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Sudden end to trial for publican’s manslaughter

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The trial of a Romanian man charged with the manslaughter of schoolteacher John Kenny in his pub in Oughterard in 2011, ended abruptly yesterday 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.

Mr Costello said that plea was acceptable to the prosecution and he entered a nolle prosequi in relation to the manslaughter charge.

Judge McCabe discharged the jury and adjourned sentence in the matter to April 30 to allow Mr Kenny’s family time to prepare victim impact statements which, he said, would be taken into consideration on that date.

The body of Mr Kenny, who was a teacher at Presentation College Athenry, was found the day after his death on the floor of a room in his pub with his hands tied behind his back.

A post-mortem examination carried out on Mr Kenny’s body at the time by State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy showed his death was the result of an assault.

Connacht Tribune

Thousands on waiting list for student accommodation in Galway

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The student housing crisis is ‘the worst it’s ever been’ – with thousands on waiting lists for rooms; hundreds relying on hostels and friends’ sofas; and countless more facing deferral or dropping out altogether.

The President of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union, Róisín Nic Lochlainn, told the Connacht Tribune that students had been left in a desperate situation, as she called for mass protests to have the issue addressed.

According to Ms Nic Lochlainn, 3,000 students were currently on the waiting lists for NUIG’s on-campus accommodation – Corrib Village and Goldcrest Village – with around 500 in line for any bed that might come up in the Westwood.

“Gort na Coiribe and Dunaras have told us their waiting lists are well into the hundreds too. I’ve only got to contact two of the hostels around town, but Kinlay and Snoozles have almost 200 students between them already – and they’re expecting more.

“The first years haven’t even arrived yet, and on top of all that, you have people in B&Bs and staying on their friends’ sofas,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn.

Pressure on the student rental market had been building for years, she said, but it had gone off the cliff edge this year as a perfect storm was created by increased student numbers and reduced bed availability.

“[Minister for Further and Higher Education] Simon Harris created new places on courses this year and talked about maximum access to education . . . I’m not sure how that works for students who are homeless.

“Because there weren’t many students around last year, some private landlords might have moved on. There was no new purpose-built accommodation delivered, and then Simon Harris creates new places with no new beds,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn of the causes of this year’s problems.”

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Government asked to “do everything” to ensure Intel chooses Oranmore as base

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The Taoiseach and Tánaiste will be asked to do “everything in their power” to ensure technology giant Intel selects Oranmore as the location for its new microchip manufacturing plant – which could create 10,000 jobs and transform the West of Ireland economy.

The 540-acre site is owned by the Defence Forces and was selected by IDA Ireland as the preferred site for the company’s new EU ‘chip’ base.

BY STEPHEN CORRIGAN
AND DARA BRADLEY

Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany and Intel confirmed to Taoiseach Micheál Martin that the site is under consideration.

Galway East TD Ciarán Cannon said the development would be “transformative” and would be Intel’s largest microchip manufacturing plant in the world.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District this week, councillors backed a proposal from Cllr Liam Carroll to write to Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar to urge them to push forward the plan.

“This would be a game-changer, not just for Oranmore but for the whole of Connacht. Imagine 10,000 directly employed at some stage in the future, and the spinoff from that,” he said.

The Oranmore site is reported to have been selected ahead of three other locations in Ireland.

It is on Intel’s short-list for the proposed project, which would involve building eight factory modules on a single campus at the site off the M6 motorway, northeast of Oranmore, the newspaper reported.

The American multinational tech company has whittled down its short-list to 10 finalists; Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that if it proceeds, the new Oranmore ‘mega-fab’ would dwarf Intel’s existing site in Leixlip, which employs almost 5,000.

Galway East TD, Ciaran Cannon (FG) said: “It would put Galway on the map internationally as a place for high-tech investment and it would serve to rebalance the economic imbalance that exists in our country where all of the weight is on the east coast.

“The IDA has a formula where every one new job created in that industry creates about eight or nine more jobs downstream in terms of the supply chain and services. They’re saying 10,000 jobs on site – twice the population of Athenry – on one campus and then another 80-90,000 jobs off site. The figures are phenomenal, mind boggling,” said Deputy Cannon.

The demand for the facility arose during Covid-19 when the supply chain between Asia and Europe broke down.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Fraudsters ‘spoof’ Galway Garda Station’s phone number

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Fraudsters replicated the phone number of Galway Garda Station and used it to call a local woman to demand money.

Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Michael Walsh, said that the number ‘091 538000’ was somehow used by criminals who attempted to extract money – in the form of the online currency Bitcoin – from the victim.   Despite the phone call appearing to come from the Garda station at Mill Street, the woman became suspicious and reported it to Gardaí.

Sgt Walsh said it was the latest in a series of ‘spoofing’ phone calls to have occurred this year.

Spoofing is where fraudsters change the caller ID to ring unsuspecting members of the public to try to extract money or personal information off them.

He said that the number of spoofing incidents reported to Galway Gardaí has more than doubled in the past year.

“It is top of my agenda,” he said.

He pointed out that criminals can obtain a ‘ready to go’ phone and SIM card, relatively cheaply, and it was “very difficult” for Gardaí to trace the caller.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more details on fraud figures in Galway, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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