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 family’s light show adds magic to Christmas
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Carrick Family Light Show returns tonight (Friday) as 70,000 lights are illuminated in aid of a worthy local charity.
The man behind the lights spectacular, James Carrick, says test runs this week have proven successful and the family is ready to mark another Christmas in style.
“This is our fourth Christmas doing it. We started in 2019, but Covid was around for the last two years so it will be great this year not having to worry about that so much,” says James, who has spent the last few weeks carefully rebuilding the show at his home in Lurgan Park, Renmore.
He’s added “a few bits and pieces this year” – his brother buying the house next door has provided him a ‘blank canvas’ to extend.
Over the past three years, the show has raised almost €30,000 for local charities and James hopes to build on that this year – offering the light show for free, as always, and giving the opportunity to donate if people wish to do so.
The show runs nightly from 6.30pm, Monday to Saturday, with an extra kids show on Sundays at 5pm at 167 Lurgan Park (H91 Y17D). Donations can be made at the shows or by searching ‘idonate Carrick Family Light Show’ online.
‘Chaos’ for Christmas as Martin junction works delayed again
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists attempting to get into Galway are facing a nightmare before Christmas as continued delays to the works at the Martin roundabout create traffic chaos on the east side of the city.
Anger over the controversial project to remove the roundabout at Galway Clinic intensified this week as the completion date was pushed out to February – nearly a year after works began and six months later than the supposed deadline.
Local councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) told the Galway City Tribune that he had lost all confidence in the Transport Department in the City Council and hit out at their “outsourcing the problem” to private contractors.
He said despite repeated representations from him, the local authority was refusing to take responsibility for the bedlam caused by the works, which he said had resulted in “three minor collisions in the last five weeks”.
“The bottom line is that this has been an absolute shambles and I’ve lost all faith in senior officials in City Hall. When I raised the issue again this week, I was accused of looking for newspaper headlines – they will not take responsibility,” said the City East councillor.
“It’s like an obstacle course up there, and now they’re saying February for completion. I’ve no confidence it will even be done by then – they’re out of their depth. If you look at what they’re saying, they say they’ll be doing the surfacing until February,” continued Cllr Cheevers, anticipating that works could still be ongoing next March or April.
In a statement issued by contractors Fox Building Engineers Ltd and Galway City Council, it was claimed that “supply chain issues” had impacted severely on the project.
Motorists this week reported delays of up to an hour just to travel the short distance from Briarhill Shopping Centre as far as the Doughiska Road-Dublin Road junction, a distance of less than 2km.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the December 2 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Councillors rubber stamp ‘temporary’ helipad after nine years in place
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Health Service Executive (HSE) came under fire over the ‘temporary’ helipad serving University Hospital Galway at a meeting to finalise the Galway City Development Plan for 2023-29.
Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, made a point of publicly highlighting his dissatisfaction with the HSE, calling on them to urgently “regularise” the planning permission for the helipad.
BY ANDREW HAMILTON
Speaking on the issue, Cllr Frank Fahy (FG) said that he mistrusted the HSE’s proposal concerning the helipad, saying that previous promises about the site had not been kept.
Currently, University Hospital Galway operates the helipad to transport medical emergencies on Council-owned land in Shantalla – it has been used for past nine years, despite the HSE saying it would be used for six months.
The temporary structure, the busiest helipad in Ireland, transports patients from as far north as Donegal to the hospital.
Councillors voted to change the Galway City Development Plan to provide for a helipad at this location but urged the HSE to normalise the planning permission at the site and to provide compensation to the local community for the loss of a section of the park.
Mr McGrath said that he wouldn’t “wait forever” for the HSE to bring the site in line with the planning laws.
Last month marked the ninth anniversary of when the Saolta University Hospital Group gave a commitment to the people of Shantalla about the public land it borrowed.
Tony Canavan, the then Chief Operating Officer, and now CEO of Saolta, said that the land would be used to accommodate a helipad at the rear of UHG for six months only.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the December 2 edition of the Galway City Tribune where there is extensive coverage of rezoning decisions under the City Development Plan. You can support our journalism and buy a digital edition HERE.