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Mother of Inverin murder victim allowed to make amendment to legal challenge over compensation

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The mother of the victim of a murder which took place in Inverin has been allowed to make a significant amendment as part of her legal challenge over the State’s refusal to pay her compensation.
Magdalena Vonkova, from Prague in the Czech Republic, is the mother of Nicola Vonkova who was murdered when she was 19 by Jakub Fidler in July 2008.
He is serving life imprisonment after pleading guilty in 2010 to murder.
The victim’s mother has brought a High Court challenge against the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal’s refusal of her application for compensation.
It was refused because Ms Vonkova and Fidler, who had been friends, were residing in the same house at the time of her death.
The compensation scheme provides no money is payable “where the offender and the victim were living together as members of the same household at the time the injuries were inflicted”.
It is claimed that Ms Vonkova and Fidler lived in the same house but were not members of a household in the strict sense, and that the refusal to grant compensation should be quashed.
In a ruling on a preliminary issue in the case, Senan Allen said lawyers for the mother are entitled to amend their claim.
The Judge said he was satisfied to allow another ground on which the compensation scheme can be challenged by the mother.
The additional ground is that the scheme is allegedly incompatible with a person’s right to remedy guaranteed by Article 47 of the European Union’ s Charter of Fundamental Rights and in breach of EU law.
The mother’s lawyers claim the amendment is just and necessary for the purpose of determining the case.
At Fidler’s trial, the Central Criminal court was told in 2010 that Ms Vonkova died from strangulation following a row about spying on Fidler’s computer.
The pair first met in the Czech Republic when they were both working at a Tesco store.

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11 Galway schools included in Safe Routes to School programme

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Galway Bay FM Newsroom – 11 Galway schools are to receive funding to improve their walking and cycling infrastructure.

It’s part of the government’s Safe Routes to School programme, which aims to make children’s travels safer and tackle congestion at school gates.

Four primary schools in Galway city and seven primary and post primary schools in the county are among the 170 schools nationwide which have been included in the pilot scheme.

932 schools have expressed interest in the scheme since March, and will be included over time on a rolling basis.

Minister of State at the Department of Transport and Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton says the projects will provide enhanced infrastructure for children who want to cycle, walk or scoot to school.

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Audit criticises financial practices at Galway City Partnership

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Galway Bay FM Newsroom – An internal audit has criticised a number of financial practices at Galway City Partnership.

The investigation by Crowleys DFK accountants found the anti-poverty group made payments to contractors without receiving invoices, breached public procurement rules and did not regularly maintain accounting ledgers.

The Irish Times is reporting that auditors found Galway City Partnership’s accounting system ‘may not be fit for purpose’ and identified several weaknesses, which it said risked exposing the organisation to financial loss.

The audit, which was completed in February 2020, found the company’s general accounting ledgers were ‘not maintained on an ongoing basis’, and discrepancies between spending and allocated budgets were not tracked, it said.

One supplier had been providing services to the company for a number of years, ‘bypassing procurement procedures’, the audit said.

The investigation also criticised instances where payments were made without invoices being received.

In response, Galway City Partnership told the auditors the payments ‘were part of a research contract and as such no invoices were received’.

The report identified five high-risk weaknesses and concluded assurances that could be placed on the company’s financial controls were limited.

Declan Brassil, Galway City Partnership chief executive, said it had agreed a number of actions following the audit, which were now in place.

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City Council launches new cycle parking map

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Galway Bay FM Newsroom – Galway City Council has launched its new cycle parking map.

The dashboard has details of the over 1,000 on-street public cycle parking spaces available in the city.

It comes as the Local Authority installed 296 new cycle parking spaces in 2020 – as well as a further 66 spaces during the first quarter of this year.

The City Council says the new map will help it to identify locations where additional cycle parking is needed.

Those wishing to access the dashboard can find it online at galwaycity.ie/cyclingmap.

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