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Significant issue with heroin in Galway, says Judge

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A Lithuanian heroin dealer smiled with relief when sentenced to five months in prison for selling the drug on the streets of Galway this summer.

His arrest last July was a direct result of an ongoing operation by the local Garda Divisional Drugs Unit into the drug-dealing activities of a Dublin-based Lithuanian criminal gang here in Galway.

Imposing sentence this week at the holiday sittings of Galway District Court, visiting Judge Marie Keane said that since coming to Galway this August she could not help but notice “a significant issue with drugs in the city, moving onto more serious drugs”.

Arturas Rimkevicius (25), 330 Tirellan Heights, Headford Road, was caught red-handed by Garda Paul McNulty and Garda Orla Flatley with ten bags of heroin ‘deals’ worth €250 as he left his rental address at 5.45pm on July 3 last to ply his trade on the streets of Galway.

A follow-up search of the house in Tirellan yielded a further 70 bags of heroin ‘deals’ worth €1,750 along with a quantity of cash, which Gardai believe to be the proceeds of drug dealing.

Inspector Mick Dwyer explained the ongoing Garda operation had been mounted to target the Lithuanian gang’s criminal activities in the Galway area.

Both Gardai had the house under observation and Rimkevicius was arrested and subsequently charged with having amphetamines, cannabis and heroin in his possession at the above address on July 3 last and with having the drugs for sale or supply on the same date.

He was further charged with obstructing Garda Paul McNulty by attempting to swallow ten bags of heroin, refusing to spit them out and resisting arrest on the same date.

A backlog of cases at the National Forensic Science Laboratory in Dublin delayed the certificate of analysis for the drugs seized at the time and the case could not be dealt with until the certificate issued this week.

Inspector Mick Dwyer said there were eight charges before the court.

He then withdrew four of the charges following a plea by Rimkevicius to the remaining four charges; two for possession of drugs and two drug dealing charges.

Defence solicitor, Brian Gilmartin said his client had been in custody since July 4 last and had only been in Galway a few months before his arrest.

“He is not the first person to come before this court in similar circumstances.

“It’s been accepted that these people are being trafficked and are victims of their own circumstances.

”In Lithuania they are promised a better life but when they arrive here, they are handed a phone and drugs and told to sell them,” he said.

Pleading for leniency, Mr Gilmartin said his client had been in custody for two months already and his intention had always been to plead guilty.

Judge Keane observed: “This court cannot take a lenient approach to drugs.  Drugs are a scourge of the modern age.

“I’ve noticed since sitting in Galway this month, a significant issue with drugs, moving onto more serious drugs.”

The judge said that while she accepted Rimkevicius was a lesser player, it was significant he had ten heroin deals on him when caught and had 70 more in the house along with cash.

She sentenced Rimkevicius to three months for the drug dealing charges and two months for the possession charges, both sentences to run consecutively. She backdated the sentence to July 3, when the accused first went into custody.

Rimkevicius smiled and joked with the Lithuanian interpreter when she explained the sentence to him and he smiled broadly as he was led away by prison officers.

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Waste transfer station row set for High Court showdown

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A final decision on a proposed waste transfer station for Ballinasloe will be hammered out in the High Court in around three months’ time.

Galway County Council has granted licences for a waste transfer station at the old Poolboy dump site, but these have been successfully appealed by a local campaign group.

The latest licence issued by the County Council is also the subject of a judicial review and this application is now for hearing before the High Court in October.

It is widely expected that this will end the ‘toing and froing’ between the Ballinasloe Says No campaign group and Galway County Council, who are footing a substantial bill for the legal challenges so far.

The old dump in Ballinasloe closed more than 20 years ago and it had been hoped locally that the site would be rehabilitated for community use – as opposed to having another waste facility located there.

However, Galway County Council have been issuing licences to Barna Waste for a waste transfer station which has sparked fears that the town will be inundated with heavy trucks on a daily basis.

This is the third occasion that the Ballinasloe Says No campaign has challenged the issuing of the waste transfer licences by Galway County Council and are hoping that this will be the last.

The proceedings being taken by the group will ultimately result in a decision being made in the High Court.

Chairperson Dr Vincent Parsons said that they were committed to fight for health, safety and the protection of the environment around the Suck River Callows which was a Special Protection Area under EU law.

“It is shocking that Galway County Council Executive have decided to grant this permit despite the unsuitability of this site and associated risks. Thousands of objections have submitted from people in the Ballinasloe area.

“The decision by Galway County Council to grant a permit was quashed by High Court orders on two previous occasions.

“But despite all this Galway County Council have granted another permit for a major waste facility in Ballinasloe showing total disregard for the people of town and surrounding area,” he said.

Dr Parsons added that independent expert ecology, hydrology and engineering assessments and reports had confirmed the unsuitability of this site and the substantial risks to health.

Meanwhile, Senator Aisling Dolan said that the campaign was largely to prevent to hundreds of trucks passing by local schools, playgrounds, estates and Portiuncula Hospital.

“Thousands of families in Ballinasloe made submissions and attended public meetings making it clear that this is an inappropriate location for a waste transfer station

“This is a major issue for families living in Ballinasloe and we are a local community group who are fighting this case. I want to thank people for their support for the town.

“Together with our legal team, we are challenging this decision by Galway County Council to grant this permit to operate a waste transfer station,” Sen Dolan added.

Photo: Vincent Parsons (Chairperson) and Senator Aisling Dolan (PRO) of the Ballinasloe Says No campaign pictured at the gateway to the proposed waste transfer site in Poolboy, Ballinasloe.

