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Repeat offender jailed for litany of alcohol-fuelled offences



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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Old pre-fabs create a stink for University Hospital Galway



From the Galway City Tribune: The HSE has drawn up site-clearance plans for University Hospital Galway, to make way for what will eventually be the permanent Emergency Department and a new Women’s and Children’s block.

The health authority has blamed the old pre-fabs for “unacceptable foul odours” from the drainage system.

The HSE has now sought planning permission for the demolition of the temporary pre-fab offices used as for the segregation of the ‘old’ Emergency Department during the Covid pandemic and pre-fab buildings used for outpatients services and the building used for security.

At the end of last year, the new Temporary Emergency Department (TED) opened its doors – part of which will form the new €450m ED and Women and Children’s block which the HSE hopes will open in 2029.

“The removal of residual temporary buildings and two single-storey sections of the permanent buildings is now required to progress the clearance of the site for the proposed ED and Women’s & Children’s block.

“The demolition works include removing redundant mechanical and electrical services and utilities, which cross the site, and associated asbestos removal. They also include removal of site works such as concrete ramps, steps and railings.

“Notwithstanding the requirement to remove the buildings to clear the site, the greater part of the buildings have reached the end of their useful life.

“There are also significant infrastructural problems associated with them, particularly foul drainage. The buildings have been built over the existing foul drainage system and parts of it are inaccessible.

“There have been continuing maintenance difficulties, which have resulted in unacceptable foul odours and blockages.

This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. A one-year digital subscription costs just €89.00. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

“Reinstatement works comprise blocking up openings which previously formed links between the hospital main block and the buildings to be removed, reinstating roads and footpaths to a safe condition and temporary surfacing of the site.

“The existing consultants’ carpark will be reinstated to 2019 configuration, prior to the pandemic, to provide the same number of spaces at that time,” the application reads.

A demolition plan included as part of the application noted that if any asbestos is encountered on site, it must be transported under a hazardous waste licence to a landfill or hazardous waste facility by specialist contractors.

A decision is expected from Galway City Council at the beginning of May.

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New Galway transportation strategy will be published by end of year



From the City Tribune: A new Galway Transportation Strategy – to take account of the national Climate Action Plan 2023 – is due to be published by the end of this year, according to Green Party Minister, Eamon Ryan.

In reply to a Dáil question from Galway West Independent TD Catherine Connolly, the Transport Minister said that the new plan would also include a feasibility study on a light rail system for the city.

The revised Transportation Strategy, known as GMATS (Galway Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy), has already gone out to tender with the National Transport Authority (NTA) currently assessing the submissions received.

“A feasibility study of light rail will be undertaken as part of the development of the new strategy which will replace the current Galway Transport Strategy,” Minister Ryan stated in his reply to Deputy Connolly.

He added that once the tender assessment process was completed, the composition of the new strategy team would then be known.

“The NTA will undertake a comprehensive public consultation exercise on a draft GMATS as part of the development process, with an expected publication of a final strategy before the end of 2023,” Minister Ryan stated.

This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. A one-year digital subscription costs just €89.00. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

As well as the NTA, Galway City and County Councils are involved in the process which is designed to incorporate actions included in the Government’s Climate Action Plan 2023.

This plan, which was adopted by Government on December 21 last, takes account of the carbon budgets and sectoral emissions ceilings agreed by Cabinet earlier in 2022.

Some of the key goals in the Climate Action Plan include one in three cars to be electric by 2030 with walking, cycling and public transport to account for 50% of all daily trips.

GMATS is also expected to examine plans for the City Bypass Project which has been allocated a further €3 million in this year’s roads budget by Galway County Council.

Earlier this year, the High Court quashed a Bord Pleanála decision giving the go-ahead for the €600 million City Ring Road, because the Board did not consider the Climate Action Plan when they approved the project.

According to Oranmore area councillor, Liam Carroll, €33 million has already been spent on the Ring Road project. “I hope that is not a black hole,” he said.

In her Dáil question to Minister Ryan, Deputy Connolly, asked about the status of the preparations for carrying out the promised feasibility study of light rail in Galway.

She also wanted to know the status and membership of the specialist team involved in the updating of the Galway Transport Strategy over the coming months.

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Galway leak detection team flushed with success



A major leak detection programme uncovered the loss of around 850,000 litres of water each day near Taylor’s Hill.

Uisce Éireann, the rebranded Irish Water, compared the figure to the daily usage of the entire population of Ballinasloe and described it as “colossal”.

Gerry O’Donnell, Leakage Reduction Programme Manager, described the find on Rosary Lane as “one of the largest savings of our precious resource this year in the North-West Region.”

“It’s hard to understand that more than 850,000 litres of clean drinking water were disappearing underground every day. Water is a valuable resource and expensive to produce so finding this leak and successfully repairing it was of paramount importance.”

A spike in water usage in the Taylor’s Hill area was noticed by the City Council and Uisce Éireann. However, there was a challenge in identifying the exact location of the water loss on the underground public network as there was no water surfacing.

An assessment by the local authority’s leak detection crew followed. Step testing work coupled with specialised detection equipment allowed the team to pinpoint the location of the leak.

Kieran Garvey, Executive Engineer with Galway City Council, said: “For our leak detection team to have found this leak and the subsequent improvement to the network is a massive win.”

Gerry O’Donnell added: “The finding of this leak is testament to the expertise and knowledge within Galway City Council’s Find and Fix crews.”

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