The opening of the new Gort to Tuam motorway has resulted in a huge increase in crime – with criminals now enjoying speedier access and getaways.
And that has led to calls for Garda motorway patrols to be intensified before the situation gets out of control.
Over just one weekend alone since the motorway opened, there were 42 thefts from vehicles in the Western District – twice the normal number.
The Garda Representative Association, which represents rank and file members, said that the new motorway had created a lot more problems for the force.
They say that areas like Athenry and Tuam – now more accessible – have become easy targets for travelling gangs of criminals.
Last weekend, Tuam Gardaí seized cars belonging to travelling criminals who they believe were intent on illegal activity in the area.
Garda Dermot O’Brien of the Garda Representative Association said that the opening of the new motorway had presented criminals with an easy access to the West of Ireland.
He said that the number of burglaries that had taken place had increased two-fold since the motorway opened.
“It has just made the West of Ireland even more accessible and it is something that the Garda hierarchy has to address as a matter of urgency,” Garda O’Brien added.
The matter is to be raised at next week’s public meeting of County Galway’s Joint Policing Committee which will be held in Maam Cross.
Local public representatives are to ask the Garda authorities about what measures are being taken to combat the easy access criminal gangs now have as a result of the new motorway.
The Garda authorities have now been urged to mount more motorway patrolsin an effort to detect travelling gangs of criminals who are utilising the motorway network to get to and from Galway in the quickest possible time.
“Motorways are great but they do present criminals with the easiest possible access route to the likes of Tuam, Athenry, Loughrea and Ballinasloe. It has become a major problem,” Dermot O’Brien added.
Meanwhile, Junior Minister Ciaran Cannon agreed that there had to be more patrols on the motorways approaching Galway.
“It is not acceptable that there are criminal gangs coming to Galway as a result of the motorway. They have to be stopped in their tracks.
“The provision of the Gort to Tuam motorway and Tuam bypass has been a great asset but for it to be utilised as a means for criminal gangs to access the West is not acceptable.
“This is a matter I will be raising with the Minister for Justice as the last thing we want are criminal gangs descending upon us,” Minister Cannon added.
Hospitals cope with overcrowding and staff shortages as Covid crisis peaks
Confirmed cases of Covid-19 continue to skyrocket in Galway, as virus-related frontline healthcare staff shortages persist and now overcrowding emerges as a new threat.
Galway experienced four days of record-breaking positive case notifications in the past week, as hospitalisations grew exponentially and pressure was heaped on the critical care units at University Hospital Galway (UHG) and Portiuncula.
Hospital management said it was unsure whether community transmission had peaked locally yet – and they expect hospitals to be under ‘significant pressure’ from Covid admissions well into February.
Nurses have highlighted how overcrowding in the Emergency Department of the county’s two main public hospitals has returned – some 112 patients were stuck on trolleys awaiting admission to UHG and Ballinasloe on five mornings in the past week. Meanwhile, it hasn’t yet been officially confirmed that the new UK variant of Covid is present in Galway, but authorities believe it is.
The latest data shows there has been no let-up in new cases notifications in Galway – 604 confirmed cases were notified for Monday, the highest in Ireland and Galway’s worst ever day by a long shot.
It was a frightening figure but it was not for one day and was part of clearing the backlog of cases over Christmas and New Year, the HSE said.
That pushed Galway’s 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 to 1033.9 more than double what it was a week ago and eight times what it was a fortnight ago. Some 2,668 new Galway cases were notified in the fortnight to midnight Tuesday.
Read the full story and comprehensive coverage of the Covid-19 crisis in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Suffer little children – report shines a light into shameful past
The final report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes shines a light into the darkest recesses of our shameful past; young women and tiny babies neglected by Church and State – fellow, frail human beings whose lives and deaths somehow didn’t matter at all.
These women and their children were punished, hidden out of sight; mistreated at best; physically and sexually abused at worst – and way, way too many were left to die without a shred of dignity in their lives or in their passing.
The Trojan work and dedication of people like Catherine Corless lifted the stone on the shame – but it is only in their shocking stories, as we’ve read and heard this week, that we can get any sense of the depths of this depravity.
Many of the mothers were little more than children themselves, who had their little babies taken from them and given away with even a sliver of consent.
There were no records of their adoption, and no willingness, even decades later, to help those babies to find their birth mothers. Because to do so would have exposed the cruel and heartless manner of their forced adoptions in the first place.
And yet exposing this scandal is only the first step; an apology was the very least they were entitled to. Now we as a nation, and particularly those religious orders who ran the homes, must do everything to redress this wrong.
We must open the files so that they can discover their full life stories, find their living relatives, and be compensated so that at least the rest of their lives are in complete contrast to all they’ve endured until now.
We need to look at how we can give hundreds of innocent babies a proper burial – however belated and insufficient that may be.
Nothing will undo the damage – but now that the depths of this depravity have finally been laid bare, there must be no equivocation, no prevarication; just a commitment to doing whatever it takes to try and right a terrible wrong.
See full coverage of the Commission’s Report in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Galway couple celebrate a remarkable 75th wedding anniversary
THEY are without doubt the King and Queen of Rosscahill – 104-year-old Martin McEvilly and his 96-year-old wife, Kathleen – who last week celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary.
Both Martin and Kathleen still live at home as part of the Killannin community, and although Covid has presented its difficulties, they still managed to have a small anniversary celebration on January 7 last.
The couple tied the knot back on January 7, 1946, just three months after World War II had ended, when Martin was 29 and his bride – also a McEvilly (from nearby Oughterard) – was just 21 years of age.
Seven children later – three boys and four girls – there are now also many grandchildren and great-grandchildren to carry on the McEvilly lineage, and hopefully too, the genetic gift of longevity.
Two of ‘the lads’ – Pat and Mike – still live locally as do daughters Noreen (now a carer for her parents) and Madge, while John (the youngest) is in Boston, with daughters Mary and Christina in Sydney and Australia.
Son Pat, who lives in Knockferry, said that the 75th diamond wedding anniversary, was still a very special occasion for the family and one of great happiness.
“You don’t hear of them too often – 75th wedding anniversaries – and it was a very special occasion for all of us, to have our parents still alive and well,” said Pat.
Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie