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CITY TRIBUNE

Muggers face jail threat after random Galway City attacks

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The threat of a three-year sentence hangs over a couple who violently mugged three young women in separate attacks as they walked through the city on their way home from work and college on a winter’s evening.

One of the victims sustained a fractured elbow as well as extensive bruising to her body as one of the muggers dragged her along the ground at Eyre Square in an attempt to steal her handbag.  She also suffered a deep gash to her left knee and had to be treated at UHG for her injuries that evening. The other women suffered minor injuries when they too were attacked from behind and dragged along the ground.

While their physical injuries have healed, all three continue to suffer from the mental scars left by their attackers, all stating in their victim impact statements to a court this week that they no longer feel safe to walk the streets of Galway alone at night.

Rosanna Cawley, who is now 23, and from the Bog, Poolboy, Ballinasloe, and her then-partner, Willian Toohey, now 20, from Mountrath, Co Laois, pleaded guilty moments before their trial was due to begin before a jury at Galway Circuit Criminal Court in February 2020 to robbing a Canadian medical student’s handbag, her iPhone and iPad worth €735 at St Nicholas’s Street on November 5, 2018.

Toohey also pleaded guilty to attempting to rob another woman at Bóthar Breandán Uí Eithirr on the same evening and to assaulting a third woman, causing her harm, outside the entrance to the shopping centre in Eyre Square, also on the same evening in 2018.

Judge Rory McCabe directed probation reports on both accused and remanded them on continuing bail to November 4 last for sentence.  They brought €1,000 compensation to court for the victims on that date but the court was told they had missed several appointments with their probation officer and were not co-operating. It also heard Cawley had given birth in the interim.

Judge McCabe adjourned sentence to March and then to last week’s court to give the pair another chance to comply with the probation service.

Garda Michael Gallagher told the sentence hearing this week that at 5.30pm on November 5, 2018, Gardaí were alerted to a woman whose bag was pulled from her shoulder in Eyre Square.  She was attacked from behind and knocked to the ground, sustaining injuries to her elbow and body in the fall. Gardaí received a report a few minutes later from a Canadian medical student who had been injured when she was dragged along the ground after her bag was pulled from her shoulder near St Nicholas’s church.

The bag contained her laptop, iPhone, lecture notes and bank cards.

Shortly afterwards, Gardaí received yet another report from a third woman who said she had been the victim of an attempted robbery near Prospect Hill but had managed to hang onto her shoulder bag, even though she had been injured in the attack. Cawley was found in possession of one of the victim’s handbags when the couple were arrested a short time later.

Garda Gallagher read the victim’s separate impact statements into evidence.

The woman who was mugged in Eyre Square said the attack affected every day of her life since. She said she was dragged along the ground towards a steel pole and tried to move her head out of the way.  The muggers ran when her head hit the pole.

She sustained a deep cut to her knee and damage to her neck and back.  She had to seek counselling afterwards and can no longer walk alone in Galway City.  She no longer carries a purse or handbag and will not go out in the city on her own after dark.

The medical student’s mother had to travel from Canada to care for her daughter after she was attacked.  Her head hit the ground hard, she said, and her medical notes were taken as well as her phone and iPad.

The third victim said she had just finished her first day at work in a new job and was almost home at 6.30pm when she was attacked. She let out a roar and managed to stay upright while hanging on to her handbag which was ripped apart during the attack.

To be attacked outside her home was unnerving, she said, in her statement and she no longer trusts people. She too had to receive counselling after suffering panic attacks in public.

“I’m afraid to be alone in public anymore and I’ve no independence left,” her statement concluded.

The couple offered no explanation for their actions that evening, although Cawley claimed she drank two naggins of neat vodka and two cans of beer earlier.

The court heard the couple had brought another €1,000 to court for the victims.

Judge McCabe said the pair were looking at a three-year sentence as the victims had been left ‘out of the blue’ with physical and mental scars.

