not to finalise the structure of that sentence until this week, stating this was a complex matter and he needed more time to consider the reports before the court.

Judge McCabe said an immediate custodial sentence was unavoidable and warranted when passing sentence this week.

The judge said he believed Harkin would make no effort to rehabilitate and it was his belief he would pose an ongoing risk of reoffending.

Imposing the three-year sentence, the judge directed Harkin to have no contact with the victims and come under the supervision of the probation service for twelve months on his release from prison.

Connacht Tribune

Magnificent property boasts all the elegance of a showhouse

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High standard of finish: Bóthar na Mias in Kinvara.

Farrell Auctioneers are handling the sale of this magnificent home at Bóthar na Mias in Kinvara.

Number 19 simply oozes style and there’s no question it’s right up there with the best of showhouses.

It boasts character and comfort with its design allowing light to flow brightly throughout – thanks to the large glass wall window it features.

A three-bed property, there is also potential for a fourth bedroom on the ground floor. The living area and kitchen are tastefully designed and laid out with modern day comforts in mind.

The bespoke kitchen is every homemakers dream, with its floor to ceiling kitchen units as well as many other features.

This beautiful residence is located within walking distance of Kinvara Bay which is one of the most desirable places to live in the world. Not alone would the property make a beautiful family home and the occupants would have the benefit of the unrivalled natural beauty that the area has to offer, but this lively picturesque village has all amenities needed for everyday living such as schools, childcare, post office, a host of restaurants/cafes/bars, playground, medical centre, hotel, GAA facilities not to mention the instant access to a selection of beaches dotted along the Wild Atlantic way.

Selling agent Colm Farrell said: “This property has to be viewed to appreciate both the dwelling and the stunning setting.”

 The asking price is €450,000. For further information or to arrange a viewing, contact Farrell Auctioneers on 091 632688.

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Country Living

Bemoaning loss of innocence in a sport driven by big bucks

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Brazil dazzled the world of football in 1970 with their mix of pace, grace and sheer footballing class.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

I’m not big into trying to resolve the huge issues of the world like wars, climate change or attempting to dethrone the obnoxious Elon Musks of this world, primarily on the basis that my influence would be akin to a moth trying to stop a herd of charging elephants.

And, I suppose at this stage, I have to accept that it’s far too late to try and call a halt to the World Cup proceedings in Qatar but for the life of me, the event doesn’t even send a sliver of enthusiasm through my nervous system.

Maybe, it’s an old-fashioned streak that’s there inside of me, but the thought of watching World Cup matches in the run-up to Christmas just doesn’t seem right. Okay, so it will be about 30°C in the heart of the Qatar desert but watching a World Cup semi-final in the middle of the Christmas office party is just a stretch too far for me.

Alas, World Cup memories go back a long way with me to a late Sunday in July 1966 when as a ‘small boy’ I was given the job of ‘minding’ the house while the ‘rest of them’ saved a small field of hay a couple of miles away from the house.

Of course, at the time there wasn’t even a faint chance of a black-and-white TV in the house, while visits to any abode that might have a telly, were strictly confined to a Sunday with the stipulation that Galway footballers had to be involved.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Tractor run will remember a local legend

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Some members of the 10-person organising committee for the PJ Mahoney Memorial Tractor Run that takes place in Ardrahan on Sunday, December 11. (Left to right): Anthony Whelan, Brian Kilkelly, Declan Sylver, Patrick Mahoney and Aonghusa Fahy. Absent from the photo are: Mary Forde, Lena Taylor, Conor O’Dea, Gerald Harney and Mícheál Kelly.

THE PJ Mahoney Memorial Tractor Run will take place on Sunday, December 11, in memory of a very well-known and highly regarded figure within the Ardrahan and South Galway local community, who passed away just a year ago this month.

PJ Mahoney was steeped in farming and the GAA and for this he was known far and wide. He was a talisman for Ardrahan GAA, playing in goals for the senior hurling team when they won county hurling titles in 1974, 1975 and 1978.

All down through the years, he was a most dedicated and guiding servant to the club up until his untimely death in a road accident last year.

PJ farmed locally throughout his life and was well known as an agricultural contractor in both Galway and North Clare, a business carried on by his son Patrick.

There are many tales and anecdotes of PJ Mahoney that still bring a smile to the faces of those recalling them.

He was a keystone in the local community, the neighbour you could always call on, and indeed the neighbour that didn’t need to be called upon as he would turn up to help regardless.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

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 Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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