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Shoplifter nabbed filling suitcase with clothes




A shoplifter has been sentenced to four months in prison for taking a suitcase from a shelf in Penneys and packing it with clothing before leaving the store without paying.

Judge Mary Fahy described Remi Makula (19), of 52 Fearann Rí, Doughiska, as a recidivist because he has three previous convictions for similar shoplifting offences, a more recent one for a serious assault on a schoolgirl, a burglary and motoring offences.

A bench warrant was issued for Makula’s arrest when he failed to show up in court to face the shoplifting offence which occurred at Primark, Galway Shopping Centre, on March 29 last.

Garda Padraic Kelly gave evidence at Galway District Court on Monday of executing the bench warrant that morning.

Makula was brought in custody before the court where he pleaded guilty to the charge.

He had been out on bail while awaiting his appeal against the severity of a nine-month prison sentence, imposed on him by Judge Fahy three weeks ago for breaking his ex-girlfriend’s cheekbone during an assault on her in a city school.

He had pleaded guilty at the time to assaulting the 16-year-old schoolgirl, causing her harm, and to a second charge of trespassing at Presentation Secondary School on February 9 last year.

Leave to appeal the nine-month sentence was granted on Makula’s own surety of €800, and one independent surety of €1,000, with half to be lodged in each case.

Judge Fahy granted leave to appeal the sentence to a higher court on condition Makula make no contact, by any means, with the injured party or her family.

Makula immediately lodged the required €900 cash in court and took up bail.

He failed to show up in court last week to face the separate shoplifting charge and a bench warrant issued for his arrest.

Sergeant Georgina Lohan, prosecuting, told the court that Macula was captured on CCTV filling a suitcase with €122 worth of clothing. He handed the suitcase back to security staff when they apprehended him outside the store.

Judge Fahy said the accused made it very clear when he was a juvenile that he had no interest in doing community service.

“He is in and out of this court practically every week and the attitude is he doesn’t want help and he won’t do community service.

“The blasé attitude of him. He thinks he can just walk in and take items and he doesn’t treat the court with any seriousness.

“The blasé way he took a suitcase and filled it up with €122 worth of clothing. That’s a lot of clothing because the clothes are cheap. And he has come before this court, time and time again,” Judge Fahy said before sentencing Makula to four months in prison for this latest shoplifting offence.

Members of Makula’s family immediately lodged the required €700 cash for an appeal so that he could walk free pending the hearing of that.


Designated drinking zones in city centre are ‘only solution’

Stephen Corrigan



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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Dispute simmers between businesses and Council over outdoor spaces

Dara Bradley



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

Enda Cunningham



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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