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Connacht Tribune

Supply chain challenges in retail

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SPONSORED CONTENT  – EZ LIVING FURNITURE

There has been a huge demand for consumer products in 2020 and 2021. Covid-19 has resulted in people spending more time at home than ever before. Lockdown especially saw all non-essential workers previously confined to their homes. Investing in goods such as clothing, electronics and furniture was one of the few ways that people could spend their discretionary income from the comfort of their own homes. However, this major spike in consumer purchasing is only one of many challenges that the retail industry is currently facing.

Every retailer and consumer across the globe is being affected by rising costs and frustrating delivery delays and this, unfortunately, includes us –  EZ Living Furniture. As Ireland’s most loved and well-known furniture retailer, we wanted to help our customers understand the issues the entire retail industry is currently facing and will continue to face for some time by outlining the order fulfilment process to you.

Supply Chain explained

March 2020:

Many suppliers (including EZ Living Furniture) source their products from overseas. When Covid-19 first struck in the Far East in March 2020, illness and a lessened workforce lead to a dramatic decrease in production. When those countries entered lockdown, supply stopped coming from the Far East entirely.

April 2020:

When these countries began to recover and started to exit lockdown, Europe, unfortunately, went into lockdown. Because we were unable to sell stock to the same capacity, we stopped ordering from these countries.

June 2020:

Customers began ordering products again, but only online as all of the physical stores in Europe were closed. It took us, and many other European businesses a number of weeks to come to terms with the new working from home arrangements and the redirection of resources towards the increase in online sales that occurred subsequently.

November 2020:

Product manufacturers and raw material manufacturers in Europe were still closed due to the pandemic. This meant materials and products were not being produced in Europe at all.

This caused major issues with supply and production. For instance, foam is one of many materials used to make mattresses, dining chairs, and sofas. When this is in short supply, so too is the furniture that uses foam.

Hospitals around the globe began ordering thousands of containers of PPE. With no warehouses to store these essential healthcare items, they remained in the containers at ports. This lead to congestions at ports and a shortage of shipping containers worldwide.

Shipping ports closed due to the outbreak of Covid-19 in ports.

March 2021:

The Suez Canal was blocked by a container vessel for six days. This put further strain on supply chains that were already burdened by the coronavirus pandemic.

October 2021:

We are still continuing to suffer from the lack of containers. This is causing a rise in transportation and raw material costs. Deliveries to customers are also now taking longer than usual.

What are we doing to resolve this?

Stores like us are working even harder to ensure that customers receive the same products in the same time frame and at the same price-point that was in place before the pandemic. Any solution to this supply chain problem is not perfect. Prioritising faster delivery will inevitably lead to higher costs while focusing on lowering product prices will inevitably delay delivery times.

Alternatives and long-term solutions are being explored such as supply chains in eastern Europe. However, this is a time-consuming process primarily due to quality control and logistics.

What you need to know

Already this year, we have had to increase our stock levels to try to compensate for any future delivery delays. Until now, we have been absorbing the increases in transportation costs and raw materials in order to continue to offer our customers such a wide range of furnishings.

Unfortunately, due to the prolonged nature of the pandemic, stock is going to be limited, especially during certain holiday periods. Prices may also have to be increased again in the future with smaller companies likely to be affected to an even greater degree. We want to be completely transparent with our customers and make you all aware that our promotions listed below may be the last chance for you all to purchase EZ Living Furniture items at such low prices.

So, don’t wait to buy that EZ Living Furniture Item you have been eyeing and prioritise our in-stock items. The products available in all retail stores now could sell out and take a long time to return to stock. Shipping delay issues could also mean you are waiting months to receive your items.

  • The EZ Living Octoberfest Promotion – October 2021.
  • The EZ Living Furniture Black Friday Sale – November 2021.

Although we are uncertain as to how long these global supply-chain issues will last, we aim to keep you updated at all times. We appreciate your patience during these unprecedented times.

For any queries regarding your order, please contact our Customer Service team by phone, email or live chat:

Monday – Friday 9:30am – 5:00pm

Phone: 0818 222 272

Customer Service Email: customerservice@ezliving.ie

Website Enquiries Email: websales@ezlivingfurniture.ie

SPONSORED CONTENT  – EZ LIVING FURNITURE

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Connacht Tribune

A Moycullen win would add badly needed spice to football’s big day

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Conor Reddington of Annaghdown and Tuam Stars' Adam Carton in action during the North Board Minor B football final at Tuam Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

BEFORE a ball was kicked in this year’s Galway senior championship, the smart money would have been on champions Corofin, Tuam Stars, Salthill/Knocknacarra and Mountbellew/Moylough making it to the semi-finals if they managed to keep out of each other’s way on the road to the penultimate stage off the title race.

Unfortunately, for a Salthill team which, in any event, didn’t scale their expected heights this year, they came up against the champions in the quarter-finals where the Seasiders’ challenge was dismissed in convincing fashion. It was business as usual for Corofin who remain odds on to claim a record-breaking eighth consecutive title.

With Tuam Stars edging out Bearna after extra-time, a Paul Kelly goal helping Moycullen get the better of St James’, and Mountbellew/Moylough powering home against 14-man Killannin, it means that three of last year’s semi-finalists are back seeking a place in the Galway decider this weekend. Mountbellew/Moylough are the odd ones out having fallen to Corofin in the 2019 quarter-finals.

Val Daly’s troops will need the performance of the lives to overturn club’s football’s dominant power, especially as they continue to field without county player John Daly – a son of their manager. Of course, they are not without a chance and if the likes of Michael Daly, Matthew Barrett, Eoin Finnerty, Eoin Ryan and Barry McHugh hit the ground running, they could give Corofin a searching time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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