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CITY TRIBUNE

Mugger jailed for vicious attacks

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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.

CITY TRIBUNE

Elective surgeries cancelled at UHG as overcrowding continues

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Some non-urgent elective surgeries are being cancelled at UHG in a bid to tackle severe overcrowding at the city hospital.

It follows the issuing of a warning from the Saolta Hospital Group that the emergency department is extremely busy and there is ongoing pressure on bed availability.

General Manager at UHG, Chris Kane, says over 500 people presented at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday.

She says the overcrowding situation is very serious, particularly in relation to the ED, the Surgical Unit and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit.

Members of the public are urged to only attend the hospital in the case of emergency, and contact their GP or out-of-hours service if their health problem is not urgent.

Saolta is also reminding the public that the Injury Unit at Roscommon University Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, to treat adults and children over 5.

Speaking to Keith Finnegan on Galway Talks, Chris Kane said the current level of patients presenting is extremely high and “unusual” for this time of year.

She also noted there’s also been a rise in patients being treated for Covid-19, including in the ICU.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Mercury hit 30°C for Galway City’s hottest day in 45 years

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –

Wednesday was the hottest day in the city over the past 45 years when with a high of 30.1 Celsius being recorded at the NUI Galway Weather Station.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the city dates back to June 30, 1976, when the late Frank Gaffney had a reading of 30.5° Celsius at his weather station in Newcastle.

Pharmacists and doctors have reported a surge in people seeking treatment for sunburn.

A Status Yellow ‘high temperature warning’ from Met Éireann – issued on Tuesday – remains in place for Galway and the rest of the country until 9am on Saturday morning.

It will be even hotter in the North Midlands, where a Status Orange temperature warning is in place.

One of the more uncomfortable aspects of our current heatwave has been the above average night-time temperatures and the high humidity levels – presenting sleeping difficulties for a lot of people.
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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CITY TRIBUNE

Property Tax hike voted down in Galway City

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to boost Galway City Council coffers by half a million euro every year by increasing Local Property Tax (LPT) did not receive the support of city councillors.

Councillor Peter Keane (FF) failed to get a seconder at this week’s local authority meeting for his motion to increase the LPT payable on Galway City houses by 5%.

Cllr Keane said that the increase would net the Council €500,000 every year, which could be spent evenly on services across all three electoral wards.

It would be used to fund services and projects city councillors are always looking for, including a proposal by his colleague Cllr Imelda Byrne for the local authority to hire additional staff for city parks.

The cost to the taxpayer – or property owner – would be minimal, he insisted.

“It would mean that 90% of households would pay 37 cent extra per week,” he said.

Not one of the 17 other elected members, including four party colleagues, would second his motion and so it fell.

Another motion recommending no change in the current rate of LPT in 2022 was passed by a majority.
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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