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Man to pay €5,000 compo for broken bottle assault

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A 62-year-old man, who was found guilty by a jury of assaulting another man with a broken bottle, has had his sentence hearing deferred to October after he showed up in court with €2,000 compensation for the victim.

Peadar Macken, a native of Rosmuc, and c/o The Fairgreen Hostel, Galway, has also promised to pay an additional €3,000 by October to Martin Whelan (66) from Beal an Dangan, Leitir Mór, whom he stabbed in the throat and face with a broken bottle at Mr Whelan’s home, on May 28, 2008.

Macken pleaded not guilty during a three-day trial at Galway Circuit Criminal Court last November to assaulting Mr Whelan, causing him harm, at Beal an Dangan, Leitir Mór on May 28, 2008.

He also denied a second charge of producing a broken bottle capable of causing injury, while committing the assault, on the same occasion.

Sentence was adjourned to last week.

Mr Whelan sustained a deep laceration to his throat and cheek in the drink-fuelled attack.

Macken had been homeless at the time and he asked Whelan earlier on the date of the attack, when he met him by chance in Galway city, if he could come and stay with him for a bit.

Both men travelled on the bus to Carraroe that evening and began drinking in Whelan’s house.

Whelan told the trial that when he asked Macken later that night not to smoke in bed, he became very violent and hit him on the side of the head with a whiskey bottle.  The bottle broke and when Whelan fell to the ground, Macken kneeled on his chest and stabbed him in the neck and face.

He began bleeding profusely but managed to stagger from the house and raise the alarm.  Gardaí and ambulance personnel quickly arrived at the scene.

Macken claimed he could not remember any of the events of that night when he was arrested by Sgt. Brendan Kineavy.

Macken was later charged with the offences but insisted he have his trial heard through Irish in front of a bilingual jury.

The application was refused in the Circuit Criminal Court in 2009, and that decision was appealed to the High Court and later the Supreme Court.  Both superior courts upheld the Circuit Court ruling.

Judge Rory McCabe referred last Friday to the seven-year delay in bringing the case to trial and said it was “a ferocious waste of taxpayer’s money” as Macken had effectively abandoned any objections he had to having the trial heard in Irish, once a trial date had been fixed.

Hearing Macken had not drank in six and a half years, was remorseful and wanted to pay an additional €3,000 to the victim, Judge McCabe adjourned sentence to October 6.

He asked Sgt. Kineavy to speak to the victim and see if he wanted to accept the compensation at all.

The judge said he wanted Macken assessed in the meantime by the probation service to see if he was a suitable candidate to carry out community service in lieu of a prison sentence.

He indicated that if Whelan was not willing to accept compensation the matter could be brought back before the court.

CITY TRIBUNE

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

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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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CITY TRIBUNE

Property Tax hike voted down in Galway City

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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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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City Council needs 40 more workers to help deliver on projects

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Forty more workers are needed at City Hall ‘right away’, the Chief Executive of Galway City Council has said.

Brendan McGrath has warned city councillors that the local authority is understaffed and it needs to hire more staff immediately to deliver its plans and projects.

The total cost of the extra 40 workers, including salary, would be between €1.75 million and €1.95 million.

Mr McGrath said that the City Council had a workforce now that was below what it had in 2007, but the city’s population has grown and so too had the services the Council provides.

The population of Galway City grew by almost 11% in the 10 years to 2016, he said, and total staff numbers in the Council fell by 13.6% during that period.

Though more staff were hired in recent years, Mr McGrath said that the Council was at 2007 and 2008 staffing levels, even though the Census will record further increases in population since 2016.

Mr McGrath said that the City Council now provides 1,000 services across a range of departments, far more than during the 2000s.

He said that currently, 524 staff are employed at the City Council. This equated to 493 Whole Time Equivalents when part-time workers such as school wardens and Town Hall workers are included.

Mr McGrath said that 12% of all staff are in acting up positions, with many more in short-term or fixed-term contracts. There was a highly competitive jobs market and the Council was finding recruitment and retention of specialist staff difficult.
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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