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Scammer duped buyers into paying for non-existent tickets

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Two people who used the Done Deal website to con others into lodging money into their bank accounts in return for non-existent tickets and car parts, have each been given time to repay their victims.

Ioan Makula (43), 52 Fearann Rí, Doughiska, pleaded guilty at Galway District Court to three charges of theft and three involving deception, by inducing three people to lodge various amounts of money into his bank account on dates in March and April last year, with the promise of Munster rugby and English Premiership tickets, which never existed.

All three people had responded to adverts on the Done Deal website offering tickets at knockdown prices.

The first victim rang the number on the website and willingly lodged €150 into Makula’s bank account on April 8 last year with the promise of Munster rugby match tickets. They never arrived in the post.

The second victim also responded to an advert on the Done Deal website on May 30 last year and lodged money into Makula’s account for two Manchester United v Liverpool tickets, which he never received.

The third victim lodged €150 to the same bank account for another Premiership match on May 14 last year. No tickets arrived for that either.

Defence solicitor, Brian Gilmartin said there were other individuals involved behind the scenes, but his client had been left to carry the can.

“To say he was naive would be putting it mildly as all the evidence points to his bank account,” Mr Gilmartin said of his client.

Mr Gilmartin said his client accepted he owed victims – including others who were not the subject of the charges before the court – a total of €1,520. He had brought €300 to court and if given more time, he would repay the balance.

Judge Grainne O’Neill agreed to adjourn sentence to January for the payment of further compensation.

The second accused was Kayona Ward (23), a mother of two from 18 Carn Ard, Circular Road.

She pleaded guilty to four charges of theft and deception.

Inspector Kevin Gately said one man lodged €1,000 to Ward’s bank account on May 26 last to buy a engine which was advertised on the Done Deal website. The engine did not exist.

Another woman lodged €170 to Ward’s bank account for engine parts a day earlier. She never received them either.

Insp Gately said that when questioned by Gardai, Ward said her bank account details and her PIN code had been taken from her and she had no knowledge of it.

He explained that adverts had been placed on the Done Deal website with a phone number and when victims rang the number, they were given Ward’s bank account number and told to lodge their money in return for items which they never received.

He said Ward was aware that money was coming into her account and she knew she was not entitled to it.

Defence solicitor, Noel Rhattigan, said his client had a baby just three weeks ago and had one other young child.

He said she was in debt and had money difficulties and was offered a reduction in the debt she owed if she gave her bank account details to a third party.

Mr Rhattigan said Ward was sorry for her role and she never benefited financially from it.

Judge O’Neill adjourned sentence to December 16 for Ward to repay the money owed to both victims.

CITY TRIBUNE

Designated drinking zones in city centre are ‘only solution’

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Properly staffed designated areas are the only solution to out-of-control outdoor boozing, according to the city councillor who drafted the city’s drinking bylaws.

Cllr Peter Keane told the Galway City Tribune it was likely that councillors would seek to ‘tweak’ the existing bylaws in the near future to find a long-term solution that would enable young people to ‘enjoy a drink outdoors in a safe and controlled environment’, not just now, but in the future too.

To avoid a repeat of scenes around Spanish Arch over recent weekends, the Fianna Fáil councillor said providing areas where the consumption of alcohol was allowed would enable Gardaí to properly enforce the drinking bylaws throughout the rest of the city.

He said he could ‘absolutely appreciate the concerns of residents’ in the Claddagh and elsewhere where anti-social behaviour including urinating in gardens ‘and worse’ had been a blight in recent weeks, but said with proper control, those worst excesses could be avoided.

In the first ten days of June, 83 on-the-spot fines were issued in the city for drinking in a public place.

And last Saturday night, Gardaí closed off the Quincentenary Bridge after hundreds of young people gathered on the carriageway and turned it into a “highly-dangerous road traffic risk situation”.

“Control is the key word for me. Gardaí don’t have the resources, nor do they have the appetite as far as I can see, to deal with the lack of control there has been during the recent good weather.
“If you were to designate, say for example the Spanish Arch or a green area in Salthill, where the bylaws didn’t apply, you could put a number of wardens in place there to control the situation. You could provide adequate bins and toilets, and enough bodies to staff it, and that would allow gardaí to police the bylaws elsewhere,” said Cllr Keane.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and coverage of the re-opening of the hospitality sector and outdoor dining, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Dispute simmers between businesses and Council over outdoor spaces

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Friction between businesses and local government over the reclaiming of public space to facilitate outside hospitality marred the beginning of the city’s ‘outdoor summer’.

Galway City Council has come under fire over its handling of plans by bars and restaurants to use street furniture to facilitate outdoor dining and drinking.

Most city watering holes and eateries resumed trading on Bank Holiday Monday – serving outdoors only – for the first time since Christmas, and the authorities reported that it was successful for the most part, although it needed time to ‘bed in’.

The city vintners’ group said its members with adequate outdoor space were happy to be back and described the mood as ‘euphoric’ in places.

But several outlets expressed disappointment with the Council.

In Eyre Square, the Skeff Late Bar and Kitchen claimed it had to cancel 200 advance bookings – up to 800 people – for this week, after the Council refused permission for “extended outdoor seating”.

On Middle Street, Sangria Tapas Restaurant lashed the Council for refusing it permission to use certain types of awning and windbreakers to facilitate outdoor dining. “Surely the powers that be can take time to support the industry that supports the city?” its proprietor said in a complaint to City Hall.

‘Back the West’, businesses criticised the Council for rowing back on promises to provide additional outdoor space on Dominick Street Lower and Dominick Street Upper, in time for outdoor hospitality’s reopening on June 7.
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

Council chief: ‘landlords see 4% rent increase cap as a target’

Enda Cunningham

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Chief Executive of Galway City Council has said that the 4% annual cap on residential rent increases is now seen as a target by many landlords.

Brendan McGrath said that affordability continues to be a major problem for renters in the city and that an increasing number of people availing of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme have to pay ‘top ups’ to their landlords.

The HAP scheme replaces rent supplement for those with a long-term housing need – the individual finds a private rented accommodation within specific rent caps and the Council pays the landlord directly. The tenant then pays a rent to the Council based on their weekly household income.

The maximum monthly rents under the scheme range from €330 for an adult in shared accommodation to €900 for a single parent or couple with three kids.

Based on their household size, tenants can also apply for a 20% extra ‘discretionary’ payment on top of their HAP payment.

However, Mr McGrath said many on the HAP scheme in Galway have to pay top ups to their landlords.

“Rents as a percentage of income is increasing and affordability remains a major problem for the city’s renters. The majority of HAP tenants require additional discretionary payments to assist them in maintaining their tenancies, particularly single person households.

“An increasing number of HAP tenants now have to pay top ups to their landlords even with the 20% extra HAP discretionary payment applied for their particular household size,” Mr McGrath said in a report to councillors.
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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