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Portumna solicitor suspended for a year after admitting misconduct

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Galway Bay fm newsroom- A Portumna solicitor who admitted professional misconduct, including using 10 thousand euro in client monies towards paying his personal tax bill and reducing the overdraft on his office account, has been suspended for a year.

The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly ruled that Thomas D’Alton can resume practising after the year under conditions to expire after seven years.

The Irish Times reports that the court heard that the monies taken were later repaid, no client suffered a loss and there was no client account deficit when Mr D’Alton, who had practised as James J Kearns & Sons, Portumna, closed down
his practice in November 2017

During the hearing Mr Justice Kelly cited the ill health experienced by Mr D’Alton in the relevant period.

His health difficulties began with a fall in 2007 which resulted in ankle and foot injuries and a series of surgeries over several years from 2009.

A report from his GP described Mr D’Alton’s experience between 2014 and 2016 as “catastrophic”.

It noted he developed a very serious bone infection, had a hip replacement and had to work during it all.

The GP also expressed concern about Mr D’Alton’s mental health throughout this period.

The judge said he was “astonished” details of the ill health were not put before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal when it recommended the sanction of strike off.

The Tribunal had noted Mr D’Alton had a prior disciplinary record involving five different adverse findings against him, one of which had lead to his being required to pay just over 14 thousand euro restitution to a man’s estate.

All of those matters, as well as issues in 2010 concerning failure to honour undertakings to financial institutions, were ultimately resolved.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly refused a Law Society application to strike off Mr. D’Alton and said the alternative sanction determined by the court was a “proportionate” response to the solicitor’s wrongdoing.

Mr D’Alton, who is married with children, said in an affidavit he has a “stark economic necessity” to earn money.

The judge noted several solicitors in Mr D’Alton’s locality had provided references speaking “very highly “of him and expressing a willingness to employ him.

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UHG has highest number of COVID patients and people on trolleys nationwide

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – UHG today has the highest number of people on trolleys nationwide, as well as the highest number of COVID-19 patients.

While the number on trolleys has increased in recent days, the number of virus patients has dropped significantly over the past 24 hours.

Figures from the INMO show there are 52 patients on trolleys at UHG today.

That’s the highest figure nationwide, behind University Hospital Limerick at 50 and Letterkenny University Hospital at 46.

The city hospital also continues to have the highest number of COVID-19 patients nationwide, though figures have been dropping in recent days.

There are currently 63 virus patients at the hospital – compared to 73 yesterday.

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3 Galway recipients of Johnson & Johnson STEM programme for women scholarships

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Three county Galway students at NUI Galway have received scholarships from a prestigious national programme for women in STEM.

The programme is run by Johnson & Johnson Ireland and is open to women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, Manufacturing and Design.

Karen Gillooly of Williamstown, Luka Anna Mac Lochlainn of Moycullen, and Thalyra Costa of Gort were among 10 successful applications to the inaugural programme.

They’ll also receive extensive industry mentoring and leadership training to prepare them for a future career in the STEM field.

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Galway TD demands Taoiseach give commitment on National Maternity Hospital

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – A Galway TD has demanded that the Taoiseach give a commitment on the planned new National Maternity Hospital that “reflects the will of the Dáil”.

Deputy Catherine Connolly argued the planned facility must be a public hospital on a public site, owned and run by the state.

Speaking in the Dáil, she noted the Government has previously accepted several motions making the same call.

Addressing Michael Martin directly, she asked if he will comply with the will of the Dáil – and said it is a simple yes or no answer.

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