However, he said he would adjourn finalisation of sentence to November 3 to see how the pair continued to rehabilitate while under probation supervision.

CITY TRIBUNE

Outdoor dining plans unveiled for Galway City

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A new plan to temporarily pedestrianise city streets to create more space for outdoor dining this summer was published this week.

Galway City Council has said it is planning to close six streets for four months to boost the hospitality sector and attract more custom ‘back the West’ and to Woodquay.

It has also signalled smaller changes for Salthill and around Eyre Square.

“We’re looking to support businesses and people getting back to work. This is an opportunity for us to explore outdoor dining and we’re looking to trial these public realm initiatives,” Ruairí Lehmann, the City Council’s Tourism Officer told the Galway City Tribune.

“There is an appetite for this; the indications we have from Government is it is going to be an outdoor summer and these proposals will support that,” he added.

Chairperson of Galway Branch of VFI, Johnny Duggan of Taylor’s Bar on Dominick Street, said the changes would be very positive and boost hospitality businesses in all areas.

Already, he said as many as 30 businesses have applied for licences to trade outside in the area known as the Westend.

The local authority wants to close to traffic The Small Crane and Raven Terrace 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from June 7 until September 30. Car parking spaces will be removed from Small Crane and one lane of traffic would be kept open, one-way. A decision on which side is still under review.

The Council intends to make Dominick Street Lower (Galway Arms to Monroe’s) a single-lane one-way traffic street to facilitate additional on-street dining. It’s understood this has hasn’t yet got the backing of taxi drivers who have concerns about access to and from the Bridge Street rank but alternative taxi space may be offered at another location in the Westend to assuage those fears.

The Council has signalled its intention to close Dominick Street Upper and William Street West from Small Crane to Munster Avenue, at night only, between 6pm and 11pm, from Monday June 7 until Thursday September 30.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and for full details of the proposals for the city centre and Salthill, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Council chief backs Salthill tidal pools proposal

Stephen Corrigan

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Image Courtesy of Superfly Ireland

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Council is to consider including a specific objective to restore the tidal pools in Salthill in the new City Development Plan – with around one-fifth of the submissions made in a public consultation backing this ‘no-brainer’ proposal.

In a report to councillors on submissions received, Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said consideration of the proposal would be based on technical feasibility, funding, staff resources, climate change considerations and environmental factors.

“A large number of submissions were received requesting the restoration of the tidal pools in Salthill as a year-round public amenity and recreation facility accessible to all. The restoration of this facility would be a huge asset to the city and complement the existing facilities that are available at Salthill,” Mr McGrath states in the document seen by the Galway City Tribune.

Support for the reviving of the Ladies’ Beach facility grew legs after an online petition attracted over 4,500 signatures.

Up to 100 of the 518 submissions made to the Council’s pre-draft consultation supported reopening the pools that have been out of action since the late 1970s.

(Photo: How the pools might look. Image Courtesy of Superfly Ireland)
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

GMIT in €9m bid for Galwegians’ Glenina grounds

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – GMIT has put in an offer – rumoured to be in the region of €9million – for the purchase of Galwegians RFC’s grounds at Glenina, the Galway City Tribune understands.

The offer will be presented for a vote at a Special General Meeting of club members set to take place on May 27.

The land at Crowley Park, located just two minutes’ walk from GMIT, had been earmarked for housing by property developer Neil Armstrong, and is zoned residential. However, this deal fell through.

A GMIT spokesperson told the Galway City Tribune they were “not yet in a position to comment”, while a spokesperson for Galwegians declined to comment.

It is understood that staff at GMIT were informed by the institution’s Vice President of Finance at a meeting this week that the ‘deal was done’ and that they awaited the rugby club’s signing off at its members’ meeting later in the month.

The sale would clear the way for the club to proceed with plans to develop a 22-acre site at Boleynasruhaun, Oranswell, where it is expected to make a second planning application after the County Council raised concerns over the scale of the development proposed initially.
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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