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Mugger jailed for vicious attacks




A 25-year-old mugger has been sentenced to four years in prison, with the final year suspended, for assaulting people while robbing their mobile phones.

Father of two, James Barrett, 46 Beal Srutha, Ballybane, pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court to carrying out three robberies and two serious assaults on young people he attacked at random in the early hours of September 15, 2017.

Garda Pat Foley told the sentence hearing Barrett came upon two young men going into their apartment at St Brendan’s Avenue, Woodquay around 2.30am following a night out and demanded they hand over their wallets and mobile phones.

The young men refused and a struggle ensued during which one of them was assaulted and a mobile phone taken from him.

Barrett ran and went to Eyre Square where he walked through a large congregation of students who had just come out of various nightclubs.  He approached a young man who was on his iPhone 5. He was punched in the face when he refused to hand it over and suffered a cut lip and damage to his teeth.

His friend was knocked unconscious when he tried to intervene. He suffered a gash to the back of his head when he hit the pavement and was removed by ambulance to hospital.

Barrett kept moving through the crowd and punched another man in the face too. His phone was stolen from him as he lay unconscious on the ground. He regained consciousness at the scene and declined to go to hospital.

Garda Foley said he located Barrett a short time later, arrested him and took him to Galway Garda Station where he found €85 and an e-cigarette on him during a search.

The e-cigarette belonged to the last victim who had been knocked unconscious in Eyre Square and the €85 matched the amount stolen from two of the other victims.

Barrett admitted his involvement in the spate of muggings but said he had a hazy recollection due to his intoxication from drink and drugs.

None of the victims wished to come to court and all declined to give victim impact statements.

Garda Foley confirmed Barrett had 26 previous convictions including five for similar type assaults and several for thefts and was out on bail at the time of the offences. He had received custodial and suspended sentences in the past.

Defence barrister, Aisling Wall said Barrett received a three-year sentence with one year suspended in Roscommon in November 2017 for assaulting another prisoner and that sentence had just expired.

She said Barrett was sorry for what he did to the victims.

His father had died when he was a teenager and this had an effect on him.

Ms Wall said Barrett had two young children now and he only got to see them a couple of times a year since being in prison.

“He doesn’t want to be going in and out of prison for the rest of his life, like his father was,” Ms Wall added.

Reading probation and psychiatric reports which had been handed into count on Barrett’s behalf, Judge Rory McCabe remarked Barrett was blaming his father and everyone else for his actions but only he could change his behaviour.

He sentenced him to four years with the final year suspended for five years for each of the robbery charges, the sentences to run concurrently.

He imposed concurrent three-year sentences for the assault charges and recommended Barrett receive addiction treatment if he wanted to while serving his sentence.


Galway City businesses determined to weather lockdown storm

Stephen Corrigan



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Despite devastation for city businesses this week amid a return to lockdown, many remain determined to weather the storm – and with the Council’s approval this week of additional measures to entice people to the city centre when restrictions ease, there is a hope that a good Christmas could save them.

Level 5 restrictions which came into force on yesterday (Thursday) have forced ‘unessential’ retailers to close their doors once again in an attempt by Government to get a handle on spiralling numbers of Covid-19.

And while those affected, mainly in the retail and hospitality sectors, are facing huge challenges to keep their heads above water, they had to remain positive that all was not lost if coronavirus could be got under control over the next six weeks.

Anthony Ryan, of the Galway City Business Association, said that while closing their clothes shops had been hugely disappointing, he had to remain optimistic.

“We just have to stay going and remain positive. Our clothes division is non-essential so that is temporarily closed, in line with the Government guidelines. Items necessary for households are essential so that means our home store remains open.

“Business had recovered quite well by September, but once Level 3 was introduced, there was a big fall off for everybody,” he told the Galway City Tribune.

Many businesses, including his own, had made huge strives to improve their online offering in recent months and it was his hope that people would continue to support local when they shopped online, even if they couldn’t get in to the physical stores.

“Online sales continue to be very strong. We hope to have our fashion website up in a couple of weeks, so there has been a lot of work going into that in the background,” said Mr Ryan.

Meanwhile, councillors this week backed a plan that will result in an overhaul of traffic flow in the city core – transforming Middle Street into a shared-surface and eliminating all cars not owned by residents on the street – ruling out full pedestrianisation due to residents’ requirements.
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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Plan for new cross-city public transport corridor go on display

Enda Cunningham



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway City Council is hopeful that a proposed new public transport corridor – linking the western and eastern suburbs through the city centre – could be ready to go for planning permission next year.

This week, a six-week public consultation process began on the ‘Cross-City Link’.

The Council is hopeful that a planning application could be submitted to An Bord Pleanála next year, and if approved, it would take 12-18 months to construct.

The Cross-City Link begins at the junction of University Road and Newcastle Road and continues across the Salmon Weir Bridge, through St Vincent’s Avenue, St Francis Street, Eglinton Street, Eyre Square, Forster Street, College Road and on to the Dublin Road.

“Through traffic, with no specific destination in the city centre, will be diverted,” the City Council said.

Uinsinn Finn, Senior Engineer with the Council said: “This corridor will connect homes with places of work, study, retail and recreation, with improved public transport journey times and reliability.

“High-quality public spaces, new and upgraded pedestrian and cyclist facilities and public transport priority will be provided, making it easier to move through the city, and to access destinations by sustainable means.

“This will create a safer place for pedestrians, cyclists and the mobility-impaired, and public transport services will move more freely. Deliveries and access to carparks will be facilitated, as will access to homes or businesses.

“The Council invites the public, landowners and other stakeholders to review the proposals, and to share their feedback,” said Mr Finn.

He said that schemes such as the new corridor are key projects and are “essential” to keeping the city moving.

“They are key to supporting sustainable travel modes and to support the ambitious targets for Galway as set out in the National Development Plan,” Mr Finn added.

He said it is anticipated the proposal can be submitted for planning consent next year, and subject to permission being granted, it would take 12-18 months to complete.
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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Pilot initiative will restrict car traffic around Galway City school

Stephen Corrigan



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors have backed a proposal to restrict car traffic around Scoil Iognáid on Raleigh Row as part of a ‘School Streets’ pilot project.

The initiative, which involves a time-specific curtailment on cars at school drop-off and pick-up times, will result in the pedestrianisation of Raleigh Row, Palmyra Park and Palmyra Avenue – closed to traffic from 8.15am to 9.15am; and 1.15pm to 2.45pm.

Due to start on November 2, residents in the area will still be allowed access, but have been asked to “avoid using their car during the periods of pedestrianisation”, while those with blue badges will also be permitted to drive in the area.

Signage indicating the restrictions will be erected, while Gardaí and community wardens will enforce the pedestrianisation and parking respectively.

‘Park and Stride’ will be encouraged for getting children to school when no alternative is available, whereby parents park a short distance from the school and finish the remainder of the journey by foot – with registration enabling city school-goers’ parents to park for free in over 20 car parks.

Arlene Finn of the City Council’s Transport Department told councillors that 145 parents at Scoil Iognáid had already registered for this initiative, and by introducing the School Streets programme, the area would become infinitively safer and more appealing to parents and children wishing to walk or cycle to school.
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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