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Prowler leaves city pensioner in state of terror

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A pensioner had to barricade herself into her bedroom after her house alarm was activated, indicating that an outside door had been opened, Galway District Court heard.

CCTV footage of the break-in identified Gary Cronin (20), of 14 Droim Chaoin, Bishop O’Donnell Road, who pleaded guilty to the burglary.

Garda Paul McNulty said that the lone female occupant (69) of the house on Maunsells Road was woken up at 3.15am on August 25 last.

“She attempted to knock off the alarm from her bedroom but was unable to do so, as (it stated) an external door was open,” he said.

“She locked herself in her bedroom and Gardaí were called.”

When they arrived, they discovered a room downstairs had been rand-sacked, and €250 cash had been stolen from the woman’s handbag. She located a claw hammer, which had been left outside, in her garden the following day.

“The house was covered by CCTV, and Gary Cronin was identified,” the Garda added.

However, the court heard that when he was shown the footage, he became highly irate.

“He picked up the HP laptop belonging to the State and smashed it against a wall in the interview room – it was no longer fit for use,” Garda McNulty said.

Two days before that burglary, a man had left the bedroom window of his house on St Brendan’s Avenue open as he slept. He was awoken by a small brick being thrown at the glass.

“He looked outside but couldn’t see anyone, so he went to the toilet – when he came back he saw a male leaning-in,” Garda McNulty said.

Cronin stole the man’s iPhone, but the owner managed to trace it by using the ‘Find My iPhone’ app, and it was located under a flowerpot in Forster Court.

Cronin’s fingerprints were lifted from the window, which placed him at the scene.

The previous night, an Audi A3 had been stolen during the burglary of a house in Fort Lorenzo.

Cronin was arrested on suspicion of stealing it and, while he admitted driving it, he would not say how it came into his possession.

The Garda outlined details of Cronin’s 71 previous convictions, most notably for possession of stolen property, for which he received a 10 month suspended sentence from Clonakilty District Court in January 2013.

Judge Mary Fahy was, therefore, prevented from completing the Galway matters until the defendant was returned to that court for possible re-activation of the term.

He was remanded in custody to appear at the next sitting of Bantry District Court.

CITY TRIBUNE

Woman sustains serious injuries after being struck by firework in Eyre Square

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Gardaí are appealing for witnesses after a young woman was struck in the face by a firework in Eyre Square in the city overnight.

It happened shortly after midnight and gardai say it’s understood the firework had been launched from close to the Tourist Information Kiosk.

The young woman suffered serious injuries and was hospitalised as a result.

Gardaí understand there was a large group of people in Eyre Square at the time and are now asking that any person who may have witnessed the incident make contact with the investigating team.

In particular Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may have video footage of the incident, either on mobile phone, CCTV or dash-cam to make contact with them.

This incident comes just days after a policing committee meeting was told of increasing concern about anti social behaviour around Eyre Square.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Garda chief suggests closing Eyre Square to curb anti-social behaviour

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Closing Eyre Square at night-time was among the radical suggestions put forward by Galway’s top Garda this week – in response to claims that the city centre’s famous landmark had become a ‘no-go area’ after dark.

It comes as Gardaí confirmed that since January they issued almost 500 fines for breaches of the city’s alcohol bylaws, which prohibit the consumption of alcohol in public spaces.

Responding to claims that people were afraid to visit parts of the city centre at night due to anti-social behaviour, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that the authorities might have to look at closing Eyre Square at certain times.

Chief Supt Curley also said that improved lighting and better CCTV were other tools that could be used to deter anti-social behaviour and to detect crime in the city centre.

“I’d need another five officers in there – and I haven’t got them,” said Chief Supt Curley of the requirement for more Gardaí on patrol in Eyre Square.

He was responding to a charge by former mayor of Galway, Councillor Frank Fahy, who said Eyre Square was dangerous at night. “It’s a no-go area,” he said at a City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting this week.

Cllr Fahy said that the illegal activity and anti-social behaviour in the city centre was a product of the Covid-19 pandemic and people socialising outdoors. Eyre Square was safe pre-Covid, he said.

In a written reply to the JPC, Chief Supt Curley said that anti-social behaviour issues had been ‘de-escalated’ along the city’s canals, Woodquay and Spanish Arch ‘as a result of extra Garda patrols’.

“The resulting consequences have led to crowd movement from these areas (and they) are now congregating at Eyre Square. Garda attention is concentrated on Eyre Square, however the return of students and the continued restrictions has led to increased numbers,” he said.

(Photo: a scene from Eyre Square at night this week taken from a video circulated on social media)

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

Tourists duped in Galway City rental accommodation scam

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have issued another ‘beware’ warning in relation to scammers offering fictitious properties to rent in the city area.

The advice comes after a report of a several separate tourists from overseas calling to a house in Shantalla over recent weeks, thinking that they had booked rental accommodation.

It is understood that the fake rental offer had been made through a booking website, but it turned out to be a scam with the tourists having ‘parted’ weeks earlier with a deposit of several hundred euro.

Galway Garda Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Michael Walsh, said that such rental scams were an ongoing reality in relation to the accommodation sector, especially in cities like Galway with huge rental markets for long-term and short-term lets.

He said that the first pieces of advice for anyone seeking to rent a property was to only do business with an established bona-fide rental agency and to always meet the prospective landlord in the accommodation to be rented.

Sgt Walsh said that the scammers also tended to be more active at times of the year when accommodation was in major demand as in the late-Summer/early-Autumn period as students returned to third level colleges.

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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