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Peeping Tom in ladies’ toilet cubicle wins sentence appeal

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A pervert who was caught spying on a woman through a peephole in a toilet cubicle has been successful in his appeal to have his four-month prison sentence suspended.

59-year-old Vincent Moran, of 75 Riveroaks, Claregalway, admitted to Gardaí when arrested last year that he loved hiding in public toilets so he could get a thrill watching women go to the toilet.

Moran, a former ESB employee, pleaded guilty before Galway District Court last June to intentionally engaging in offensive conduct of a sexual nature in a public place at the Ardilaun Hotel, Taylor’s Hill, on February 16 last year.

A four-month prison sentence was imposed in the District Court at the time, which Moran appealed last week to the Circuit Court on the grounds of severity only.

The appeals court heard this was not Moran’s first time before a court for watching women going to the toilet, as he had been given the benefit of the Probation Act in 2006, for spying on another woman in another city hotel toilet in 2005.

The victim of last year’s offence broke down and cried in the witness box as she recounted the incident to Judge Marie Keane at the initial hearing before Galway District Court last June.

“I’ve been left feeling humiliated and degraded by what happened to me,” she sobbed.

She had been attending a wedding with her partner and went into the women’s toilet in the early hours of the morning.

She went into a cubicle and as she sat down, she noticed a peephole in the cubicle wall adjoining the next cubicle.

She took a wad of toilet paper and put it into the hole. However, the plug of paper popped back out again and when she looked through the hole, she could see an eye staring back at her.

The woman immediately left the cubicle and called her partner. She saw a pair of chunky men’s shoes when she looked under the door of the other cubicle before leaving the toilets.

She was making a complaint to staff at reception when she noticed a man wearing the same chunky shoes leave through the front door of the hotel and get into a taxi.

Her partner managed to take a photo of Moran before he got away.

Sergeant Kieran Duignan told the District Court he tracked Moran down through the Garda Pulse system and arrested and questioned him on April 7 last year.

“During interview, he [Moran] admitted going into women’s toilets for the thrill of watching women going to the toilet,” Sgt Duignan told the court.

According to a psychological assessment handed into court, there was a high risk of Moran reoffending if he did not engage in counselling or psychotherapy.

Judge Keane said this was Moran’s second offence and he had admitted to the psychologist this year that he committed this type of offence many times over many years.

She noted Moran had been given an opportunity to receive counselling in 2006 which he refused and he didn’t go for counselling either since this second offence occurred, which showed he was not taking it seriously.

Imposing the four-month sentence, Judge Keane said she had a duty to protect the public and the only way she could protect it was by imposing the custodial sentence.

Moran appealed the severity of her sentence at a District Court Appeal hearing before the Circuit Court last Friday.

Sgt Duignan outlined the facts of the case again and told the appeal hearing Moran admitted going to the hotel that night “with the sole intention of doing what he did”.

Prosecuting State solicitor, Willie Kennedy said that presumably Moran had drilled the hole in the cubicle wall or had “caused the hole to come into being”.

Sgt Duignan said Moran made no admission about drilling the hole, but when he himself examined the toilets there were no similar type peepholes in any of the other cubicles.

Defence barrister, Garry McDonald, said Moran had lost his job as a result of his conviction and was no longer a member of local societies or groups in Claregalway.

He attributed media coverage of the case last June to Moran’s current isolation in his community.

“He was a lonely character before this and is more so now due to the embarrassment and shame,” Mr McDonald said.

He conceded Moran had not gone for counselling before last June’s District Court appearance, but was engaging well with his counsellor now.

He asked for the sentence to be suspended so that Moran could continue with counselling and avail of the support his brothers, who were present in court, could give him.

Judge Eoin Garavan said this was a sinister offence. He agreed that if Moran had gone for counselling in 2006 for his voyeuristic tendencies, he might not have reoffended.

“He was treated very leniently in 2006 and he didn’t go for counselling then because he got away with it.

“He has issues and, worryingly, there are no explanations in the [psychological] report as to why he does this,” the judge noted.

He said Moran was probably a pariah in his own locality but he had only himself to blame for that.

However, he said, Moran deserved a chance due to his age and his willingness to undergo counselling now.

He suspended the sentence for three years on condition Moran continue to receive psycho-therapy and counselling and comply with all directions from his doctors.  He bound him to keep the peace and not reoffend for three years.

Judge Garavan also directed Moran make a €1,000 donation to an appropriate women’s charity, saying “he needs to pay a price for what he did by feeling a bit of pain in his wallet”.

