A Dublin man was caught red-handed in the middle of the night on his way to the bus station off Eyre Square with €3,000 worth of mobile phones, which had been stolen during Race Week last year.
Cosmin Stroescu (33), Flat 7, 112 North Circular Road, Dublin 7, had come to Galway during Race Week with others who stole the phones from unsuspecting revellers. His role was to bring the stolen phones back to Dublin.
He appeared before Galway District Court where he pleaded guilty to four counts of handling mobile phones, knowing they were stolen, at Eyre Square in the early hours of August 5, 2018.
He had initially been charged with six counts of handling six phones, but two of the charges were withdrawn following his plea of guilty to the remaining four charges.
Detective Sergeant Fergus Gaughan gave evidence he had been made aware of a spate of phone thefts across the city earlier that night and while on patrol in Eyre Square at around 4am his attention was drawn to Stroescu, who was acting suspiciously while making his way towards the bus station.
The accused, he said, had his phone in his hand looking at directions to the bus station.
Det Gaughan said he was acting very suspiciously and he asked him if he had any stolen property on him.
He then found six mobile phones in Stroescu’s inside pocket.
All of the phones had been turned off, restored to factory settings and had the SIM cards removed.
People had reported the phones stolen earlier and all were returned to their rightful owners.
Stroescu was arrested and brought to the Garda Station where he made full admissions to handling the stolen phones.
“He was part of a joint enterprise. His role was to hold the phones after the thefts and that is why he is charged solely with handling the stolen goods. The total value of the phones was in or around €3,000,” Det Gaughan said.
The phones were returned to the owners undamaged apart from the data being wiped, he added.
Defence solicitor, Martina Moran, said Stroescu worked in construction in Dublin and at the time felt pressured by others to get involved in the enterprise.
Judge John Cheatle said Stroescu was entitled to credit for the guilty plea and for co-operating with the Garda investigation.
The owners, he said, had all been traced but the sheer amount of charges and the value of the phones was of concern.
He sentenced Stroescu to six months in prison on one of the four handling charges, and suspended the sentence for twelve months, while taking the remaining charges into account.
Galway family’s light show adds magic to Christmas
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Carrick Family Light Show returns tonight (Friday) as 70,000 lights are illuminated in aid of a worthy local charity.
The man behind the lights spectacular, James Carrick, says test runs this week have proven successful and the family is ready to mark another Christmas in style.
“This is our fourth Christmas doing it. We started in 2019, but Covid was around for the last two years so it will be great this year not having to worry about that so much,” says James, who has spent the last few weeks carefully rebuilding the show at his home in Lurgan Park, Renmore.
He’s added “a few bits and pieces this year” – his brother buying the house next door has provided him a ‘blank canvas’ to extend.
Over the past three years, the show has raised almost €30,000 for local charities and James hopes to build on that this year – offering the light show for free, as always, and giving the opportunity to donate if people wish to do so.
The show runs nightly from 6.30pm, Monday to Saturday, with an extra kids show on Sundays at 5pm at 167 Lurgan Park (H91 Y17D). Donations can be made at the shows or by searching ‘idonate Carrick Family Light Show’ online.
‘Chaos’ for Christmas as Martin junction works delayed again
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists attempting to get into Galway are facing a nightmare before Christmas as continued delays to the works at the Martin roundabout create traffic chaos on the east side of the city.
Anger over the controversial project to remove the roundabout at Galway Clinic intensified this week as the completion date was pushed out to February – nearly a year after works began and six months later than the supposed deadline.
Local councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) told the Galway City Tribune that he had lost all confidence in the Transport Department in the City Council and hit out at their “outsourcing the problem” to private contractors.
He said despite repeated representations from him, the local authority was refusing to take responsibility for the bedlam caused by the works, which he said had resulted in “three minor collisions in the last five weeks”.
“The bottom line is that this has been an absolute shambles and I’ve lost all faith in senior officials in City Hall. When I raised the issue again this week, I was accused of looking for newspaper headlines – they will not take responsibility,” said the City East councillor.
“It’s like an obstacle course up there, and now they’re saying February for completion. I’ve no confidence it will even be done by then – they’re out of their depth. If you look at what they’re saying, they say they’ll be doing the surfacing until February,” continued Cllr Cheevers, anticipating that works could still be ongoing next March or April.
In a statement issued by contractors Fox Building Engineers Ltd and Galway City Council, it was claimed that “supply chain issues” had impacted severely on the project.
Motorists this week reported delays of up to an hour just to travel the short distance from Briarhill Shopping Centre as far as the Doughiska Road-Dublin Road junction, a distance of less than 2km.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the December 2 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Councillors rubber stamp ‘temporary’ helipad after nine years in place
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Health Service Executive (HSE) came under fire over the ‘temporary’ helipad serving University Hospital Galway at a meeting to finalise the Galway City Development Plan for 2023-29.
Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, made a point of publicly highlighting his dissatisfaction with the HSE, calling on them to urgently “regularise” the planning permission for the helipad.
BY ANDREW HAMILTON
Speaking on the issue, Cllr Frank Fahy (FG) said that he mistrusted the HSE’s proposal concerning the helipad, saying that previous promises about the site had not been kept.
Currently, University Hospital Galway operates the helipad to transport medical emergencies on Council-owned land in Shantalla – it has been used for past nine years, despite the HSE saying it would be used for six months.
The temporary structure, the busiest helipad in Ireland, transports patients from as far north as Donegal to the hospital.
Councillors voted to change the Galway City Development Plan to provide for a helipad at this location but urged the HSE to normalise the planning permission at the site and to provide compensation to the local community for the loss of a section of the park.
Mr McGrath said that he wouldn’t “wait forever” for the HSE to bring the site in line with the planning laws.
Last month marked the ninth anniversary of when the Saolta University Hospital Group gave a commitment to the people of Shantalla about the public land it borrowed.
Tony Canavan, the then Chief Operating Officer, and now CEO of Saolta, said that the land would be used to accommodate a helipad at the rear of UHG for six months only.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the December 2 edition of the Galway City Tribune where there is extensive coverage of rezoning decisions under the City Development Plan. You can support our journalism and buy a digital edition HERE.