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CITY TRIBUNE

Taximan’s lewd comments left female passenger ‘paralysed’ by fear

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A woman in her 30s told a judge this week how she was left ‘paralysed’ with fear when a taxi driver told her Polish women were sexy and all black men were well endowed.

She said she knew she was in danger when the man asked her if she had alcohol back at her house before turning around in his taxi to tell her he had “a big d..k”.

The driver, 52-year-old father of four Matthew Ibenye, was convicted in Galway District Court under the Public Order Act.

Ibenye’s taxi features branding for the taxi-hailing company Free Now. A spokesperson for that company said yesterday: “The safety of our passengers and drivers is of paramount importance to us at all times, and Free Now only works with Garda-vetted, SPSV-licenced drivers who are regulated by the NTA.”

Under Garda procedures, a report on the matter will be given “as a matter of urgency” to the Chief Superintendent, who has the power to revoke taxi licences.

The mother of one told the court she became nervous at the way the conversation was going and she asked Ibenye to stop at an ATM machine at a 24-hour filling station on the pretext of getting money to pay the fare, so that she could get out of the taxi and look for help.

The Nigerian national denied a charge of engaging in threatening, abusive and insulting words or behaviour with intent to provoke a breach of the peace on July 18 last year.

The thirty-something woman gave evidence she flagged his taxi down outside the Dail bar shortly before 2am after a night out with friends.

On the way to her home in the Salthill area, she asked him if he was from Nigeria as he had a similar accent to a Nigerian friend.

Ibenye told her he was from Ghana, was single and had been living in Ireland for eight years.

He asked her where she was from and she told him she was Polish.

“He told me Polish women were very beautiful and very sexy.  I got a bit paralysed at that and the next thing I heard he was saying that all black men have big d..ks.

“Then, I was like paralysed.  I couldn’t believe my ears and he turned around to me and he said he had a big d..k and I knew I was in danger.”
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the court report in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

CITY TRIBUNE

Swimmer James clocks up one million metres in year

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From the Galway City Tribune – A keen swimmer in Galway has clocked up an astonishing one million metres in a year as part of his gruelling exercise schedule.

James Brennan reached the impressive milestone over 400 swims last years,  which were split between the sea in Salthill and across the road early-morning sessions at Leisureland pool.

He would count the lengths in his head or on his watch, regularly swimming up to 240 lengths over 90 minutes in the pool and up to 2km off the beach for a half-hour. On a regular week he would swim the equivalent of 20km.

When James realised he was at 800,000 metres last November, he decided to go all-out to pass the one-million mark by the end of 2022.

So he concentrated on swimming for at least ten hours a week leading up to Christmas and celebrated passing his goal before breaking up for the festivities.

“I’ve always done a lot of swimming. I’ve competed for my local swimming club in Claremorris, County Mayo, and was involved in the Corrib Polo Water Club races. I won the Heskin League, which is a combination of the 14 different open water races in Salthill. I also won the league in Claremorris,” he reveals.

The software engineer has been living in Galway for  13 years and has been a member of Leisureland for four years.

“It’s a really great pool, it has nice facilities, the staff are all very nice,” he reflects.

Facilities Manager of the Council-owned premises, Ian Brennan, said the phenomenal distance was the equivalent of swimming from Galway to Amsterdam.

He heard about James’s achievement from Green Party Councillor and Leisureland board member Niall Murphy, who happened to be swimming in the lane beside James when the Mayo man reached the goal.

“I felt that this is a hugely worthy event and fills me with amazement that we have a superhero in our midst. The future is bright.”

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CITY TRIBUNE

Ó Tuathail not interested in Galway City Council co-option

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From the Galway City Tribune – A two-time general election candidate for the Social Democrats in Galway West has ruled out filling the party’s vacant seat on Galway City Council.

Niall Ó Tuathail, a health reform advisor, has confirmed to the Galway City Tribune that he will not be co-opted to the City Council seat vacated by the shock resignation of Councillor Owen Hanley in January.

“I’m not going to be put forward for co-option,” said Mr Ó Tuathail.

The father-of-two has lived abroad for a time since taking a step back from electoral politics in the wake of his 2020 General Election defeat.

He confirmed this week he has not reconsidered his decision to take a long break from frontline politics.

“I’m still a Soc Dem member and we’re in a process looking for someone strong to represent the values of the people who voted for us in 2019,” Mr Ó Tuathail said.

He polled 3,653 first preference votes in 2020 in Galway West and was only eliminated after the 12th count in the five-seat constituency.

That was an increase on the 3,455 number ones he received in his first Dáil election in 2016, when he also bowed out on the 12th count.

Mr Ó Tuathail was synonymous with the Social Democrats’ brand in Galway, and was heavily involved with the local referenda campaigns for marriage equality and to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

It surprised many political observers when he opted not to fight a local election for the party in 2019.

That was a breakthrough election for the Soc Dems, when Owen Hanley became the party’s first ever Galway City councillor by winning a seat in Galway City East. Sharon Nolan narrowly missed out on a seat in City Central during the same election.

Mr Hanley cited allegations made against him when he announced in January that he was resigning his position.

He said that the matters were “very serious” and would take a considerable amount of time for the authorities to investigate.

The resignation of Mr Hanley left a vacancy on the City Council.

It is the prerogative of the Social Democrats to nominate a person who will be co-opted to replace him as a councillor at City Hall.

A spokesperson for the party told the Tribune last week that it has not yet chosen a successor.

“We don’t have any update in relation to the co-option. I will let you know when we have a candidate,” the spokesperson said.

One problem faced by the party is that a number of possible replacements for Mr Hanley have left the Soc Dems over policy and other issues.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cigarettes, drugs and cash seized in Galway

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Officers from the Divisional Drugs Unit seized more than €73,000 worth of cigarettes, cash and drugs after a car and residence were searched in Galway today.
As part of Operation Tara – which is targeting the sale and supply of drugs and related criminal activity in the Galway area – Gardaí  searched a car in the Knocknacarra area. Cash and cannabis were seized.

A follow up search was carried out at a residence in Salthill, where cigarettes worth €70,000, along with €3,100 in cash and a small quantity of suspected amphetamine were recovered.

No arrests were made, but Gardaí say they are following a definite line of inquiry.

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