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Students told to fork out for damage to rented house



Four GMIT students, prosecuted for causing extensive damage to a rented house in Renmore and for leaving without paying the ESB bill, have each been given until September to pay what they owe to the landlord.

Believed to be the first such prosecution of its type brought against students in Galway, Colin Cunniffe (21) and Kieran Swift (19), both of Ballyheigue, Williamstown; along with John Fleming (19), Castletown, Kilkerrin; and Gerald Nolan (20), Ballinakill, Glinsk, Castlerea, Co Roscommon, who were first year students last year, appeared before Galway District Court, charged with criminal damage and theft.

All four initially appeared before the court last February where they denied that between September 1, 2013 and May 30, 2014, they caused criminal damage to bed frames, pvc doors, floorboards, light fittings, spindles of the stairs, and other furniture belonging to Brendan Gardiner, at 37 Lurgan Park, Renmore.

The four also denied leaving the property without paying their ESB bill for the same period, thereby causing a loss to Mr Gardiner.

At the time, Judge Aeneas McCarthy adjourned the matter to last Friday for hearing at a special sitting of Galway District Court.

However, moments before the hearing was due to begin on Friday, solicitor, James Glynn – who represented Cunniffe, Swift and Fleming – along with solicitor, Olivia Traynor, who represented Nolan, asked Judge McCarthy for a few moments to consult with prosecutor, Inspector Brendan Carroll.

A few minutes later, Judge McCarthy asked if the matters were still being contested.  Ms Traynor shook her head and told him they were being resolved.

Garda Olivia Markham gave evidence that on May 11 last year she received a report from the landlord that the four students from GMIT had rented the property at Lurgan Park from him.

Garda Markham said the property had been extensively damaged during the rented period and she had received a list of the damage and the receipts for the repairs from the landlord.

She said she contacted each of the defendants who had been living in the house and they provided voluntary cautioned statements in relation to the incident.

A file was then prepared for the DPP in relation to the damages, she added.

Judge McCarthy interrupted the Garda’s evidence to ask both solicitors again if the case was still being contested.

Ms Traynor again shook her head and said that with the permission of the court, it had been agreed (with the prosecution and with the landlord) that the matter go back to a date in September by which time all matters would be rectified and the matter could then be struck out.

Insp Brendan Carroll said he had agreed to the adjournment on the grounds that full compensation would be paid to the landlord by all four accused.

The landlord, he said, had agreed to those terms.  The amount of compensation involved was not mentioned.

Judge McCarthy adjourned the matter to September 24, when he will be sitting in Galway again, noting that full payment of agreed compensation would be paid to the landlord by that date.

Connacht Tribune

One half of Hollywood’s golden couple sings Galway’s praises after trip



Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello and his chihuahua Bubbles, with Fergus Lally of Galway’s Celtic Chauffeurs at the Cliffs of Moher.

He may be married to the highest paid actress in the world, but that did not stop Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello savouring the best that Galway had to offer – hailing the people, the cheese, chocolate and salmon during his trip west.

The American actor, who played stripper Big Dick Richie in Steven Soderbergh’s box office hit Magic Mike, was not joined by Modern Family’s Sofía Vergara until a week later on his trip around Cork.

But he did ring his wife of six years in the US while exploring the countryside of south Galway and Clare with guide, Fergus Lally, who had picked him and his chihuahua Bubbles up from the Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Bushypark on the city’s edge.

“I had a great time with him. I brought him to the Cliffs of Moher and along the way we stopped off at the Hazel Mountain Chocolate factory, the cheese shop at the Aillwee Caves and he had a tasting at the Burren Smoke House in Lisdoonvarna,” reveals Fergus.

“He had an amazing time tasting all the foods. The back of the car was full – everybody did well out of him. He was blown away with the places I brought him. He loved the history of the Corcomroe Abbey and Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara. He was a great guy. I was delighted to drive him. The two of us just clicked.”

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

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Connacht Tribune

Covid-19 outbreak compounds UHG crisis



UHG's Emergency Department.

As Government applied the brakes on the planned full reopening of society this Friday, the West’s largest public hospital remained in a state of crisis – dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks, large numbers of patients and lengthy wait times in its Emergency Department and postponed elective procedures.

An outbreak of Covid-19 at University Hospital Galway (UHG) was having a significant impact on critical care services, Saolta University Healthcare Group has warned.

UHG confirmed it was dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks on two wards of the city hospital. A further two wards were being used exclusively to treat Covid positive cases.

This was impacting other patients – elective procedures were postponed at UHG this week due a lack of beds.

On Monday, 41 patients with Covid-19 were being treated in UHG compared with 19 the same day last week.

Portiuncula was treating eight Covid positive patients on Monday, twice as many as last week.

There were two Covid patients in ICU in Ballinasloe and six in ICU in UHG; there were four in ICU in total at both hospitals last week.

Saolta said that people presenting at the Emergency Department in UHG were experiencing long waiting times.

“The hospital has seen a significant increase in patients presenting to the hospital and many of these patients are very sick and need to be admitted to the hospital for treatment.

“As a result of the ongoing pressures and lack of bed capacity a number of elective procedures are being postponed. Patients are being contacted directly if their procedure is being postponed,” Saolta said.

Read the full story – and our latest on Covid-19 – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from  

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Connacht Tribune

Galway lecturer’s transatlantic story of Boston dynasty and Irish roots



Larry Donnelly, with the Bostonian, on the grounds of NUI Galway.

Of all the transatlantic cultural differences that greeted Bostonian Larry Donnelly on arrival in Galway, the search for a clean towel in something called a hot press left him puzzled and perplexed most of all. He also came to quickly realise that Hoover had so conquered the vacuum cleaner market that the brand name had become a verb.

But the Boston-born son of an Irish father and Scottish mother – from a famed American political dynasty with roots firmly embedded in Galway and the west – found infinitely more that united his old and new home than divided them.

His voice is familiar to radio listeners from his frequent analysis of American politics; his thoughts are already well-known to readers of his weekly column in – and law students at NUIG have benefited from his expertise in that field on both sides of the Atlantic.

He spent a fair portion of lockdown writing the Bostonian, a biography in part – not just his own, but of his family and his uncle, US Congressman Brian Donnelly (the man forever synonymous with the Donnelly Visas) in particular.

Typical of him, he rarely puts himself centre-stage but what he succeeds in doing is putting his life, his work and his journey into context. He was a man with roots on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean long before he ever made the journey to live here.

The photo on the cover of the Bostonian sets out the stall for the book, uniting uncle and nephew in an iconic pic; US Congressman Brian Donnelly marching in the 1983 Dorchester Day Parade in Boston – and an eight-year-old Larry Donnelly in the baseball cap looking up in wonderment.

“I’d always intended it to be a book about more than me. I particularly wanted it to be the story of Brian’s political career because that deserves to be told – but I didn’t think he would allow that to happen, because he has always loathed the limelight,” he says.

Read the full story – and an exclusive excerpt from the Bostonian – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from  

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