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Three Chinese men jailed over role in Milltown growhouse

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Three Chinese men have been sentenced to two concurrent sentences totalling twelve years, for cultivating €2.3 million worth of cannabis plants for sale or supply at a warehouse in Milltown.

It follows a four-day trial at Galway Circuit Criminal Court where Gardai said the seizure is believed to be the largest in the State to date.

45 year old Jing Feng Qin, 52 year old Wie Yan Chen, 42 year old Fang Si Lang, and 32 year old Huoyun Huang, pleaded not guilty to having cannabis in their possession at Unit 7, N17 Business Park, Milltown, on April 20, 2013, which was for sale or supply to another, when the trial opened (last Friday).

They pleaded not guilty to having cannabis for sale or supply to another which at the time had a street value of €13,000 or more, contrary to Section 15(a) of the same Act.

All four men also denied a lesser charge of having cannabis in their possession on the same occasion.

Three of the men, Jing Feng Qin, Wie Yan Chen, and Fang Si Lang , who were the ‘gardeners’ pleaded guilty to cultivating the cannabis plants in the warehouse without a licence from the Minister for Health, while the fourth accused, Huoyun Huang, deemed to be the ‘lieutenant’ or ‘regionl manager’ denied any involvement in the illegal operation.

Huoyun Huang absconded last Monday and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

Mr John Jordan, prosecuting SC, told the jury that the plants seized would have had a potential street value of €2.3 million on maturity.

Mr Jordan said Gardai found the entire warehouse measuring 170ft. by 80ft. was taken up with growing 2,828 plants at various stages of growth.

Four senior counsel, instructed by four junior counsel, who in turn were instructed by their solicitors, told the jury that their clients, in particular, the ‘gardeners’, were involved because they had incurred debts and had been forced to work in the grow house under duress.

Judge Sean O’Donnabhain sentenced the three men to five years in prison for cultivating the plants and imposed a concurrent seven-year sentence on them for having the plants for sale or supply.

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Cathaoirleach says that Mother and Baby Homes Report will be first item discussed at Monday’s Council meeting

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Galway Bay FM Newsroom – Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council James Charity has confirmed that the Mother and Baby Homes report will be the first matter to be discussed at Monday’s council meeting in Corrandulla.

In the Dail this week, the council was criticised for a lack of urgency in addressing its historic links with the Tuam mother and baby home.

Junior Minister and Galway East TD Anne Rabbitte told the Dáil this week that she was ‘horrified’ to see the matter was way down the list of items on Monday’s agenda.

However, despite it being number eight on the agenda, Catherlioch of Galway County Council James Charity today told Galway Bay FM news that it was always going to be the first item discussed at Monday’s meeting.

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74 new cases in Galway, 1,910 nationally and 77 further deaths from COVID-19

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The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been notified of 77 additional deaths related to COVID-19.

76 of these deaths occurred in January, 1 in December.

The median age of those who died is 84 years and the age range is 43-98 years.

There has been a total of 2,947 COVID-19 related deaths in Ireland.

As of midnight, Friday 22nd January, the HPSC has been notified of 1,910 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There is now a total of 186,184* confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland. 

Of the cases notified today:

  • 887 are men / 1,016 are women
  • 57% are under 45 years of age
  • The median age is 40 years old
  • 710 in Dublin, 150 in Cork, 103 in Meath, 102 in Limerick, 86 in Louth, and the remaining 759 cases are spread across all other counties**

As of 2pm today, 1,892 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 217 are in ICU. 59 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer said: “Through the solidarity shown by families and communities across the country in recent weeks, we are beginning to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infection. Each individual effort to follow the public health advice is making an impact, but we can only continue this positive trend and drive down incidence in the community by continuing to stay at home and avoid meeting or mixing with others in our social circle, including for any close family gatherings, such as birthdays or funerals, as these can be ‘super-spreader’ events.

“We know it is possible to have COVID-19 without displaying symptoms, so we all need to behave as though we are infectious and minimise our close contacts with others. If you suspect that you might be ill, isolate away from others in your household, let your close contacts know and come forward for testing as soon as possible.”

The COVID-19 Dashboard provides up-to-date information on the key indicators of COVID-19 in the community.

*Validation of data at the HPSC has resulted in the denotification of 5 confirmed cases. The figure of 186,184 confirmed cases reflects this.

**County data should be considered provisional as the national Computerised Infectious Disease Reporting System (CIDR) is a dynamic system and case details are continually being validated and updated.

Today’s cases, 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population and new cases in last 14 days (as of midnight 22 January 2021) (incidence rate based on Census 2016 county population)

CountyToday’s cases**(to midnight 22Jan2021)14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population (to 22Jan2021)New Cases during last 14 days(to 22Jan2021)
Ireland1,910 955.5 45,500
Monaghan19 1,787.1 1,097
Louth86 1,417.6 1,827
Mayo50 1,362.4 1,778
Carlow23 1,294.5 737
Wexford32 1,276.4 1,911
Waterford76 1,188.7 1,381
Limerick102 1,167.8 2,276
Dublin710 1,061.8 14,306
Cork150 933.0 5,065
Donegal72 926.6 1,475
Galway74 914.9 2,361
Cavan33 883.5 673
Meath103 854.2 1,666
Clare23 835.7 993
Kildare79 786.1 1,749
Tipperary34 785.9 1,254
Laois17 776.9 658
Offaly64 750.4 585
Roscommon14 658.5 425
Kilkenny16 606.7 602
Wicklow31 587.0 836
Kerry36 553.8 818
Westmeath20 488.9 434
Sligo25 462.3 303
Longford12 460.0 188
Leitrim9 318.3 102

7-day incidence 344.9

5-day moving average 2,273

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Galway TD calls for mediator to be appointed to resolve impasse over special needs education

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Galway Bay FM Newsroom – A Galway East TD is calling for a mediator to be appointed to resolve the impasse over special needs education.

Deputy Sean Canney argues there is too much public rhetoric and not enough solutions being presented.

He says children and their parents are at their ‘wits end’ and have been given too many false dawns over the last two weeks.

His comments come as opposition parties have questioned the ability of Education Minister Norma Foley to oversee the re-opening of schools.

It also emerged this morning that talks between teachers unions and the department on the return of special education is not expected to resume until Monday, despite the Taoiseach saying it’s a priority.

Independent Deputy Canney claims parents are being left in the dark while the Minister and unions clash on the airwaves.

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