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CITY TRIBUNE

Thief caught on CCTV stealing €12,800 diamond ring

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A 35-year-old woman has been sentenced to six months in prison for stealing a €12,800 diamond ring which was recovered following an appeal on RTE’s Crimecall programme.

Bernadette McDonagh, from 6 Francis Street, Edenderry, Co. Offaly had been given a choice of either carrying out community service under the supervision of the probation service or serve a prison sentence in lieu, when the matter came before Galway District Court in April.

She pleaded guilty at the time to the theft of a one-carat, round, brilliant-cut diamond, set in a four-claw platinum mount, with a wide platinum shank, valued at €12,800 from Tempo Antiques, Cross Street, on August 10 last year.

Sentence was adjourned for McDonagh’s suitability to carry out community service be assessed by the probation service.

A negative report was handed into court last Wednesday.

Defence barrister, Garry McDonald, said McDonagh had told the probation officer she could not do community service because she was a full-time carer for her partner, her sister and her young child. She had health problems herself too, he added.

Judge Mary Fahy recalled that a very expensive ring had been stolen and that McDonagh had no problem with her partner, sister or child on the day she left Offaly and travelled to Galway to steal the ring.

Mr McDonald said the ring had been recovered immediately.

Judge Fahy said she had accepted McDonagh’s guilty plea in April and had given her a chance to avoid a custodial sentence by doing community service as the ring had been recovered immediately.

Sergeant Aoife Curley corrected this. She said the ring had only been recovered following an appeal on Crimecall and it had not been recovered immediately, as suggested by Mr McDonald.

Mr McDonald said McDonagh had no previous convictions and this had been a “once-off”.

Judge Fahy said McDonagh had no difficulties when she left Offaly with her partner and came down to Galway that day.

“She didn’t have to look after her sick partner or her sister that day. I don’t see any medical report that her partner needs care or her sister needs care or she’s in bad health herself,” Judge Fahy added.

Mr McDonald said his client had instructed him she would now do a few hours’ community service one day a week.

Judge Fahy said that wasn’t good enough and that McDonagh had thrown the chance she had been given back in the court’s face.

She sentenced McDonagh to six months in prison and refused the barrister’s application to suspend the sentence.

“The manner in which she had dealt with this leaves a lot to be desired. She’s treated this as if it was a packet of frozen peas,” Judge Fahy said.

Leave to appeal the sentence was granted

CITY TRIBUNE

Saving on school books

Dara Bradley

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Secondary school students struggling with back-to-school costs, or looking for a bargain, can shave as much as 40% off the cost of school books – if they buy second hand.

And The Book Exchange on Lower Abbeygate Street in Galway City will even buy back good-quality school books, which it then re-sells.

“You typically can get 40% off the retail value of books if you shop with us. We generally say that if you spend €100 on new books, they’d be €60 here,” said Gary Healy of The Book Exchange.

It doesn’t stock a full-range of books, like Eason’s or other new school book retailers, but it caters well for Senior cycle students in secondary school in particular.

“Most of the fifth year and sixth year books are here, whether it’s maths such as Active Maths 4, Active Maths 3 or Irish books like Fuinneamh Nua. We have a lot of language books and a lot of the optional subjects. In general, almost all the firth and sixth year secondary school curriculum can be got second hand. With the Junior Cert, it’s only a couple of subjects that are available and it depends on the school. English books at Junior Cert can be gotten second-hand, and then sometimes the optional subjects like woodwork, tech graphics, music,” he said.

The Book Exchange will go through the booklist with the students or parents, although customers are advised to get in touch in advance.

“I’d advise anybody to stick a nose in to us with a list, or even give us a ring, or an email. We’re always happy to go down through the list with people, and walk them through it because one of the biggest things that can be a problem with the school book list, is when it specifies a book for a parent to get, it could say ‘new edition’ but in many cases ‘new edition’ just means it’s called the new edition, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s new. It could be 10 years after and it would still be called the ‘new edition’.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Changes to garda structure require ‘feet on the ground’

Francis Farragher

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STRUCTURAL changes in Garda management – which will see the current Western Region merged with the Northern area – need to be backed up with ‘feet on the ground’, according to the Chairperson of the city’s Joint Policing Committee.

Cllr Niall McNelis said he also had concerns over the impact that a reduction in Garda Superintendents and Chief Superintendents could have on the management of the force across the Galway region.

“I know that the stated intention of the Commissioner [Drew Harris] is to increase the frontline presence of Gardaí but this cannot be achieved without more feet on the ground.

“There also has to be concerns over an apparent lack of consultation on the changes with Garda Superintendents who really play a key role in managing the Garda resources at local level,” said Cllr McNelis.

He added that in the aftermath of the financial crash in Ireland, Garda resources – both in terms of personnel and equipment – had taken a huge hit, with this ‘lost ground’ still not being made up.

“The bottom line in all of this is: will we see more Gardaí on the beat; more Gardaí operating at local level and in touch with local people; and also a management structure that’s in touch with local communities?” Cllr McNelis asked.

One of the major changes announced by Commissioner Drew Harris is a reduction in the number of national Garda regions across the country from six to four, each one under the control of an Assistant Commissioner.  The Western Garda Region – that had consisted of Galway, Clare, Roscommon/Longford and Mayo – will now be merged into one region amalgamating with the North.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Traffic gridlock – specialist traffic control operator at City Hall among proposed solutions

Francis Farragher

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THE city came close to complete gridlock on last Tuesday with a combination of minor accidents, roadworks, visitor numbers, an influx of shoppers and bad weather, making it a nightmare afternoon and evening for motorists.

Eyre Square, College Road, Lough Atalia, the Moneenagheisha junction and the dual-carriageway leading up to the Briarhill traffic-lights, endured the most severe clog-ups, but commuters across the city reported long delays from lunchtime through to the later evening period.

Former Mayor of Galway and taxi-operator, Cllr Frank Fahy, told the Galway City Tribune that by early afternoon he had to abandon his efforts to continue working.

“I know that there was a huge volume of traffic in the city due to back-to-school shoppers and there were also reports of a number of minor accidents, but I still think that we can do better in terms of managing the flow of vehicles.

“The roadworks in Bohermore were no help and there were reports of a number of minor accidents but we also have real problems with parking and signage issues in the city.

“And most of all, we need a hands-on specialist traffic control operator – experienced and skilled in traffic management – in the control room at City Hall, to monitor flows at all our key junctions,” said Cllr Fahy.

Public transport also got completely bogged down in the Tuesday evening snarl-up with bus commuters from the city to Oranmore reporting a journey time of close on one hour and 20 minutes.

Buses took up to 20 minutes to make it from their stops in Eyre Square to even get onto College Road which had almost ground to a complete standstill at around 5.30pm.

Another motorist told the Galway City Tribune that his journey time from Forster Street to the Briarhill junction was one hour and 50 minutes on Tuesday evening – 4.10pm to 6pm.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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