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



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.


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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