Mr Kennedy suggested the donation be offered to the Galway Rape Crisis Centre and if declined, the money could be offered to St Vincent de Paul.

Connacht Tribune

Curran, Melody and Molloy all leave Utd as Caulfield confirms two new signings

Keith Kelly

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Enda Curran, pictured after scoring a goal for Galway United against Wexford in the season just finished, has left the club. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

The comings and goings have continued at Galway United in the past week, with the club busy re-signing players fork last season, adding some new faces, as well as confirming the departure of players who were part of the 2020 squad.

Having already said goodbye to the sextet of Conor Barry, Joe Collins, Vinny Faherty, Jack Lynch, Timo Partheons, and Josh Smith, the club this week confirmed the departure of three more players: Enda Curran (89 appearances, 20 goals), Conor Melody (108 appearances, five goals), and Timmy Molloy (16 appearances, no goals).

Curran was signed for United as an 18-years-old by Sean Connor ahead of the 2011 season and made his debut in the opening game of that campaign, coming on as a substitute for the injured Neal Keane in the 43rd of a 3-0 defeat at home to St Patrick’s Athletic.

He made a total of 13 appearances for United that season, and he was back with the Tribesmen for United’s return to the national league in the 2014 season, when he made eight appearances, scoring his first goal for United in the first of those games, coming off the bench to score in the 5-0 win at home to Shamrock Rovers B in July.

His most productive season for United was the following year’s campaign, when he scored 12 goals in 25 appearances in the Premier Division for United (he made 29 league and cup appearance in total that season), including his one and only hat-trick for the club, coming in the 5-0 win away to Bray Wanderers in April.

The following month, he had the distinction of scoring two penalties in a single game, in the 5-3 win over Bohemians.

That haul of a dozen goals saw him finish as the club’s joint top-scorer in the league that season alongside Jake Keegan, though the US striker finished as overall top scorer on 16 goals thanks to 2 goals in the FAI Cup, and two in the League Cup.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Biden is a Maree man!

Keith Kelly

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US President-election Joe Biden.

The connections of incoming US President, Joe Biden, to Mayo and Louth on his mother’s side of his family have been widely reported – but it has emerged that he has just as strong links to a small townland outside Oranmore through his father’s side…as recently as four generations ago.

And the news has led to hopes that the President-elect will include a trip to Galway in any itinerary for a visit to Ireland during his presidency – and it is being reported this week that the incoming president will make Ireland his first state visit when he assumes office.

Contact had been made with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s office with the news of the President-elect’s Galway links ahead of his visit to Ireland in 2016, but Liam Hanniffy – who has uncovered the link between his family and that of Mr Biden, was told that the itinerary had already been planned, and a visit to Galway was not possible.

Liam Hanniffy, who is from Ballinacourty in Maree, has been researching his family tree since been contacted by a man from America in 2014 saying they were third cousins, and both were also related to the then US Vice-President, Joe Biden.

Research by Liam has discovered that a man called John Hanniffy, who was born just over 200 years ago in Ballinacourty Hill in Maree, is actually the great-great grandfather of the President-elect – and to make the Galway link even stronger, John Hanniffy married a woman whose parents was also born in the same townland, meaning two of his great-great-great grandparents also came from the same townlands nestled on Galway Bay.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition at www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Galway all set to re-open for business

Dara Bradley

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Shop Street...business will be back.

Galway has earned the right to re-open – local lockdown sacrifices have suppressed the virus in the community, the latest figures confirm.

The collective effort of city and county residents over six weeks drove down the infection rate to one of the lowest in the country.

Gyms, all retail, hairdressers, personal services and possibly religious services and some entertainment are on course to re-open next week.

Government will announce plans for hospitality, with publicans, and in particular those who don’t serve food, hopeful they won’t be left behind. Plans to ease Christmas visiting restrictions will also be unveiled Friday.

Galway had one of Ireland’s highest Covid-19 figures when the country entered Level 5 lockdown in October but the latest stats reveal a massive turnaround.

Galway recorded 168 new confirmed cases in the fortnight to Monday, which equates to a 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 of 65.1, compared with the national average of 107.8. The incidence rate peaked at 313.9 per 100,000 in October when the number of weekly cases in Galway hit a staggering 500 – ten times this week’s total of 50 cases in the seven days up to Monday.

In the week to Saturday, 28 Covid outbreaks were recorded in the West, down from 36 the previous week. Eighteen of the new clusters were in private homes and nine were in extended family and community.

See full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition at www.connachttribune.ie

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