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Sting operation nabbed online fraudster

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A 51-years-old man created a false identify and several fake documents to open a bank account and obtain goods on the internet while growing cannabis plants in a Salthill apartment.

Louis Rohr, a German national who lived in Galway for 10 years, with a last address at Apartment 1, Estoria House, Nile Lodge, before moving to the Pottery Studio, Castlecove in Co Kerry last year, pleaded guilty at Galway District Court to six charges of fraud and deception.

The court heard from his solicitor, Olivia Traynor, that this was a complex case with complex issues going on in her client’s life.

Rohr pleaded guilty to making a false Electric Ireland bill in the name of Jonathan Spencer, with the intention of using it to induce another person to accept it as genuine at the apartment in Estoria House, Nile Lodge between January 1 and February 20 last year.

He pleaded guilty to inducing a member of staff at Bank of Ireland, Eyre Square, to open a bank account in the name of Jonathan Spencer by producing false documents to him on January 10 last year.

He pleaded guilty also to inducing a member of staff at 3G Ireland in Dublin to accept as genuine a false German ID card and a false Electric Ireland bill in the name of Jonathan Spencer on February 20 last year.

He further pleaded guilty to having a false Irish driving licence in his possession on February 24 last year and to having a false EU identity card in his possession on the same date also.

Rohr finally pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis plants in the apartment on the same date.

Garda Paul McNulty gave evidence that 13 other similar charges of theft and fraud were being withdrawn by the State following the plea by the accused to the remaining six charges.

He said Rohr ordered a €549 mobile phone from the 3G Ireland website on February 20 last year, using the name Jonathan Spencer.

He entered into a 24-month contract with 3G and provided a fake German identity card and a fake Electric Ireland bill, both in the name of Jonathan Spencer, to the company as proof of his name and address.

The company had reservations about the documents provided and contacted the Gardaí in Galway.  A sting operation ensued and when a courier arrived at the apartment to deliver the phone, Gardaí were waiting and Rohr admitted to them that he had made up the character, Jonathan Spencer.

He was arrested and his apartment searched. Gardaí seized a large number of fake identity cards, driving licences and two potted cannabis plants which were growing under heated lamps in the apartment’s sitting room.

Garda McNulty explained Rohr had entered a Bank of Ireland account number on the contract he had signed with 3G, using the name Jonathan Spencer. On further investigation bank staff confirmed a fake driving licence and Electric Ireland bill had been used by the accused to open the bank account under the false name.

Defence solicitor, Olivia Traynor said her client was born in Germany, moved with his family to the US when he was five and came to live in Galway in 2005.

He was a university graduate and this, she said, was a complex case but before she could get any further, Judge Mary Fahy interrupted and said she would be seeking a pre-sanction probation report on Rohr before proceeding to sentence.

She agreed it was a complex case which required such a report.

Ms Traynor said there was a lot going on in the background with a lot of medical issues involved.

“I could be here for a hour explaining things so a report would be beneficial,” she added.

Judge Fahy directed Rohr, who now resides in Kerry, to give his mobile number to a probation officer in Galway and she then asked for a pre- sanction probation report on the accused, to be prepared by the probation service in Kerry.

She adjourned the matter to October for the report and told Ms Traynor she could resume her submissions to the court then.

Connacht Tribune

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

John McIntyre

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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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Greens see red on gold rush

Dara Bradley

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Opposition is intensifying to the prospect of a licence being awarded to Canadian gold prospectors planning to explore the heart of Connemara.

Environmental campaigners have warned of the dangers of awarding a prospecting licence to Toronto-based MOAG to mine for gold and silver in land around Roundstone, Ballyconneely and Ballynahinch.

They claim the exploration could devastate water supplies, tourism, wildlife – and also led to tensions in the local community.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton has indicated he intends to grant a prospecting licence to the company to explore for the valuable minerals in townlands in Ballynahinch Barony.

The licence allows the holder to explore for mineral deposits, and does not authorise mining of any materials that are found – that requires further licensing.

And Minister Bruton’s Department insists that the activities permitted under this licence are “non-invasive” and “of minimal environmental impact”.

However, campaigners have warned of the dangers mining can have on Connemara, and have urged the public to object before July 6.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Controversial Ballinasloe landfill prepares for closure

Declan Tierney

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The Galway dump that forced householders to close their windows during the hottest of summers will take in waste for the last time during the middle of this year.

The pong the emanated from the landfill site in Kilconnell will be no more as it will cease accepting waste by the end of June next year.

Ballinasloe area councillors were told how Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site following the liquidation of the former operators Greenstar.

The Council agreed to accept 300,000 tons of municipal waste over a three-year period and this will come to an end by the middle of next year, after which the dump will be capped and closed the following year.

Director of Services Jim Cullen informed a meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council that following the closure of the dump, there would be long term care of the site to ensure that there would be no adverse environmental issues.

When Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site, an allocation of €300,000 was provided by the Department of the Environment for local projects.

Of this, €120,000 has been given to the area engineer to spend at his discretion and the remaining €180,000 has been dispersed equally among the six Ballinasloe councillors – resulting in each getting €30,000 to spend on projects in their area.

It is expected that a further €300,000 will be allocated to organisations within a certain radius of the landfill site and a committee made up of Cllr Aidan Donohue (FG), Cllr Dermot Connolly (SF) and Cllr Timmy Broderick (Ind) to decide how this fund will be dispersed.

For years, the dump in Kilconnell caused annoyance for local residents because of the smells emanating from the site and many householders say that it is still a major problem.

Cllr Michael Finnerty warned about the possibility of a run-off of leachate – a liquid that drains from landfill sites that can cause pollution – from the site into the future.

He said that he attended a meeting in Ballinasloe in which residents expressed concern about a leachate run-off from the old dump in Poolboy which has been closed down for years.

He was assured by Mr Cullen that the situation in Poolboy was being continually monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency but he would investigate these claims.

With regard to the closure of the dump in Kilconnell, Cllr Aidan Donohue said that he was not convinced about the ongoing maintenance of the site into the future.

He said when the landfill site in New Inn was closed many years ago, the Council just walked away and left the site in an unacceptable state.

The Fine Gael councillor was referring to suggestions that the Kilconnell site might have future potential and may be an asset but he cited what happened in New Inn when he said that it was just abandoned.

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