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Man went on wrecking rampage in hostel with iron bar




A man used an iron bar to cause almost €2,000 worth of damage to computers and other equipment in the foyer of the Great Western Hostel after he was told he was being transferred from there to Foynes by the Department of Justice.

Hasan Ali Gori (43), formerly of Room 410, Great Western Hostel, Frenchville Lane, Galway, denied causing criminal damage in the foyer on April 28, 2016, when he appeared before Galway District Court this week.

He also denied charges of producing a nail bar while committing an offence and breaching the peace by engaging in threatening, abusive and insulting words or behaviour on the same date.

Sean Hennelly, who owns the Great Western Hostel, gave evidence he came out of a meeting in an office adjacent to reception to find the whole area in a shambles.

Everything had been smashed, he said, including two desktop computers, a TV and one CCTV camera. The cost of the damage came to €1,891, he said. Mr Hennelly explained that on the morning in question, the defendant was being transferred to Foynes on the instructions of the Department of Justice.

Judge Mary Fahy asked Mr Hennelly if the man had been pleased or displeased to be moving from Galway to Foynes.

Mr Hennelly said Gori had not raised any issues with him that morning about the move, but he felt he was displeased.

Garda Pat Foley gave evidence he received a complaint that a man had entered the hostel brandishing an iron bar and had caused damage to the foyer area. He went to the premises where he found the defendant and an iron bar lying on the reception desk. The CCTV camera, which would have covered the foyer area, had been smashed, he said.

The iron/nail bar was shown to the court as an exhibit.

Security man, Paul Grealish, told the hearing he was sitting at a desk in the foyer when one of the residents arrived and took out a nail bar and started to smash up the computers, TV and CCTV in the reception area.

He said he came out from behind reception and the man calmed down when he asked him to do so.

“Before that, he was fairly loud and angry. Once I approached him, he just downed tools and stopped,” he said.

Defence solicitor, John Martin, said his client would deny smashing the place up.

Mr Grealish said there was no one else there that morning.

Following defence submissions, Judge Fahy refused an application to have the charges dismissed.

Gori said that everything the other witnesses had said was false. He denied causing any damage in the foyer and said he did not know who caused the damage.  He said that if he had caused the damage, then it would have been recorded on CCTV.

He confirmed he had been staying in Great Western Hostel since 2013.

Reading the court file, Judge Fahy observed the reason the matter took so long to come before the court was that the accused had changed solicitors on three occasions.

She convicted him, noting that he had denied the charges, saying it should have been shown on CCTV, which couldn’t be done, because he had broken it.

“His attitude and cynicism leaves a lot to be desired,” the judge said.

Imposing a six-month sentence for causing the criminal damage, the judge noted no compensation would be forthcoming from the accused and no apology either.

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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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