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CITY TRIBUNE

Mugger jailed for pizza knife attack on couple at Spanish Arch

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A 31-year-old mugger has been sentenced to eight years in prison with the final 18 months suspended for slashing a couple across their necks with a pizza knife while attempting to rob them.

Imposing the sentence at Galway Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Rory McCabe likened the slash wounds to the horrific machete attacks inflicted on people during the genocide in Rwanda some years ago.

The judge said the couple were lucky to be alive, especially the man, who had suffered a deep, 13cm life-threatening laceration to his neck.

Father-of-two, Frank McDonagh (31), of 31 Tulach Ard, Rahoon, initially appeared before Galway Circuit Criminal Court in February where he pleaded guilty, moments before his trial was due to begin, to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to a 28-year-old man at the Spanish Arch on March 30 last year.

He also pleaded guilty to assaulting a 22-year-old woman, causing her harm on the same occasion and to producing a knife, capable of inflicting serious injuries, during the course of the attempted robberies.

Garda Pat Foley told the sentence hearing this week that a couple were sitting on a bench at 1.15am on March 30 last year near the water’s edge at the Spanish Arch when McDonagh approached them.

He took out a pizza knife which had a curved four-inch blade and demanded the girl hand over her handbag and that both of them hand over their phones and all of their cash.

The couple refused and a struggle ensued, during which McDonagh sliced across the man’s neck, inflicting a deep 13 cm laceration from just below his left earlobe to the middle of his neck at the front.

The young woman went to the man’s aid and McDonagh sliced the knife downwards through her left ear from the top, right down to the lobe.

He then sliced the knife again across the left-hand side of her neck.

She fell to the ground, bleeding heavily.

A passerby saw what was happening and tackled McDonagh to the ground.  He disarmed him and threw the knife into the river to stop any further assault taking place. He managed to restrain McDonagh on the ground until Gardai arrived at the scene.

McDonagh was arrested and taken to the Garda station while the couple, who were both bleeding heavily, were removed to hospital by ambulance.

CCTV in the area captured the assault. The footage was shown to McDonagh but he denied at all times that he had been carrying a knife.

Garda Foley said he went to McDonagh’s sister’s house, where McDonagh had been staying at the time, and noticed that a pizza knife was missing from a block of knives in her kitchen. It matched a description of the knife used in the assaults.

The couple showed their respective injuries to Judge McCabe in court. Both have been left with permanent scars.

Garda Foley read their victim impact statements into evidence.

Both expressed fear at being alone while walking around Galway since the attack. Both said the scars reminded them of what happened that night.

Garda Foley said McDonagh had 90 previous convictions and had been out on bail for other offences when he committed these crimes.

McDonagh went into the witness box and said he had begun to seek help for his addictions for the first time in his life since being in prison for these offences.  He said he was very sorry for the injuries he caused.

“I didn’t set out to hurt anyone. I know I done it,” he said.

Judge McCabe dismissed this out of hand and said the possession of the pizza knife showed “clear premeditation.”

Reading medical reports which were handed into court, the Judge said the couple were lucky to be alive, particularly the man, who had sustained the most serious injury which was deemed life-threatening by the surgeon who treated him.

Viewing graphic photos of the injuries, particularly the man’s neck injury which were taken on the night by Garda Denis Sweeney, the judge said it reminded him of the horrific injuries inflicted on people during the genocide in Rwanda some years ago, when people were hacked to death with machetes.

The judge sentenced McDonagh to eight years in prison for the serious assault on the man, and suspended the final 18 months.

He imposed a concurrent four-year sentence for the assault on the woman and a further concurrent four-year sentence for the possession of the knife.

CITY TRIBUNE

Drinks set to flow again in two landmark Galway premises

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Two popular Galway pubs that had been closed are to be given a new lease of life by an extended family.

The refurbishment of the former Central Bar in Woodquay has been almost completed and new owner Michael Gilmore will open the doors this weekend – just in time for the busy Christmas season.

The pub, in recent years known as The Lough Inn, had closed during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Mr Gilmore is a well-known publican in the city, running the Cellar Bar on Eglinton Street and Seven on Bridge Street. He also has a pub in the heart of Westport called An File.

Earlier this year his two nephews, Mark and Vinny Gilmore, bought Kelehan’s in Bushypark. They are overseeing a major overhaul on the large premises after many years behind closed doors.

Due to setbacks with building supplies, a planned opening by Christmas has now been pushed back until the spring.


This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the December 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune.  You can buy a digital edition HERE.


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CITY TRIBUNE

Warning to parents after Galway homes raided in child sexual abuse material investigation

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A senior Garda, who heads up Galway’s Protective Services unit, has advised parents to ‘tune into’ the daily dangers lurking on the internet in relation to child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

Detective Inspector Peter Conlon – who confirmed that four search warrants had been issued to search residences in the city over recent weeks for CSAM – urged all parents and guardians closely monitor their children’s access to the internet.

He told the Galway City Tribune it was critical that parents did not allow their children ‘unfettered access’ to the internet given the prevalence of sexual predators – often from other jurisdictions – who were trawling the net to make contact with children.

“Children may believe that they are making contact with other children but instead it may be adults seeking to establish a relationship with them and to get pictures of them.


This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the December 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.


“I would ask all parents to seriously and carefully consider the age at which they should give mobile phones to their children – any such decision needs to be age appropriate and where this happens it needs to be monitored closely by the parents,” said Det Insp Conlon.

He also said that parents and guardians should acquaint themselves, where practical, with the latest technologies which make it possible for them to be linked into their children’s phone or devices to monitor content and contacts at all times.

The searches in the city over the past two weeks resulted in the seizure of laptops and other electronic devices from three residences – they are currently being examined in detail by Garda technical experts at their regional HQ in Renmore. Det Insp Conlon said that while there had been no arrests in the city following the latest searches, the course of their investigations would be determined by the content and material found in the devices seized.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Just 85 affordable homes to be built in Galway City by 2025

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  A total of just 85 affordable homes will be built in Galway City during the remainder of the Government’s lifetime, it was revealed during a debate in the Seanad this week.

An animated Senator Ollie Crowe (FF) told Seanad Éireann that there would be “riots on the streets of Galway” at the disappointing news that was imparted to him by a junior minister.

In the Dáil, Junior Housing Minister, Malcolm Noonan, confirmed that it was planned to provide 85 affordable homes as part of a Merlin Woods development between now and 2025.

He understood that there were sites identified for affordable housing schemes in other parts of the city, but no applications had been received for funding.

“Housing delivery in Galway City Council is a matter for Galway City Council and it is down to the local authority to strike the balance in respect of social and affordable housing delivery.

“If the Senator feels that the local authority is not delivering enough in that regard, it is really a matter for them to drive a more ambitious agenda. The Department will not be found wanting in funding schemes,” Minister Noonan added.

But Senator Crowe yesterday told the Galway City Tribune that it was an incredibly disappointing and unacceptable answer that there would only be 85 new builds when it came to affordable homes.

(Image: Minister Malcolm Noonan said the new Merlin Woods development will include 85 affordable homes).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article,  see the December 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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