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Terrified mum feared heroin addict shot her son during burglary




A terrified mother pushed the barrel of a gun away from her chest and ran to see if her son had been shot during an aggravated burglary at their home on a summer’s evening last year.

The 60-year-old woman was resting in her upstairs bedroom, while her 21-year-old son, who has a mild learning difficulty, was listening to music in his bedroom when an armed and masked man burst into their home at 8.50pm on August 13 last year.

Daniel Barrett (25), of 147 Castlepark, Ballybane, pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court last July to aggravated burglary at his neighbour’s house while armed with an imitation shotgun, contrary to Section 13 (1) and (3) of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001, and the matter was adjourned to last week for sentence.

Garda Pauline de Paor gave evidence Barrett went to the young man’s bedroom and held the gun to his head as he lay on his bed listening to music. He stole a number of items from his bedroom.

The woman heard noise coming from her son’s bedroom and when she opened her own bedroom door, she was confronted by a masked man in the hallway carrying what looked like a double-barrel shotgun.

He stuck the gun into her shoulder and chest area. She looked past him and saw her son, face downwards on his bed. She feared he had been shot and she pushed the gun away from her chest and ran to help her son.

Barrett ran downstairs. The woman took her son into her bedroom and they barricaded themselves inside. She screamed for help out the window.

Meanwhile, an eye witness saw a man leave a laundry basket into a neighbour’s back garden before scaling the wall into the garden of No 147 Castlepark, where Barrett lived with his grandparents.

Barrett had taken €350 cash, prescription medication, a mobile phone, two Samsung tablets, a camera, two PlayStation consoles, a kitchen knife and a cushion cover, during the burglary which he had placed in the laundry basket in order to carry them away.  The cushion cover was used to carry some of the items.

The cash and two Samsung tablets were never recovered.

The woman and her son did not recognise Barrett as he had his face covered. Gardai arrested him two hours later.

The court heard Barrett had injected heroin before committing the aggravated burglary. He was still “high” when arrested and Gardai had to wait until the next morning to interview him.

Garda dePaor said the gun, while imitation, looked very realistic and it was shown to the court.

In her victim impact statement, the woman said their lives had been turned into a living nightmare that evening and they no longer felt safe in their home. It had since been turned into a fortress and a prison with alarms and security cameras.

She said she had no option but put her home up for sale, even though it held a lifetime of happy memories.

She and her late husband had raised six children there and she had so many happy memories of their lives together before his death ten years ago.

Her son expressed his fear in his statement at being attacked by Barrett’s friends in the estate and he said he no longer felt safe in his home or in his bedroom.

Barrett apologised to the woman and her son in court.

“I’m very sorry for what happened and I apologise,” he said.

Defence barrister, John Kiely SC, said his client was a heroin addict and he was under the influence of the drug when he committed this offence. He said Barrett believed the house was empty at the time.

He broke in with the intention of getting cash to feed his habit.

Judge Rory McCabe said he had heard very disturbing evidence and the victim impact statements were “very stark”.

He said he needed time to consider the evidence and he remanded Barrett in continuing custody to November 23 for sentence.


Council to consider new pedestrian ‘plaza’ for Galway City

Stephen Corrigan



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors will be asked next month to consider a sweeping overhaul of traffic flow in the city centre as the local authority seeks to create a more pedestrian-friendly core in the wake of Covid-19.

Currently under proposal in City Hall are major alterations to traffic flow which will allow for restricted car access to Middle Street – creating additional outdoor seating space for businesses in the area struggling to cope amid social distancing requirements.

Senior Engineer at City Hall, Uinsinn Finn, said they are currently considering three different proposals to alter traffic flow on Merchants Road, Augustine Street and Flood Street to reduce the need for car access to Middle Street, while still maintaining access for residents.

“We already pedestrianised Cross Street and we will be maintaining that, and there will be a proposal for Middle Street and Augustine Street.

“Businesses in the area are very much in favour of pedestrianisation – one business has objections but the others are supportive. Another consideration is that there are residents there with parking spaces and we are trying to encourage people to live in the city centre,” said Mr Finn.

The Latin Quarter business group submitted proposals for the temporary pedestrianisation of Middle Street and Abbeygate Street Lower but Mr Finn said the proposals the Council were considering were more in the line of creating adequate space for pedestrians while still allowing residents vehicular access.

This would involve creating a circuit for car traffic moving through Merchants Road around onto Augustine Street and exiting at Flood Street.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Residents want laneway closed following pipe bomb scare

Francis Farragher



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Residents in part of Knocknacarra are calling for the closure of a laneway and for more Community Gardaí to be put on the beat following the discovery of a ‘viable’ pipe-bomb type device in the area last weekend.

Up to 13 homes in the Cimín Mór and Manor Court estates had to be evacuated on Friday evening last when the incendiary device was discovered by Gardaí concealed in an unlit laneway, leading to the emergency services being notified.

An Army EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit was called to the scene and removed the device – according to local residents and councillors, the Gardaí have confirmed that the device was viable.

Gardaí have declined to comment on the detail of the case but have confirmed that the matter is being ‘actively and vigorously investigated’.

Chairman of the Cimín Mór Residents’ Association, Pat McCarthy, told the Galway City Tribune that the discovery of the viable device on the narrow laneway that links their estate to Manor Court was extremely frightening for all concerned.

“For the best part of the past 20 years, we have been seeking action to be taken on this laneway which has been used for dumping and unsociable behaviour on a repeated basis.

“But what happened last Friday evening was really the last straw for us. This could have resulted in serious injury to innocent people and what is also of concern to us is how close this was to the two schools in the area,” said Mr McCarthy.

He said that over the coming days, the residents’ association would be petitioning all residents in the three estates concerned – the other two being Manor Court and Garraí Dhónaill – for action to be taken on the laneway.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Galway designer’s necklace is fit for a princess!

Denise McNamara



Kate Middleton wearing the necklace designed by Aisling O'Brien

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A Galway jewellery designer is the latest to experience the ‘Kate effect’ after fans tracked down the woman who created a necklace for the Duchess of Cambridge which she has worn several times since it was gifted to her during her trip to the city last March.

Aisling O’Brien’s website crashed on Wednesday night when orders poured in for the piece from around the world. The necklace costs €109 with initials, while the earrings retail for €49.

“I’d never sold more than two things outside of Ireland before. I only had three of Kate’s necklaces in stock – and now I have orders for at least 50. I’ll have to start recruiting some elves,” laughs Aisling, who only set up her website during lockdown.

The 14-carat gold necklace and earrings set was designed by Aisling specially for Kate after examining her style – “understated, elegant, simplicity” is how the Tuam native describes it.

She was contacted about the commission by physiotherapist Thérèse Tully, who wanted to give the future queen a gift as she was using her room to change at Árus Bóthar na Trá beside Pearse Stadium when the royal couple were meeting with GAA teams.

(Photo: Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton wearing the necklace)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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