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Top cop says alcohol and drugs a factor in nearly all street crime

Dara Bradley



Alcohol and drugs is a factor in nearly all public order offences and assaults committed in the city, according to Galway’s top Garda.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley, confirmed the correlation between alcohol and drugs misuse, and public order offences and assaults.

He warned that over the coming weeks of Christmas, with parties in full swing and alcohol flowing, his members will have to deal with many more assaults and public order offences.

In his report to the Galway City Joint Policing Committee (JPC), Chief Supt Curley said the number of public order offences in the city in the first 10 months of the year had increased by 5%.

Public order was up by 26 incidents to 560, which equated to 56 for every month since January. There was one racially-motivated public order offence during that period, compared with three in the first 10 months of 2015. That represented a 67% reduction.

It is only in recent reports that Galway Garda have provided information about racially-motivated public order offences, at the behest of members.

Meanwhile, the number of assaults causing harm has fallen by 37% in the first 10 months of the year. During that period, some 46 incidents were reported to Gardaí, compared with 73 for the corresponding period last year.

Minor assaults had also fallen in that time – they were down by 13%, from 180 to 157.

Fianna Fáil City Councillor, Peter Keane, a solicitor, said he saw the impact drink was having on society through his day job.  Cllr Keane said every case involving public order and assaults before the District Court in Galway related to alcohol consumption. He said being drunk and over consumption of alcohol was nearly always proffered as an excuse by defending solicitors in court cases.

Galway City Councillor Pádraig Conneely said the city was paying ‘lip service’ to alcohol. The main attraction at the Christmas Market, he said, was the beer tent; alcohol is served at civic receptions at City Hall; and beer is the main attraction at Connacht Rugby games.

Meanwhile, Maireád Farrell (SF) expressed concern at the increase in domestic violence incidents.

The JPC heard how alcohol was a factor in many domestic incidents.

There was a 31% increase in breaches of barring orders, safety orders and protection orders in the first 10 months of the year.  That was up by 11 to 46. There were 10 more domestic incidents where the offence isn’t disclosed, up 7% to 145.

Rapes were up by 30%, from 10 to 13; and non-aggravated sexual assaults were up by 21% from 19 to 23.

Many of the sexual offences were historic, and the alleged crimes were perpetrated years and decades ago, said Chief Supt Curley who confirmed Gardaí were following definite lines of inquiry in relation to any fresh sexual assault cases.


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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