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Sudden end to trial for Co Galway publican’s manslaughter

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The trial of a Romanian man charged with the manslaughter of Galway schoolteacher John Kenny in his pub in Oughterard in 2011, ended abruptly this week when the prosecution withdrew the charge from the jury.

Marian Lingurar (37), with a former address at 29 Orchard Court, Blackpool, Cork, had earlier denied the unlawful killing of Mr Kenny at his pub on Main Street, Oughterard, on September 25, 2011, contrary to Common Law.

The prosecution entered a nolle prosequi in the manslaughter charge on Tuesday after accepting a plea to a lesser charge against the accused of withholding information during the Garda investigation into Mr Kenny’s death.  Sentence has been adjourned to April 30.

Earlier on Tuesday afternoon, Shane Costello SC had opened the prosecution case to the jury of six women and six men.

He said evidence in the case was circumstantial as there were no independent witnesses to the offence but it was the State’s case that the accused was part of a group of people who set about robbing John Kenny in his pub that night.

He said the accused drove three other people from Galway to the public house and back again to Galway that night.

Amongst the people he drove was Florin Fitzpatrick – a Romanian man who became an Irish citizen through marriage – along with a juvenile and a third man, named as Vasile Muntean.

“They all went there with the intention of robbing Mr Kenny. The allegation is that the accused drove these men to the premises from Galway and back. Florin was working behind the bar while the juvenile was doing security at the door.

At some stage the accused drove Vasile Muntean to the pub and all four were there after the pub closed.

“Mr Kenny was beaten so severely be died from his injuries. His body was discovered the next day by his wife and daughter. He had been tied up and restrained.

“He died as a result of the beating he sustained,” Mr Costello told the jury.

While the prosecution, he said, could not prove Lingurar took park in the robbery, he did participate in the crime by driving the others to and from the premises, and was as liable and as culpable as the others.

“It cannot be proved who caused the death, but he was an active participant in the robbery that night.

“He actively participated in the robbery of the pub and of Mr Kenny and he is liable for the death of Mr Kenny. That is the prosecution case,” Mr Costello told the jury.

However, shortly afterwards, Mr Costello told Judge Rory McCabe that the prosecution was not proceeding with the manslaughter charge and that the accused could be arraigned on a second charge of withholding information.

Lingurar then pleaded guilty to withholding information from Gardaí which would assist in the apprehension and subsequent prosecution of another person in connection with the death of Mr Kenny.

See full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Compliant Galwegians are keeping their distance

Francis Farragher

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Checkpoint...Garda warning for those who stray too far from home.

BOY racers, cyclists, gym users and young people attending house parties are among those in Galway who have been issued with Fixed Payment Notices (FPNs) for breaching the Covid-19 travel regulations over the past week.

However, Gardaí in Galway have reported ‘a very high-level of compliance’ from the general public as regards the travel restrictions that are a central part of the Level-5 ‘Stay Home – Stay Safe’ Covid campaign.

Over the weekend, Gardaí issued FPNs to so-called ‘boy racers’ in two separate cases on the Tuam Road outside Galway city and in the Craughwell area.

FPNs – involving a €100 on-the-spot fine – were also issued last week to a number of young people attending house parties in the Galway city area, after Gardaí had been called to the scene.

Two cyclists stopped in the Cornamona area of North Connemara last week, who were 19 kilometres from their homes – and outside their own county boundary – also faced Garda censure.

The cyclists weren’t from the same household; they weren’t wearing masks; and also, were in breach of social distancing regulations.

Gardaí also came across a case of a gym in South Galway being used by a number of people last week – also a breach of the Covid-19, Level-5 restrictions.

While Gardaí also received a number of calls about possible ‘pub-opening’ violations, on investigation, they found no sign of activity on the premises they checked out.

Galway Chief Garda Superintendent, Tom Curley, told the Connacht Tribune that overall, there was ‘a very high level of compliance’ as regards the travel restrictions which was ‘very encouraging’.

See full story – and comprehensive Covid-19 coverage – 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

Lessons learned on home-schooling

Denise McNamara

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Cathal Moore, principal of the Presentation Athenry.

Home-schooling is working better this time round with many teachers conducting live classes and more students actively engaging than when schools closed suddenly last March.

But virtual education is a poor substitute for the experience of the classroom with students sorely missing social interaction, according to teachers, while parents are still struggling to balance working from home with ensuring their children keep up with the school work.

The sooner that schools can reopen safely the better for everyone – although most agree that it’s looking more likely to be after mid-term than at the beginning of February.

“Everybody is in a better place this time round – schools, teachers, parents and students. Everybody expected to be back at school. It’s no secret last time we got two hours’ notice but this time round we’re better prepared,” remarks the principal of the Presentation Athenry, Cathal Moore.

The mixed secondary school is doing a mix of live and recorded classes as not every student has good broadband.

After the first week, there was feedback from students that they felt there was too much homework in addition to the virtual classes while teachers reported that they would prefer more live communication from their charges.

“It is more tiring – fatigue is definitely a factor when on a screen all day and if this goes on for a prolonged amount of time it will creep in for a growing number of students.”

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

Hard-pressed hospitals down 450 staff over Covid

Dara Bradley

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More than 450 staff – including nurses at UHG and Portiuncula – are now out of work due to Covid, as staff shortages threaten the public hospitals’ ability to cope with the crisis.

The upsurge has seen UHG deal with a record number of Covid-19 patients, and the hospital had to escalate its surge capacity plan and add extra beds in ICU.

The latest CSO figures reveal that the first week of the New Year was Galway’s deadliest yet on the pandemic front, with five lives lost over those opening seven days of 2021.

That brought the total number of virus fatalities in Galway to 25, and it’s understood there have been further deaths locally since then, which will be confirmed later.

From March to the end of November there were 20 deaths notified in Galway, and no further deaths were recorded in all of December.

News of Galway’s deadliest week comes as local leaders in the HSE, Garda, and local government joined forces to warn that Covid-19 was still spreading rapidly in the community.

Nationally, between January 5 and 18, there were 263 Covid-19 deaths recorded, according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC), which does not give a geographical breakdown. Of these deaths, 119 were hospitalised and 14 had been admitted to ICU.

The median age of all of Galway’s Covid fatalities is 83; the median age of the confirmed cases in Galway is 31 – the lowest of 26 counties.

See full story – and comprehensive Covid-19 coverage – 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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