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Connacht Tribune

Speeding driver abused Garda after being stopped

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A motorist who became aggressive towards a Garda after he was stopped for undertaking and overtaking cars at speed on a dual carriageway, was convicted of dangerous driving and disqualified for two years.

John White (38), Circular Road, Gort, appeared before Galway District Court this week where he denied driving dangerously, in a manner including speed, at Bothar na dTreabh, Galway, on December 19, 2016.

He also denied he breached the peace, by engaging in threatening, abusive and insulting words or behaviour in a public place at Tuam Road, Galway, on the same date.

He further denied two more charges for refusing to give his driving licence and his date of birth to Garda Shane Lambe on the evening in question.

Garda Lambe told the hearing he was operating a speed check at 7.51pm on Bothar na dTreabh when he detected a white Audi A6 travelling at 111km/h in the 50km/h zone, undertaking and overtaking other vehicles as it approached him.

He pursued the vehicle on his motorbike and it pulled in at Supermac’s on the Tuam Road.

He said a man got out of the car, while a woman who had been in the passenger seat, ran into Supermac’s. Garda Lambe said he explained to the man he had stopped him for speeding and the man had flippantly replied: “So?”

He said the man kept walking away from him as he tried to speak to him.  Garda Lambe said he asked the man for identification and he said he didn’t have any.

He said the man then quickly flashed a bank card in his face and he noticed the name on the card was John White.

Garda Lambe said he asked the man four times for his date of birth. He said the defendant went into Supermac’s and came back out a minute later.

Garda Lambe said that while he was recording White’s name in his notebook, White asked to see the speed gun.

He said White tried to grab the gun off him and he had to move it from one hand to the other. White then went to grab his arm. He then put the gun into the pannier on his motorbike.

The Garda said White asked him aggressively to show him the gun again but he refused to do so.  He said White shouted at him a number of times and asked him if he was f**kin’ deaf under his helmet.

Garda Lambe told Judge Mary Fahy he decided to retreat from the scene as he began to fear for his own safety.  He said that when he got onto his motorbike to leave, the defendant stood in front of the bike, took out his phone and started to record him, demanding to see the speed gun again.

Garda Lambe said he got off the bike, and for the purpose of the recording, he showed White the gun again. He said he then left the scene because he was fearful for his own personal safety.

In reply to Inspector Brendan Carroll, prosecuting, Garda Lambe said White had given him a flippant response when first shown the speed gun reading and in a condescending tone he had said, “So?” while continuing to walk away from him.

He said White told him his address was Gort and he would find him at that address. Garda Lambe said he had used the Audi’s registration to obtain White’s full address.

White gave evidence he worked in the security industry, installing CCTV and intruder alarms. He said he had been Christmas shopping in Galway that day with his fiancée who was heavily pregnant at the time.

He disagreed with Garda Lambe that he was speeding.  He said he had been driving a white Audi A5 and Garda Lambe had mistaken his car for another car.

Insp. Carroll clarified that Garda Lambe had recorded the car was an Audi A5 in his written statement.

White told Judge Fahy his fiancée had a serious pain as they were driving home and she asked him to pull in to use the bathroom in Supermac’s on the Tuam Road.

He said he told Garda Lambe his fiancée was in pain and he would need to take her to the hospital, but the Garda was not very helpful.

He said he produced his driving licence to the Garda from his wallet and denied it had been a bank card.

He said he also gave Garda Lambe is name and address when asked.

He said he asked to see the speed gun because Garda Lambe had told him he had been doing 111km/h.  He said he could not have been doing that speed because the cruise control was switched on.

He denied he had stood in front of Garda Lambe’s motorbike or that he had tried to grab his arm. “I was not threatening, abusive or insulting to him.  I said no bad word to him,” White told Judge Fahy.

He said he brought his partner to the hospital after the incident that evening.

Judge Fahy said Garda Lambe was an experienced member of the Garda traffic corps and it was unusual for him to say he had to retreat for his own safety because of White’s aggression.

The judge said she did not accept White’s evidence that there had been a medical emergency as he had been driving away from the direction of the hospital and not towards it at the time he was stopped.

