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CITY TRIBUNE

Repeat offender jailed for litany of alcohol-fuelled offences

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A drunken woman was full of the wrong spirit when she bit a hospital security guard, threw hot coffee at him and pulled decorations off a tree as she was being ‘escorted’ from UHG on Christmas Day last year.

Bianca Fahy (45), 110 An Sean Bhaile, Doughiska, appeared in custody before Galway District Court where she pleaded guilty to a plethora of alcohol-fuelled offences which occurred over a ten-month period from last August to May of this year.

The Zimbabwean national, who has lived in Ireland since 1992, and suffers from a serious medical condition, pleaded guilty to numerous Public Order offences and two assault offences, committed at UHG, and to further Public Order and theft offences committed around the city.

Fifteen Gardaí and a number of victims – some of them hospital staff – had come to court to give evidence, but their presence was not required once it emerged Fahy would not be contesting the charges.

Following the guilty plea, Inspector Karen Maloney withdrew a further twelve charges.

She said that a number of the offences were committed at the hospital – two of them last Christmas Day – and that, while staff there found Fahy’s behaviour unacceptable, they said they would not turn her away whenever she required treatment.

Insp Maloney said Garda Seamus Hurley was called to the hospital at 6.15am on May 25 last where Fahy was a patient in A&E.

She had become aggressive when a nurse woke her up and had punched the nurse in the chest.  She was arrested a short time later at Bridge Street in an intoxicated state.

Two further incidents occurred at the hospital on Christmas Day last year.

Fahy first arrived in an intoxicated state at the hospital at 1.25pm to visit a patient.

She caused a disturbance in one of the wards and ignored requests from nursing staff to leave.  When she was told by security officer Tom Coyne that she would be physically removed if she did not leave of her own accord, Fahy had shouted: “You can’t touch me.”

Mr Coyne had then escorted her from the ward.  On the way out, Fahy became aggressive, knocking everything off the nurses’ station. She threw flowers on the floor and threw a cup of coffee at Mr Coyne.

She proceeded to knock over a Christmas tree, throwing decorations and bits of the tree around a corridor.

She repeatedly kicked Mr Coyne and bit his left hand. He was wearing gloves at the time and neither the gloves nor the skin were broken.

Fahy remained extremely aggressive as she was being brought outside the hospital to wait for Gardaí.  She continued to kick the security guard in the legs and again bit his gloved hand.

The second Christmas Day incident occurred at 7.20pm when Fahy returned to the hospital and caused another disturbance at A&E. Gardaí were called again and she was charged with breaching the peace.

Two days earlier, on December 23, Gardaí were dealing with another incident in An Sean Bhaile when Fahy started shouting and roaring at them. She was told to leave the area but refused and was arrested.

The emergency services were called to Fahy’s address at 1.30am on December 20 last.  Fahy became very abusive to ambulance personnel and tried to obstruct them as they were removing her partner from the house on a stretcher to bring him to hospital.

On September 17 last year, Fahy threw rocks at a neighbour’s home, causing €750 worth of damage to the windows and front door.

Insp. Maloney said Fahy pulled a watch off a bus driver’s wrist in Eyre Square at 2.45pm on May 18 last, causing €50 worth of damage to the strap.  Gardaí found Fahy nearby.  A search revealed she was carrying a pliers and a scissors in her handbag.

She was charged under the Firearms Act with having the implements in her handbag and with causing criminal damage to the watch.

Insp. Maloney said the next offence occurred later that same night, at 11.40pm when hospital security staff alerted Gardaí that Fahy was intoxicated and walking out on the roadway in front of traffic at Newcastle Road.  She was arrested for her own safety and charged with being drunk in public.

Garda Michelle Berry encountered Fahy at 5.15pm on May 10 last when she received a report of two people causing a disturbance on Doughiska Road.

Garda Berry found Fahy lying on the footpath in an extremely intoxicated state. She was arrested for being a danger to herself and to traffic.

Fahy pleaded guilty also to stealing two bottles of wine from Centra in Forster Street on May 9 last and to stealing €80 worth of clothing from TK Maxx on the same date.

Gardaí were again called to UHG by staff at 9.35pm on April 20 because Fahy was intoxicated and very aggressive. She was arrested and charged with being drunk and breaching the peace.

Fahy caused a disturbance too at a sitting of Galway District Court on April 9.  She began to shout in the courtroom but was taken outside by Garda Sharon Lynch and told to stay outside until her case was called.  She came back in and started to shout again at the presiding judge.  She was arrested and charged with being drunk in public.

Fahy was again arrested at the hospital at 2.55am on March 30 last after arriving there in a very intoxicated state.

Earlier that night, she had gone into the Clayton Hotel at 10.30pm looking for a room for the night, even though she had no money to pay for it.

Gardaí were called when Fahy refused to leave and they found her slumped against a pillar in the lobby.

On March 29 last, Gardaí were called to a disturbance at the Cash Factory on the Tuam Road and found Fahy in a very intoxicated state.

On March 22 last, Fahy assaulted a female member of staff at Paddy Powers bookmakers.

Gardaí were called to a disturbance outside Presentation School on Presentation Road at 1.30pm on March 13 last.  They found Fahy lying on the footpath, unable to walk due to intoxication.

Insp. Maloney said the accused had 40 previous convictions, which included nine for theft, six for Public Order, 20 for road traffic offences, one for assault, one for a serious assault and the remainder for criminal damage and possession of drugs.

The court heard she was serving sentences totalling nine months which were imposed in early July for other similar offences.

Defence solicitor, Deirdre Sharkey said Fahy was a Zimbabwean national who had come to Ireland in 1992. The court was told Fahy’s partner had brought €400 to court to pay for the damage to his neighbour’s home.

In reply to Judge Fiona Lydon, Inspector Maloney said Fahy had been granted bail last January and had gone on to commit a lot of the offences before the court while out on bail.

The judge imposed sentences totalling twelve months on several of the charges and imposed an additional four-month sentence for the assault on the nurse, which she suspended for two years on condition Fahy come under the supervision of the probation service on her release from prison. Free legal aid was granted.

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CITY TRIBUNE

€46,000 Lotto winner comes forward as deadline looms

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Knocknacarra winner of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus from the 12th of December has come forward to claim their prize, just two weeks before the claim deadline.

The winning ticket, which is worth €46,234, was sold at Clybaun Stores on the Clybaun Road on the day of the draw, one of two winners of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus prize of €92,000.

A spokesperson for the National Lottery say we are now making arrangements for the lucky winner to make their claim in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Lotto jackpot for tomorrow night (27th February) will roll to an estimated €5.5 million.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.

Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.

The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.

“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.

“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”

Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.

“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.

The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools

Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.

“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.

“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.

A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
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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