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Man tells Judge he couldn’t attend court due to series of funerals




A judge would love to know how many funerals a man attended over the last 14 years, given that when he was supposed to be in court he claimed to be attending funerals in his native Romania.

Judge Mary Fahy calculated that during her 14 years on the bench in Galway, Robert Samu – who has 33 previous convictions – had spent 99% of that time in Romania.

Samu (48), with an address at 33 Fana Glas, Ballybane, appeared in custody before Galway District Court last week on foot of four bench warrants which had been issued separately for his arrest.

Garda Damien Gormally gave evidence he was aware Samu would be attending the court that morning to answer a theft charge and he arrested him at the Courthouse on foot of a bench warrant issued by Blanchardstown District Court when Samu failed to appear before that court in July.

Garda Gormally said he had three other Galway bench warrants to execute against Samu, which had been issued under the Fines Act for non-payment of fines.

He said Samu had now paid the fines in full.

Judge Fahy remanded Samu on bail to appear before the court in Blanchardstown this Friday.  She then struck out the charges for non- payment of three fines, on hearing they had all now been paid.

The judge then turned her attention to the theft matter before the court.

Samu had pleaded guilty in July to the theft of €70 worth of engine oil from Calbro Motor Factors on the Tuam Road on March 24 last year.

The court heard at the time that he had 33 previous convictions, including some for other thefts.  Judge Fahy decided to have him assessed for community service in lieu of a prison sentence.

He was assessed by a probation officer in court and deemed to be a suitable candidate.

The judge then directed he carry out 140 hours’ community service in lieu of a five-month prison sentence.

Judge Fahy observed that a probation report handed into court this week in relation to Samu was not favourable.

Defence solicitor, Olivia Traynor said her client’s instructions to her were that both of his uncles had passed away and he had contacted the probation service.  She said she had explained to Samu at his last court appearance that it was his job to chase the probation service (about doing the community service) and not the other way around.

“He has 33 previous convictions and most of the time, when his cases are called in this court – and I’m here for 14 years – most of the time, 99% of the time, he is in Romania.

“This court is skirting around, trying to fit in what suits him and he thinks the probation officers should be doing the same now,” Judge Fahy said.

According to the report, which the judge read alound in court, Samu was in Romania every time an appointment was made for him on four different dates in July and August.

“This man has 33 previous convictions and this court has bent over backwards to suit him and he now expects that from every other service.  I’m afraid his luck has run out,” Judge Fahy said.

“In the last 14 years, I would like to know how many funerals he has been been to in Romania because he seems to be there a lot.

“The man has been making a fool out of the court for years,” Judge Fahy added before imposing the five-month sentence.

“He should have been thankful and grateful that the court gave him so many chances and that I even considered giving him community service given his 33 previous convictions,” the judge reasoned.  Leave to appeal the sentence was granted.


Residents call in the clampers to sort problem parking

Dara Bradley



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Residents in a Salthill estate have become tired of illegal parking outside their homes – and hired private clampers as a deterrent.

People living in Seamount off Threadneedle Road near Blackrock said they have been plagued by extra traffic and vehicles parking outside their homes, blocking access, during the latest Covid lockdown.

They said that since Galway City Council closed off the Prom to car parking, and closed the two public carparks, the cars have just migrated to Threadneedle Road and their estate.

Seamount is a private estate and the road has not been taken in charge by the Council. The residents have clubbed together and hired a clamping company, which will erect signs in the coming days and begin clamping illegally parked cars from next week.

Residents said they are also concerned that cars parked on Threadneedle Road are making it more difficult for buses to pass, and cause congestion.

A residents’ spokesperson said: “Since the lockdown, they closed off the Prom and closed off Salthill car park but people are still using the Prom and swimming off Blackrock. I have huge admiration for the swimmers, I do it myself when it’s warmer. But what’s happening is they park on both sides of Threadneedle Road, because there’re no yellow lines on either side of it and it’s not wide enough for cars to be parked either side of it, so buses are getting stuck.”
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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NUIG President’s upset at Covid breaches on campus

Enda Cunningham



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – “I work in the hospital and we have had a really awful six weeks. We have nowhere to sit down and have our breaks. We are exhausted and would long to see family and friends. To see public health guidelines [being flouted] on NUIG property is a kick in the teeth.”

These are the words of an angry and frustrated healthcare worker at University Hospital Galway in a message sent to the head of NUIG.

President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh told students and staff at the university this week that he found it “deeply frustrating” that some students were flouting public health guidelines.

The HSE has confirmed that there were at least 441 cases of Covid in the city’s 18-24 age group – which has affected 224 households – in the past three weeks.

“Our neighbours contacted me expressing their upset at what they see as activities by our students that do not respect the health and safety of the community at large. People who work in the health service, people who have lost friends and relations to Covid-19. I share their upset.

“I was struck, for example, by one particularly heartfelt message from a local healthcare worker and campus user who shared their frustration with me last week on seeing groups congregating and socialising on campus grounds and which they agreed we could share,” Prof Ó hÓgartaigh said.

The head of the university shared the message in an email to students and staff this week, adding that students had expressed frustration that study spaces were not open on campus and at the challenges posed by the constricted spaces in which they study.

NUIG confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it had imposed sanctions on a number of students in relation to Covid breaches, while there have been none at GMIT.
This is a brief 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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Principals band together for safer cycling infrastructure

Denise McNamara



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A total of 28 Galway City school principals have signed an open letter to the Minister for Transport and local councillors highlighting the need for safer cycling infrastructure around schools, to encourage students and staff to switch to bikes.

The push by Government to cycle or walk where possible during the pandemic has its limitations in a city where cycle lanes are rare and parents are too afraid to let their children cycle on narrow roads often choked with traffic.

A group of cycling enthusiasts in city schools has been campaigning to encourage the school community to engage with Galway City Council’s public consultation process for the next development plan which will have a key role in deciding whether cycling lanes or off-road cycle routes become a reality.

The first stage of the initial consultation process for the ‘City Development Plan 2023-2029, Your City, Your Future’ closes today (Friday). But the process will continue for two more years with more consultation encouraged once the draft plan is published.

This week a letter from 28 principals sent to councillors called for support for the provision of better cycle infrastructure in and around all schools. It has also been sent to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan and Galway West TD and Minister of State at Cabinet, Hildegarde Naughton.

“It is our view that existing road infrastructure around schools can be unsafe for children, teachers, and families who wish to cycle to school and we would like to encourage the development safe cycling routes in the future,” the letter states.

Principal of Coláiste na Coiribe, Eoghan Ó Ceallaigh, said it was important for the school community to get involved with the public consultation.

(Photo: Last year, the Council introduced a ‘School Streets’ pilot scheme at Scoil Iognáid, which bans cans during certain times, encouraging parents and children to walk or cycle. Schools now want proper cycling infrastructure put in place).
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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