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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Six Shinners to contest Galway City local elections in 2024
Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley
Sinn Féin is planning to run two candidates in each city electoral ward in the next Local Elections in 2024.
Party number-crunchers nationally want to flood local election tickets with candidates to pick up extra seats and capitalise on anti-Government sentiment that is circulating among a cohort of voters.
The Shinners ran too few candidates in the last General Election. It meant they could not capitalise fully from a swing to the party during that campaign. They left seats behind them.
Now they’re planning to run a record number of candidates. In Galway, that would mean two candidates in each of the three areas, City West, City Central and City East.
The thinking is that they need to pick up additional seats in local authority elections, so that they have sufficient councillors to vote for Sinn Féin candidates in Seanad elections. More councillors equals more senators.
Sinn Féin is very much preparing for Government; and while the polls suggest it’s the most popular party (at 34% according to the latest in the Sunday Times last weekend) and would likely win most Dáil seats if an election was held tomorrow, it would still need numbers in the Seanad to pass legislation.
One problem faced by Sinn Féin is the party might find it difficult to source six credible candidates to contest local elections in Galway.
Another problem with running two, rather than one, in each ward in Galway City is that SF could split the vote and end up not winning any seats at all.
In 2019, Councillors Mairéad Farrell, Mark Lohan and Cathal Ó Conchúir all lost their seats after dismal local elections. Farrell was since elected to the Dáil following her Lazarus comeback but the organisation locally is still wary of a fickle Galway electorate.
If Sinn Féin doesn’t win back those three seats lost in 2019, then the next locals would be deemed a massive failure.
Winning more than three seats on Galway City Council would be a success but are the Shinners willing to risk running two candidates in each ward, splitting the vote and ending up with egg on their faces?
Photo: Mairéad Farrell with fellow Sinn Féin members Mark Lohan and Cathal Ó Conchúir (back left) after she was elected to the Dáil in 2020. All lost had their seats in Galway City Council in 2019 after dismal local elections.
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the January 27 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Galway is seventh-worst city in Europe for car traffic congestion
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Car traffic congestion in Galway is quickly rebounding to pre-pandemic levels, with commuters spending up to 94 hours caught on the city’s gridlocked arteries last year.
According to data compiled by INRIX, a world-leader in mobility data, Galway is the seventh-worst city in Europe for congestion, an 84% increase on its position in 2021.
The data shows that Galway places in the worst 50 cities in the world for congestion – taking 39th place, with Dublin the only other Irish city placing higher at Number 12.
While the figures show that car traffic has not fully returned to pre-Covid levels, the 2022 figures came within 13% of 2019 congestion rates.
This was despite vast numbers continuing to work from home last year, a worrying trend according to the local People Before Profit representative Adrian Curran.
In Cork, Limerick and Dublin, there had been a more lasting effect, showing decreases of 20%, 26% and 29% respectively, he said.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the January 27 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.
Galway 2020 paid €110,000 for PR while cutting spends on arts events
From this week’s City Tribune – Galway 2020’s bank account statements for five months of 2020 reveal thousands of euro were spent on public relations firms and media advertising when its cultural programme was being cut and ‘revised’ during the upheaval at the onset of Covid-19.
The AIB statements date from April to September of 2020, when Covid-19 had seriously curtailed cultural activities of Galway 2020, the company behind the city and county’s European Capital of Culture. They show more than €110,000 was paid to Dublin-based public relations firm Q4 PR, in three separate payments in April, May and June of 2020.
Thousands more were paid to other public relations firms, radio stations and, to a lesser extent, newspapers.
In March of that year, Galway 2020 announced it was reviewing its programme of events due to Covid-19 restrictions imposed by Government after a global pandemic was declared, curtailing all events.
On April 7, it confirmed it was laying off staff and had ended its agreement with Helen Marriage and Artichoke which was providing creative direction.
Later that month, it issued statements to say it was exploring a ‘re-imagined’ programme of events to take place at the end of 2020 and 2021.
Although the amounts paid to media and PR companies other than Q4 PR are relatively small, compared with expenditure on other headings, the payments suggest the importance Galway 2020 placed on image and public perception around that time.
The bank statements were released to the Galway City Tribune following a protracted Freedom of Information request and after an appeal to the Office of Information Commissioner.
Many of the payees in the bank statements were redacted but the names of several PR and media organisations are listed as having been paid by Galway 2020.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article with details of the spending, see the January 27 edition of the Galway City Tribune. There is also coverage of this week’s rebranding and new vision of Galway 2020. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.