Galway Bay fm newsroom – A helicopter pilot has been fined 20 thousand euro for flying dangerously low over thousands of people attending Ballinasloe Horse Fair three years ago.
Imposing the fines at Galway Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Thomas O’Donnell said it was “an absolute miracle” that the pilot was not killed or an appalling catastrophe had not happened.
40-year-old businessman, Michael Mannion of Castlesampson, Bealnamulla, Athlone, Co Westmeath, pleaded guilty to five breaches of the Irish Aviation Authority (Rules of the Air) Act.
Sergeant Tom Horkan told the sentence hearing that numerous calls were made to Gardaí and other emergency services on the evening of October 2nd 2011, to complain about the low flying helicopter in Ballinasloe.
Michael Mannion, the court was told had consumed a beer shandy with a meal in Athlone earlier that evening before flying home.
He then decided to fly to Ballinasloe and landed in a car park, 30 meters from the Moycairn Lodge and Hotel near the town where he consumed almost two pints of Budweiser.
He then got back into the helicopter and took off in the direction of Ballinasloe.
It was a misty evening with intermittent drizzle, low cloud and poor visibility.
The helicopter flew away from the town and crashed in a field, 10km from the town at 7.20p.m.
It later emerged, that according to aviation rules, Mannion should not have been flying after 7.10pm that evening as darkness was closing in.
Mannion told the court his licence had been suspended by the Irish Aviation Authority and he had no intention of applying for a new one.
Judge O’Donnell said he took the view that this was a folly, pursued by a person inexperienced to fly in such conditions.
Mannion was fined 10 thousand euro for operating a helicopter in a public place at a height less than 1,500 feet above the ground or water, over a congested area of Ballinasloe town.
He was fined an additional 10 thousand euro for flying the helicopter within 500 feet of the radio mast at Ballinasloe Garda Station.
Three other charges relating to flying the helicopter in the vicinity of the town centre, at such a height which would not have permitted and without the consent of the Irish Aviation Authority and also to flying it closer than 150m to a Ferris wheel at a funfair in the town, were all taken into account.
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85 new cases in Galway, 1,378 nationally and 23 further deaths from COVID-19
Galway Bay FM Newsroom – The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been notified of 23 additional deaths related to COVID-19.
All 23 of these deaths occurred in January.
The median age of those who died is 84 years and the age range is 61-99 years.
There has been a total of 2,970 COVID-19 related deaths in Ireland.
As of midnight, Saturday 23rd January, the HPSC has been notified of 1,378 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There is now a total of 187,554* confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.
Of the cases notified today:
- 643 are men / 730 are women
- 58% are under 45 years of age
- The median age is 39 years old
- 379 in Dublin, 145 in Cork, 86 in Wexford, 85 in Galway, 71 in Limerick, and the remaining 612 cases are spread across all other counties**
As of 2pm today, 1,931 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 218 are in ICU. 44 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.
Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer said: “While we are starting to make progress in reducing the level of the virus in the community, this is a critical time for all of us to hold firm to the public health advice. We must not let down our guard against this highly infectious disease and the risk it poses to ourselves and those most medically vulnerable to infection.
“There is a huge volume of disease in the country and the recent surge in cases continues to place an unprecedented strain on ICUs, hospitals and other frontline healthcare services. The answer lies in driving down social contacts and congregation in all settings, including in workplaces.
“Everyone who can, should work from home where possible. For those of us who cannot work from home, it is essential to follow the public health advice in the workplace, such as the wearing of face coverings when moving around communal areas. We urge all employers to facilitate home working as much as possible and to ensure strict adherence to public health measures in the workplace.”
The COVID-19 Dashboard provides up-to-date information on the key indicators of COVID-19 in the community.
*Validation of data at the HPSC has resulted in the denotification of 8 confirmed cases. The figure of 187,554 confirmed cases reflects this.
**County data should be considered provisional as the national Computerised Infectious Disease Reporting System (CIDR) is a dynamic system and case details are continually being validated and updated.
Today’s cases, 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population and new cases in last 14 days (as of midnight 23 January 2021) (incidence rate based on Census 2016 county population)
|County||Today’s cases**(to midnight 23Jan2021)||14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population (to 23Jan2021)||New Cases during last 14 days(to 23Jan2021)|
7-day incidence 312
5-day moving average 2,148
Minister of state praises voluntary groups who benefited from 2020 Community Enhancement Programme
Galway Bay FM Newsroom – Minister of State at the Department of Transport Hildegarde Naughton has praised the voluntary groups who were recipients of grants that they used on projects designed to adapt and protect against Covid 19.
The 2020 Community Enhancement programme benefited a total of 69 voluntary groups in the city and county who received nearly €120,000 in the form of small capital grants.
The annual scheme provides grant support to community groups, particularly in disadvantaged areas, but last year focused on helping organisations to cope with the challenges presented by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Among the beneficiaries in the city was Galway Centre for Independent Living, which received a grant of €5,000; and Ballinfoile Castlegar Neighbourhood Centre, which was allocated a total of €4,540. Westside Age Inclusion Ltd was awarded €3,300.
In the county, Active in Age in Oranmore and Headford Men’s Shed were among the recipients, along with the Irish Heart Foundation and Connemara RFC in Oughterard. Cúl an Tí in Spiddal received €2,900, while Athenry First Responders benefitted from a grant of €2,580.
Deputy Naughton explained that the measures taken by these groups made big differences to their communities and have advised groups interested in applying this year to should contact their local community development committee when the programme is launched in the coming months.
Winter driving safety tips and advice
Galway bay FM Newsroom – As the first fall of snow hit most of the Country overnight , it may be a welcome sight to many as it gives us something new to talk about besides Covid19, but road safety officials want to remind road users to stay safe when they hit the roads when making that essential journey. The beginning of the winter season is often an adjustment period for drivers until they get used to driving in snow and ice again. This is especially true for newly licensed drivers who lack the experience, many it may be their first experience of driving in the snow or ice.
Many parents can relate to this worry as they try to past on their knowledge to not always very receptive ears.
“Even the best drivers need to change their driving habits in winter weather,” said Noel Gibbons road safety officer in the communications department of Mayo County Council. “Driving in winter weather can be intimidating and conditions can change very quickly. It’s imperative for drivers to know how to navigate during snowfall or icy conditions. Preparation is the key to avoiding a dangerous situation whilst driving in snowy or icy conditions.
Stay put .Stay home if you can do so and wait for conditions to improve before heading out.
Drive slower. Adjust your speed to account for lower traction when driving in ice and snow.
Increase your following distance: Increase your following distance to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply the accelerator slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Take plenty of time to slow down for a stoplight.
Remove all snow from your vehicle before venturing out. Check the washer fluid level and completely clear your vehicle of snow and ice prior to driving, including all lights for visibility
Take caution on hills. Observe how other vehicles react and maintain a safe distance.
Operate your vehicle safely. Don’t use cruise control and make sure headlights are on.
Take extra caution on bridges and shaded areas. They freeze before roads.
Black ice: Transparent ice may form on the roadway. If you notice ice forming on any object, assume that it is forming on the road surface as well. Bridges are usually the first surfaces to freeze. Drive slowly and, if possible, avoid driving on icy surfaces. Gritted roads don’t equal ice free roads.