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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.

CITY TRIBUNE

Party-goers in Galway hit with Covid fines

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway’s most senior Garda has issued a renewed appeal this week for young people to desist from organising or attending any house parties as the local Covid-19 situation worsens – last week Gardaí were called to break up a number of gatherings in different parts of the city.

A total of 15 people were found to be attending one house party in the Salthill area last weekend while Gardaí were called to two other smaller gatherings – one in the Doughiska area and the other in Rahoon.

Cautions and Fixed Payment Notices (fines) were issued to a number of those involved. This week, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley has pleaded with young people ‘to stay away at all costs’ from such gatherings.

“We have very high Covid incidence rates in the Galway area over the past week; death rates from the disease are at their highest ever level; and the last thing we need now is groups of people coming together in confined settings.

“If one person has Covid at such a gathering then, in all probability, most others there will pick it up too and spread it their contacts and family members. I am pleading for people just not to do this.

“We are entering into our most critical period in trying to contain the spread of Covid-19, with the next month or so absolutely vital in our efforts to keep everyone healthy and safe and to try and avoid further loss of life,” he said.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Community gives new lease of life to Merlin allotments

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – In 2018, the allotments in Merlin Woods were in danger of falling by the wayside, with declining numbers and underuse blighting a facility that had huge potential.

Since then, the community has pulled together to create a space that locals are proud of and one that its advocates are hoping could be a template for other communities across the city.

Chairperson of the Committee behind this new lease of life is Michael Tully, who says the allotments have become a focal point for area, bringing together locals from all walks of life.

“It’s all about netting the community together and the response we’re getting has been unbelievable,” says Michael, who joined the committee in 2018.

“I started off as a user of Merlin Woods, walking by the allotments and thinking to myself that it would be great to grow my own fruit and veg.

“I started talking to a few of the plot-holders like John Rabbitte, Martin Lohan, Jim McCormack and Daithí O’Brien and they told me how to apply. I applied to the City Council and got my allotment in early 2018 and there were about eight allotments in use at that stage, all of us working away on our own.”

Two years later, all 42 allotments are in use, but it took the cooperation of Galway City Council and Trojan work from the community to get it to this point, explains Michael.

“We came down here every Saturday to clear the paths, dig out the weeds and make the place better. The sense of community was unbelievable. Anyone who couldn’t dig was bringing down flasks of tea and cakes to those that were,” he laughs.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

National Transport Authority to progress Galway’s Park and Ride

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A dedicated unit established within the National Transport Authority will look at the potential of Park and Ride to help solve Galway City’s traffic congestion problem.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, said that Park and Ride facilities should not be restricted to the east, and sites needed to be located to the west and north-west to take account of commuters from Connemara.

Mr McGrath said Park and Ride would be advanced this year as part of the Galway Transport Strategy. He said that the Council, in conjunction with the dedicated unit within the NTA, would investigate feasible sites for the location of Park and Ride facilities.

Mr McGrath said that site selection and acquisition of land could commence in the second quarter of this year. He said he expected that Park and Ride would be progressed well before the Galway City Ring Road was built.

Director of Services for Transport, Ruth McNally, also said that the NTA was looking at the potential of sites in the city for Park and Ride and she insisted that money – or a lack of it – was not halting progress.

“Money is not a major issue for capital projects,” she said.

They were responding at Monday’s City Council meeting to councillors who lamented the slow progress on developing Park and Ride.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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