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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

Councillors back bid to ban city centre parking in Galway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors have unanimously agreed to ask Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to limit parking to residents only in the city centre.

Pedestrians in the city are being treated like second-class citizens, according to the Mayor, who said cars continued to get the priority on Galway’s streets.

At a meeting of the City Council this week, Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) said the city had come to a standstill in car traffic, and pedestrians and cyclists were suffering the consequences.

“At junctions, why am I a second-class citizen in my own city as a pedestrian? It rains in Galway for 300 days of the year, but I am a second-class citizen when priority is given to motorists.

“It’s always the pedestrian that waits,” she said, hitting out at the length it took to get a green light to cross at pedestrian crossings.

One way to reduce the number of cars in the city centre would be to limit parking to residents only in the city centre, said the Mayor.

In a motion she proposed, seconded by Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind), councillors unanimously agreed to write to the Minister for Transport to demand he pass the necessary legislation to enable the Council to do this.

The Mayor said residents were “sick, sore and tired” of people parking where they wanted when they visited the city and said despite a desire to introduce this measure going back almost 20 years, the Council was hamstrung by national legislation that prevented them from proceeding.

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

Planners approve homes for ‘cuckoo fund’ investor

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The green light has been given for the construction of 345 apartments at the Crown Square site in Mervue – the majority of which will be put on the rental market and operated by a ‘cuckoo fund’ for a minimum of fifteen years.

Crown Square Developments, which is owned by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has secured permission from An Bord Pleanála for the ‘Build to Rent’ development, with four blocks ranging ranging from four to nine storeys in height.

There will also be a neighbourhood facility with a gym, a primary care medical centre with pharmacy, a ‘working from home’ lounge, six shops, a games room and a creche.

There will be 240 two-bed apartments, 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds, all of which will be specifically for the rental market and not available to purchase.

A breakdown of the apartments shows there will be 240 two-beds; 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds.

To meet social housing requirements, the developer plans to transfer 35 of the apartments (20 two-bed, 10 one-bed and 5 three-bed) to Galway City Council.

A total of 138 car-parking spaces have been allocated on the lower basement levels of Crown Square for residents, along with shared access to another 109 spaces and another 13 for use by a ‘car club’. There will be 796 secure bicycle parking spaces to serve the apartments.

The Board has ordered that the apartments can only be used as long-term rentals, and none can be used for short-term lettings.

Under ‘Build to Rent’ guidelines, the development must be owned and operated by an institutional entity for a minimum period of 15 years and “where no individual residential units shall be sold separately for that period”. The 15-year period starts from the date of occupation of the first residential unit.

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

Councillors divided over vote on Salthill Prom cycleway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to install a temporary two-way cycle lane along Salthill Promenade hangs in the balance, with city councillors split ahead of a vote next week.

On Monday night, the 18 city councillors will discuss Mayor Colette Connolly’s motion that the lane be installed on the coastal side of the road from Blackrock to a point opposite Galway Business School.

A poll of the councillors carried out by the Galway City Tribune yesterday found nine in favour of the proposal, with one indicating they will abstain. A simple majority is required and if there is a 9-9 split, the Mayor holds a ‘casting’ vote, effectively a second vote.

There has been a flurry of lobbying by cycling campaigners urging councillors to vote in favour, as well as some complaints from residents worried it will again impinge on their parking as visitors to Salthill seek somewhere to park up while they swim or walk along the most utilised resource the city has.

During lockdown, Gardaí removed parking on the Prom to deter people from gathering in a public space. This resulted in motorists blocking driveways and entering private estates, leading one estate off Threadneedle Road to hire a private clamping company.

Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) believes there are a maximum of 250 spaces that would be lost to the project on one side of the road as currently proposed, including seven disabled spaces, which could be reassigned close by.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the issue and to see how each councillor intends to vote, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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