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Neighbour and son got letters of harassment

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A HSE clerical worker put harassing notes through her next-door neighbour’s letterbox and on the windscreen of his son’s car, while also sending a email to his daughter at her place of work in the HSE.

Mary Sampier (60), 24 Whitestrand Park, Salthill, pleaded guilty before Galway District Court to harassing a man at Whitestrand Park on dates between February 10 and March 9 last.

She said she sent the notes because her husband had been assaulted previously by the complainant.

Garda Nora Brady gave evidence the accused had put notes and letters through the man’s letterbox and she had also left harassing notes on the windscreen of his son’s car.

Garda Brady said the man’s daughter worked for the HSE, as did the accused, and she received an email at work from the accused during the period of the harassment.

She said Sampier was co-operative at all stages of the investigation and made admissions about sending the letters and notes to her neighbours.

Judge Mary Fahy asked to see the letters and notes and read them without making any comment.

Garda Brady explained those concerned were next-door neighbours and they had not got on for 15 years. Down through the years, she said, there had been small, minor incidents about children and dogs.

Sampier pointed out that she had sent the notes from March 3 onwards and not in February.

Her solicitor said the notes had been sent in the space of a week.  He said his client had moved house because of this incident and she hoped to move to the US in the near future.

“There was a previous allegation of the complainant assaulting my client’s husband and she got upset and fixated on that,” the solicitor said.

He pointed out no charge had been brought against the complainant but that was the background to the notes. He said Sampier now realised she should not have sent the notes.

Handing a medical report into court, the solicitor said Sampier had a history of mental illness and had reported with anxiety after the incident.

Judge Fahy asked if the Gardaí had looked into the allegation of assault and she wanted to know if Sampier’s husband had made a complaint to Gardaí about it.

Garda Brady confirmed he only made the complaint after she began to investigate the offence before the court.

The solicitor pointed out that his client’s husband did make a informal complaint to Gardaí before this. Garda Brady explained Sampier’s husband did go into the garda station but he just wanted it noted.

“He didn’t follow it through.  He didn’t want anything done.  He just went to the front desk and wanted it noted,” she said.

Judge Fahy said to Sampier that what she did was not the way to deal with matters.

Sampier, who looked at times upset and distressed and stood wringing a hanky in her hands, replied:  “My husband is a very quiet man.  He is not a bitter man. I did the wrong thing.  He did complain to the Gardai.”

Judge Fahy reminded her that her husband did not want to make a formal complaint or give a statement to Gardai so nothing could be done.

In reply to Judge Fahy, Sampier said they had moved out of No. 24 Whitestrand Park and she would never set foot in that house again.

She said her mother-in-law lived in the US and she and her husband hoped to go and live there as soon as she retires from the HSE early next year.  She said they had somewhere else to live until then.

Hearing the accused had a clerical position in the HSE, Judge Fahy said she would have had some ida that her actions were not the way to go about something like this.

She explained to Sampier that she had to hear from the injured party to see how he was affected by her actions before she could finalise matters.

“She wishes to travel to the US and that will be taken ‘on board’ if possible but I have to give the injured party a chance to come in here and tell his story,” Judge Fahy said.

She then adjourned the matter to next Wednesday, November 25, to give the injured party a opportunity to come to court.

She said that he was being invited to attend to tell his side of the story and how he had been affected, but if he didn’t want to come into court, he didn’t have to.

Connacht Tribune

Development hailed as major boost in tackling local housing demand

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Artist’s impression...the proposed Claregalway housing development.

The green light has been given to a sizeable residential development in Claregalway, which was the subject both of strenuous opposition and support in the area.

An Bord Pleanála have granted planning permission for 111 houses and apartments in Claregalway following a strategic housing development application by K King Construction for the development at Lakeview, Claregalway.

Local councillor David Collins (FG) welcomed the decision saying that there was an urgent need for new housing in Claregalway given the demand.

And he also paid tribute to developer Walter King for offering land for the development of community facilities to the local area.

“We need the houses and we need the land so this decision satisfies Claregalway on both fronts,” Cllr Collins added.

The Athenry Oranmore area councillor also said that requirement that a certain number of houses be reserved for Irish speakers was also a boost to developing the language in the area – Claregalway is part of the Gaeltacht.

The higher planning authority ruled that the proposed development would constitute an acceptable residential density at this location and was also acceptable in terms of traffic and pedestrian safety.

They also said that the site could be drained satisfactorily and that surface water would not be an issue.

The site for the development measures over twelve acres in size and is located at the junction of the Lydican Road about three quarters of a mile from the village off the main Oranmore road.

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Connacht Tribune

Carna’s Community Café raises a cuppa – and funds – for new Ukrainian arrivals

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Carna Community Café volunteers presenting a cheque to Irish Red Cross Conamara Area Director Niall O'Meachair (third from right); pictured are (from left) Máirín Ní Churraion, Kate Mulkerrins, Siobhán Kennedy, Tom Lane and Máire Ní Domhnaill.

Carna’s new Community Cafe has donated €1,000 to the Red Cross Ukraine Appeal – thanks to the village’s love of tea, cake, and a good old chat.

The brainchild of a group of sea-swimming enthusiasts living in the area, the weekly café started just before Easter as a way to help people begin socialising again after the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

Looking to simply cover costs – with the café’s bakers and servers all volunteering and charging just a euro for a cup of tea or a piece of cake – the team decided any excess income would be donated to charity.

Little did they know that just five weeks later they would be passing on €1,000 to the Red Cross.

“The aim initially wasn’t to raise money at all, we just wanted to provide a friendly, welcoming and affordable place where people could come and have a chat and see each other again,” said Máirín Ní Churraoin, who runs the local Post Office.

“But it’s been proving more popular than we could have imagined, so we decided that any income generated has to go to a good cause – for this first donation we all felt the Red Cross Ukraine appeal was an obvious choice.”

The Ukraine appeal is even more fitting given the location of the Café: the dining room of the Carna Bay Hotel, which is currently providing accommodation to people who have fled the conflict.

“We’re delighted to be able to support this fantastic initiative, it’s just brilliant to see people coming out and socialising over a bit of cake again,” said Karl Rogers from the Carna Bay Hotel.

“And with the tea, musicians and chat, it’s a great way for our guests from Ukraine to meet local people and experience Irish culture first-hand.”

At the most recent event on Saturday May 7th, Irish Red Cross Conamara Area Director, Niall O’Meachair was on hand to collect a cheque for €1,000.

“We’re absolutely delighted to receive this money from the Community Café in Carna, and through the work of the Red Cross we’ll make sure it goes to helping people affected by this awful, awful conflict.”

The Community Café is held every Saturday in the Carna Bay Hotel, 10am to 12:30pm.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Old stone-carved bank sign to be retained after community lobby

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Deputy Sean Canney outside the old Bank of Ireland building at Shop Street in Tuam.

An old stone carved sign on the front of a former bank building in the heart of Tuam is to be retained, following intense representations from the local business community.

The building is currently being renovated by the Department of Social Protection which is moving into the property over the coming months

Galway East TD Sean Canney received confirmation from the Department that the red brick building on Shop Street will retain the old Bank of Ireland name.

The Bank of Ireland was originally located at Shop Street in Tuam before moving to its current location at Dublin Road several decades ago.

The building on Shop Street was then occupied by the town library, which has since moved to the local Council offices, and now it is being renovated so that it can be occupied by the Department of Social Protection.

During the renovations of the old library building on Shop Street to make way for the new Intreo Centre, which brings together various social welfare services, the old stone carved sign was revealed.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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