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Teens accused of Knocknacarra stabbing granted bail




Duo accused of Knocknacarra stabbing granted bail

Two youths, charged in relation to an incident in Knocknacarra at the weekend which allegedly left a young man with a stab wound to his liver, were granted bail at Galway District Court this afternoon.

Despite the State’s objections, Judge Mary Fahy said that she had no option but to release the younger of the two (16), who cannot be named for legal reasons, as he could not be accommodated in Oberstown Detention Centre, Lusk, Co Dublin.

“The State and the Court are forced to allow him on bail, because there is no ‘remand bed’ available,” she said.

Garda Gerard Dunne had arrested both defendants late on Sunday evening, and they were subsequently charged with the serious assault on Dominic Downes (18) at Church Alley, Ballymoneen Road, contrary to Section 3 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

Marcus Mac Comascaigh (18) with addresses at 2 Cur Na Lús, Circular Road, and 2 Fana Glas, Ballybane, replied: “I know what I done.”

Wearing a black and white Adidas zipped top, beige jeans, and Nike runners, the State had no objection to him being granted bail with conditions: that he signs on every Monday and Friday at Galway Garda Station, observes a curfew between 9pm and 8am at his given addresses, does not associate with his co-accused, and has no contact with any witnesses. He was granted free legal aid, and will appear again on November 5.

Meanwhile, his co-accused (16) had been charged in the company of his father. He replied: “Nothing to say at the moment.”

Garda Dunne sought to have his bail revoked in a separate matter, as he had failed to abide with conditions. He said that the defendant had not maintained a curfew at his address, as it would be alleged the stabbing incident occurred between 3.30-3.45am on Saturday. He had also not abstained from alcohol and drugs, as he had admitted drinking two cans of beer on the night in question.

When Judge Fahy was advised by both the Garda and probation officer, Tom Claffey, that there were no beds available in Oberstown, she replied that this was unacceptable to the court. She asked them to try again, and adjourned the matter until after lunch.

However, when the case was recalled the Judge was told that the situation had not changed. Mr Claffey said that the only option, as far as he could see it, was to remand the boy on bail to appear again on Wednesday, at which point a bed may be available.

The boy was then granted bail with strict conditions that he resides at a named address, stays away from the Salthill/Knocknacarra area in its entirety, has no contact with witnesses, the injured party, or his co-accused, and observes a curfew between 9pm and 8am.

Inspector Ernie Whyte said that the State would not be seeking signing-on conditions in this case.

“We don’t want to give him a reason to come in (to the city centre),” he said.

Free legal aid was granted.


Designated drinking zones in city centre are ‘only solution’

Stephen Corrigan



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Properly staffed designated areas are the only solution to out-of-control outdoor boozing, according to the city councillor who drafted the city’s drinking bylaws.

Cllr Peter Keane told the Galway City Tribune it was likely that councillors would seek to ‘tweak’ the existing bylaws in the near future to find a long-term solution that would enable young people to ‘enjoy a drink outdoors in a safe and controlled environment’, not just now, but in the future too.

To avoid a repeat of scenes around Spanish Arch over recent weekends, the Fianna Fáil councillor said providing areas where the consumption of alcohol was allowed would enable Gardaí to properly enforce the drinking bylaws throughout the rest of the city.

He said he could ‘absolutely appreciate the concerns of residents’ in the Claddagh and elsewhere where anti-social behaviour including urinating in gardens ‘and worse’ had been a blight in recent weeks, but said with proper control, those worst excesses could be avoided.

In the first ten days of June, 83 on-the-spot fines were issued in the city for drinking in a public place.

And last Saturday night, Gardaí closed off the Quincentenary Bridge after hundreds of young people gathered on the carriageway and turned it into a “highly-dangerous road traffic risk situation”.

“Control is the key word for me. Gardaí don’t have the resources, nor do they have the appetite as far as I can see, to deal with the lack of control there has been during the recent good weather.
“If you were to designate, say for example the Spanish Arch or a green area in Salthill, where the bylaws didn’t apply, you could put a number of wardens in place there to control the situation. You could provide adequate bins and toilets, and enough bodies to staff it, and that would allow gardaí to police the bylaws elsewhere,” said Cllr Keane.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and coverage of the re-opening of the hospitality sector and outdoor dining, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Dispute simmers between businesses and Council over outdoor spaces

Dara Bradley



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Friction between businesses and local government over the reclaiming of public space to facilitate outside hospitality marred the beginning of the city’s ‘outdoor summer’.

Galway City Council has come under fire over its handling of plans by bars and restaurants to use street furniture to facilitate outdoor dining and drinking.

Most city watering holes and eateries resumed trading on Bank Holiday Monday – serving outdoors only – for the first time since Christmas, and the authorities reported that it was successful for the most part, although it needed time to ‘bed in’.

The city vintners’ group said its members with adequate outdoor space were happy to be back and described the mood as ‘euphoric’ in places.

But several outlets expressed disappointment with the Council.

In Eyre Square, the Skeff Late Bar and Kitchen claimed it had to cancel 200 advance bookings – up to 800 people – for this week, after the Council refused permission for “extended outdoor seating”.

On Middle Street, Sangria Tapas Restaurant lashed the Council for refusing it permission to use certain types of awning and windbreakers to facilitate outdoor dining. “Surely the powers that be can take time to support the industry that supports the city?” its proprietor said in a complaint to City Hall.

‘Back the West’, businesses criticised the Council for rowing back on promises to provide additional outdoor space on Dominick Street Lower and Dominick Street Upper, in time for outdoor hospitality’s reopening on June 7.
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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Council chief: ‘landlords see 4% rent increase cap as a target’

Enda Cunningham



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Chief Executive of Galway City Council has said that the 4% annual cap on residential rent increases is now seen as a target by many landlords.

Brendan McGrath said that affordability continues to be a major problem for renters in the city and that an increasing number of people availing of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme have to pay ‘top ups’ to their landlords.

The HAP scheme replaces rent supplement for those with a long-term housing need – the individual finds a private rented accommodation within specific rent caps and the Council pays the landlord directly. The tenant then pays a rent to the Council based on their weekly household income.

The maximum monthly rents under the scheme range from €330 for an adult in shared accommodation to €900 for a single parent or couple with three kids.

Based on their household size, tenants can also apply for a 20% extra ‘discretionary’ payment on top of their HAP payment.

However, Mr McGrath said many on the HAP scheme in Galway have to pay top ups to their landlords.

“Rents as a percentage of income is increasing and affordability remains a major problem for the city’s renters. The majority of HAP tenants require additional discretionary payments to assist them in maintaining their tenancies, particularly single person households.

“An increasing number of HAP tenants now have to pay top ups to their landlords even with the 20% extra HAP discretionary payment applied for their particular household size,” Mr McGrath said in a report to councillors.
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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