“He seems to think it’s okay to record a Garda in the course of his duty.   That is quite wrong,” Judge Fahy said.

Insp. Carroll said White had 18 previous convictions, four of which were for road traffic offences and the other for public order offences.

Judge Fahy convicted White on all charges, noting a disqualification was mandatory on the dangerous driving charge.

She convicted and fined him €500 for that offence and disqualified him from driving for two years.

He fined him €100 for not producing his licence to Garda Lambe, €100 for refusing to give his date of birth and €100 for breaching the peace.

Leave to appeal the convictions was granted.

Connacht Tribune

Student nurses face all the risk – for no reward

Dara Bradley

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Working on the children’s ward of a busy hospital during a global pandemic is no joke; less funny still when you’re not getting paid for your toil.

All the risk and none of the rewards of qualified staff – that’s the lot of Edel Moore, a student nurse who is currently on placement at University Hospital Galway.

Edel, and hundreds of student nurses like her on placement in UHG and Portiuncula in Ballinasloe, want more than a round of applause and platitudes from Government.

“None of us want a pat on the back for struggling. We’d just like to be recognised,” she said.

“The Government are full-time talking about front-line workers, and they want to give them a ‘clap hands’. Then you see Junior Ministers getting massive raises. For what? What have they done for us, the student nurses, that they’re getting a €16,000 wage increase?

“We’ve put ourselves through a four year degree but all I’m worth is a clap? Thanks! It’s ridiculous. They say that front-line workers deserve all the help they can get but it just seems that the ones who are able to give us the help we need are not going to give us the help that we deserve.”

Edel Moore is a mature student originally from Westmeath but living in Leitir Mealláin in Connemara with her husband and three children.

A third year student nurse of NUIG, she is currently on placement at the paediatric ward at UHG.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Island museum gets the green light

Declan Tierney

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An artist's impression of the proposed Inishbofin museum.

Work is expected to begin shortly on the construction of a museum on Inishbofin after planners gave the green light to the project.

The museum at Middlequarter is being developed by local historian and photographer Marie Coyne – and when completed, it will be home to items of historical significance from both Inishbofin and Inishark.

There is an existing museum on the island but it is too small to house the amount of artefacts, photographs and family histories that have been assembled over the years.

The new building will also include a photographic exhibition room, restoration workshop along with a gift shop and coffee dock. It is proposed that the new 3,400 square feet museum will be built on a site at the rear of Ms Coyne’s home.

Eamon Gavin of Eamon Gavin Architects based in Cornamona told the Connacht Tribune that this was an important project for the island and it was a welcome decision.

And he said that the green light would kickstart the process of conserving the vast and unique artefacts and archives built up over the years.

“As a practice, we have a long history of dealing with planning consultancy on unique rural sites in Connemara and the islands, therefore we fully understood how sensitive the proposed location of the project would be – the site is located in a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and National Heritage Area,” he said.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Tuam woman a picture of health a year after Covid crisis

Declan Tierney

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Tuam's Kitty Farrell with her dog Lulu a year after her Covid diagnosis.

Last year was a Mother’s Day like no other for Kitty Farrell who spent it in the back of an ambulance being rushed to hospital with Covid – but the 80 year old Tuam woman can look forward to a more sedate celebration this time out….thankfully restored back to full health.

Kitty, from Ballygaddy Road, had developed a debilitating cough the previous week – and when she was admitted to UHG on Mother’s Day, she tested positive for the coronavirus despite a lack of symptoms.

The retired businesswoman spent the next nine days seriously ill in isolation – and all alone as her four children could not visit her.

“To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to come through it but I was so sick that at times, it didn’t really matter. But the thought of passing away in isolation made a bad situation even worse,” Kitty said at the time.

A year on, she is back to full health, and while she restricts her movements, Kitty told The Connacht Tribune that she is just happy to be alive and she spends her days ‘pottering about’ and looking forward to the arrival of family members.

“Even though I don’t particularly agree with the current lockdown because everyone should be responsible for their own behaviour, I am living a life of relative isolation at the moment,” she said.

Read Kitty’s full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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