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CITY TRIBUNE

Nurse jailed for syringe assault on colleague

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A psychiatric nurse has been sentenced to twelve months in prison for assaulting another nurse with a syringe filled with sedating, anti-psychotic medication.

Kofi Kankam (48), 15 The Clarin, Athenry, denied a charge of assaulting Emer Hyland, causing her harm, at the Psychiatric Unit at UHG, on February 5 last year.

Nurse Hyland, who is in her twenties, told the hearing at Galway District Court that Gardai came into the male ward with a patient that evening who was very unwell.

She was dealing with another patient at the time who had absconded. She was sitting in the nurse’s station having just got off the phone from speaking to security about that patient when she suddenly felt a sharp pinch in her left side

Nurse Donna Long and Kankam had been standing behind her.  Ms Long was holding a kidney dish which contained two syringes, which had been prepared for the patient the Gardaí had brought in.

She jumped up and saw blood coming from her side. She and nurse Long went into a linen closet to examine her side.

Kankam came in and said he was sorry.

Management were made aware of the incident and while Nurse Hyland was brought to A&E for treatment, Kankam was escorted as far as the door and told to go home.

Nurse Hyland said she had been traumatised by the incident and while she had loved working in Galway, she had since moved to another psychiatric unit in Mayo.

During cross examination by defence solicitor, John Martin, Ms Hyland said she had not engaged in any banter with the accused.  She said she had her back to him when it occurred and she had just come off the phone.

The accused told Judge Mary Fahy he had never intended to harm Nurse Hyland.  He said they had been engaged in some banter and he had jokingly picked up the syringe.  He said he saw the sheath protecting the needle was present when he picked it up from the kidney dish and that it must have dropped off back into the dish.

He said he apologised to Nurse Hyland at the time and had since written a letter of apology.

He confirmed he had been a nurse working in Ireland for the last 10 years.

Judge Mary Fahy said Kankam was not sorry enough to come into court and plead guilty.  She said it was his right to contest the charge but he had put the victim through the trauma of having to give evidence and the court had been left with no choice but impose a custodial sentence.

“It’s a very serious assault, to prick someone with a syringe and to have it done to you by another professional working with you is simply outrageous,” the judge said.

Mr Martin said his client had returned from Africa to face the charge and he asked the judge to suspend any sentence or his client’s career would be ended.

“It should be ended,” Judge Fahy said before imposing a 12-month sentence.

CITY TRIBUNE

Residents call in the clampers to sort problem parking

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Residents in a Salthill estate have become tired of illegal parking outside their homes – and hired private clampers as a deterrent.

People living in Seamount off Threadneedle Road near Blackrock said they have been plagued by extra traffic and vehicles parking outside their homes, blocking access, during the latest Covid lockdown.

They said that since Galway City Council closed off the Prom to car parking, and closed the two public carparks, the cars have just migrated to Threadneedle Road and their estate.

Seamount is a private estate and the road has not been taken in charge by the Council. The residents have clubbed together and hired a clamping company, which will erect signs in the coming days and begin clamping illegally parked cars from next week.

Residents said they are also concerned that cars parked on Threadneedle Road are making it more difficult for buses to pass, and cause congestion.

A residents’ spokesperson said: “Since the lockdown, they closed off the Prom and closed off Salthill car park but people are still using the Prom and swimming off Blackrock. I have huge admiration for the swimmers, I do it myself when it’s warmer. But what’s happening is they park on both sides of Threadneedle Road, because there’re no yellow lines on either side of it and it’s not wide enough for cars to be parked either side of it, so buses are getting stuck.”
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

NUIG President’s upset at Covid breaches on campus

Enda Cunningham

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – “I work in the hospital and we have had a really awful six weeks. We have nowhere to sit down and have our breaks. We are exhausted and would long to see family and friends. To see public health guidelines [being flouted] on NUIG property is a kick in the teeth.”

These are the words of an angry and frustrated healthcare worker at University Hospital Galway in a message sent to the head of NUIG.

President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh told students and staff at the university this week that he found it “deeply frustrating” that some students were flouting public health guidelines.

The HSE has confirmed that there were at least 441 cases of Covid in the city’s 18-24 age group – which has affected 224 households – in the past three weeks.

“Our neighbours contacted me expressing their upset at what they see as activities by our students that do not respect the health and safety of the community at large. People who work in the health service, people who have lost friends and relations to Covid-19. I share their upset.

“I was struck, for example, by one particularly heartfelt message from a local healthcare worker and campus user who shared their frustration with me last week on seeing groups congregating and socialising on campus grounds and which they agreed we could share,” Prof Ó hÓgartaigh said.

The head of the university shared the message in an email to students and staff this week, adding that students had expressed frustration that study spaces were not open on campus and at the challenges posed by the constricted spaces in which they study.

NUIG confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it had imposed sanctions on a number of students in relation to Covid breaches, while there have been none at GMIT.
This is a brief 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

Principals band together for safer cycling infrastructure

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A total of 28 Galway City school principals have signed an open letter to the Minister for Transport and local councillors highlighting the need for safer cycling infrastructure around schools, to encourage students and staff to switch to bikes.

The push by Government to cycle or walk where possible during the pandemic has its limitations in a city where cycle lanes are rare and parents are too afraid to let their children cycle on narrow roads often choked with traffic.

A group of cycling enthusiasts in city schools has been campaigning to encourage the school community to engage with Galway City Council’s public consultation process for the next development plan which will have a key role in deciding whether cycling lanes or off-road cycle routes become a reality.

The first stage of the initial consultation process for the ‘City Development Plan 2023-2029, Your City, Your Future’ closes today (Friday). But the process will continue for two more years with more consultation encouraged once the draft plan is published.

This week a letter from 28 principals sent to councillors called for support for the provision of better cycle infrastructure in and around all schools. It has also been sent to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan and Galway West TD and Minister of State at Cabinet, Hildegarde Naughton.

“It is our view that existing road infrastructure around schools can be unsafe for children, teachers, and families who wish to cycle to school and we would like to encourage the development safe cycling routes in the future,” the letter states.

Principal of Coláiste na Coiribe, Eoghan Ó Ceallaigh, said it was important for the school community to get involved with the public consultation.

(Photo: Last year, the Council introduced a ‘School Streets’ pilot scheme at Scoil Iognáid, which bans cans during certain times, encouraging parents and children to walk or cycle. Schools now want proper cycling infrastructure put in place).
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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