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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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LISTEN: Germans return home to vote in Parliament elections

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https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/rcc9k8/KLAPP.mp3

Voting continues in Germany where people are choosing a new Parliament, which will not be lead by Angela Merkel.

She will be stepping down after 16 years, with state Governor Armin Laschet, Green Party rep Annalena Baerbock and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz vying for the role.

About 60 million people will cast their votes today, but no party is expected to come anywhere close to an outright majority.

Angela Merkel will remain as Chancellor until a coalition can be formed.

Many German citizens returned home so they could vote in the election.

Stephanie Klapp, who is from Kassel in the federal state of Hesse is a school teacher at ArdScoil Mhuire in Ballinasloe.

She flew back to Germany to vote this weekend. She told John Mulligan that the general feeling is that Olaf Scholz will be the next Chancellor:

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LISTEN: Tuam Stadium Development receives a boost with visit of Minister for Sport

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https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/v27rjj/moylan_tuambj4b0.mp3

Galway Bay FM Newsroom – The ongoing development of Tuam Stadium received a boost with the visit of Minister of Sport Jack Chambers yesterday.

Minister Chamber’s visit to Tuam stadium was one of a number of visits the Minister was making to venues in the West of Ireland over the past number of days and is seen as important as Tuam Stadium continues its development of the ground and surrounding areas.

The minister was accompanied by Chairman of infrastructure with Galway GAA John Moylan, Independent Galway East Deputies Sean Canney and Anne Rabbitte, Galway West Deputy Eamon O’Cuiv, Micheal Geraghty, Chairperson of the Tuam Stadium Committee and Sean Carter of the Development Advocates For Tuam Stadium as he was showed the work that has been done at the ground to date.

John Moylan explained what happened at the visit

Deputy Sean Canny said it was important to show the Minister what was happening at Tuam stadium

Deputy Anne Rabbitte said the visit was significant in showing the minister the positivity that surrounds the development

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Statement from the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan

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“Over the last few weeks, it has been heartening to see our young people across the island return to in-person learning in educational settings.

“The role education plays in our society is immense, and, throughout this pandemic, the necessary public health measures have been designed to protect this vital sector and the wider school community from the worst impacts of COVID-19.

“The resumption of in-person education was associated with a significant increase in the numbers of children referred for testing in recent weeks. This was entirely to be expected. We know that parents and teachers are doing an excellent job being mindful of symptoms and arranging tests as per the current public health advice. 

“Despite this increased testing, there has only been a relatively modest increase in the detection of cases in the school going age group. We have also seen the associated positivity rate recently decrease from 16% to 5% which is very reassuring.

“This is a credit to the infection prevention and control measures being implemented and adhered to by all members of our school communities and I would like to thank everyone who continues to play their part in adhering to the public health measures.

“Both nationally and internationally, the evidence tells us that schools are a low risk setting for the transmission of COVID-19 among school-going children and, as such, now is the right time to evolve our contact tracing approach, while maintaining the infection prevention and control measures in place in educational settings.

“As such, from tomorrow (Monday 27th September):

  • Contact tracing of close contacts in childcare facilities and primary education and testing of asymptomatic close contacts in childcare facilities and primary education will no longer be necessary.
  • Children aged 12 years or under, who are identified as close contacts in childcare and educational settings or other non-household settings and who are asymptomatic will no longer be required to routinely restrict movements.
  • Cases in Special Educational Needs settings, and respite care should have a Public Health Risk Assessment which may still require children to be identified as close contacts, be referred for testing and have their movements restricted.
  • Given the substantially higher risk of transmission in households as compared to any other setting, children aged 12 years or under, who are identified as household close contacts, will still be required to restrict movements and be tested, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms.
  • Public health advice remains that any child aged 12 years or under who displays symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should rapidly self-isolate, not attend childcare or school or socialise and follow all medical and public health guidance.

“Of course, it may take some time to adjust to this new advice for close contacts and if you have any concerns at all relating to symptoms of COVID-19 you should contact your GP and be guided by their advice. The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) will continue to monitor the trajectory of the disease.

“At this point in the pandemic, we are all very familiar with the public health advice that will continue to keep us safe, both in school and as we take part in all of the other hobbies and activities that are available to us.

“Vaccination remains our best means of protection against COVID-19. The vaccines available in Ireland are very safe and effective against COVID-19. If vaccination is available to you, then I strongly encourage you to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible.

“Continue to regularly wash hands, wear a mask when appropriate – particularly in retail settings, on public transport and in healthcare settings; keep your distance, open windows and ventilate indoor spaces.

“The most important action to take is – if you display symptoms of COVID-19 like cough, fever, fatigue, headache, or sore throat – isolate and contact your GP who will advise if you need to arrange a test.”

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