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Connacht Tribune

Victim wanted paedophile named to protect others

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A 70-year-old paedophile has been spared a prison sentence, after his victim said she wanted him identified rather than jailed so that other children can be protected from him.

Gerry Kelly, from Beech Lawn, Ballinasloe, received a three-year suspended prison sentence at Galway Circuit Criminal Court.

He has also been placed on the Sex Offender’s Register indefinitely.

Kelly had denied six sample charges of indecently assaulting a then vulnerable teenage girl, in circumstances which included oral rape, on dates between January 7, 1985 and January 6, 1986, when the matter first came before the court for trial last February.

A jury was empanelled but shortly before the trial was due to start, Kelly pleaded guilty to one charge of indecently assaulting the girl on dates between November 7, 1985 and January 6, 1986.

Prosecuting barrister, Geri Silke withdrew the remaining five charges and said the matter could be dealt with on a full facts basis.

Sentence was adjourned to last Thursday for Kelly’s defence team to obtain a psychological report under the Free Legal Aid Scheme.

Detective Adrian Fehily, Ballinasloe Garda Station, told the sentence hearing other totally separate matters were being investigated when these offences came to light.

He said the abuse occurred when the vulnerable girl was allowed to attend nightclubs at a very young age.

Kelly was 37 and married when he met the girl in 1985, while working as a bouncer at the East County Hotel nightclub.

He had previously worked in maintenance at Portiuncula Hospital before becoming a woodwork instructor for FAS. He retired from that job in 2014.

Garda Fehily said Kelly befriended the girl, often driving her home when the nightclub finished.

The girl began to trust and confide in him, telling him all her troubles. He comforted her, gave her advice and even offered to bring her to see a psychiatrist.

Kelly began to drive her to isolated areas outside Ballinasloe where he would sexually abuse her.

“No threats or coercion were used and at the time, she believed it was a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.

“Looking back now, she sees it as something different and she wants him to acknowledge what he did was wrong,” Garda Fehily said.

He said Kelly’s guilty plea had been important to the complainant, who did not wish to be in court, and she hoped the sentence hearing would now bring some closure and she could get on with her life.

“She had a fear of the court process and feared having to appear in court.

“Her motivation was never for him to get a custodial sentence.  Her motivation has always been to protect other children from him and that he understand the seriousness of what he did.

“Things are improving for her now with the help of her family and closure will come today, hopefully,” Garda Fehily said.

He said Kelly was now aged 70 and had no previous convictions.

Paul Flannery SC, defending, said Kelly was “a valued member of society all through his life” and he had thought the girl was older at the time.

He said it was very fair of the complainant to indicate she had no interest in seeing Kelly go to prison.

A letter of apology from Kelly to the complainant was read into evidence.

Kelly wrote he wanted to apologise for the hurt he caused her, adding he hoped his guilty plea spared her more upset and anguish.

“For whatever it’s worth, I would like you to know I’m truly sorry,” his letter read.

Ms Silke confirmed the woman wanted Kelly identified so long as she was not identified.

Judge Rory McCabe said the abuse had a significant impact on the complainant, being exploited when she was a troubled and vulnerable child.

“He used her for his own sexual gratification.  That she trusted and confided in him makes this even more serious.  Her attitude, as evidenced in her victim impact statement, is notable.

“She acts with dignity and charity, in stark contrast to Kelly’s callous and deceitful behaviour towards her,” the judge said.

He placed the offences in the mid-range on the scale of gravity, stating that the headline sentence was five years.

The judge said he had to take mitigating factors into account before deciding on the appropriate sentence and those were: Kelly’s plea of guilty, albeit it only came after a jury had been picked and ready to go to trial, and that, he said, highlighted the charitable approach of the complainant while, in contract, casting a shadow on Kelly’s attitude.

“He says he’s sorry in the letter and he co-operated with the investigation but in so far as that goes, he didn’t admit his guilt until the very last minute,” the judge observed.

He said that in cases such as this an immediate custodial sentence would be warranted and inevitable but given the complainant’s Christian attitude, he had reluctantly been persuaded to impose a three-year suspended sentence instead.

“He is a sex offender and is now on the Sex Offender’s Register and that in itself is punishment,” the judge observed, before binding Kelly to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for the next three years.

Connacht Tribune

Renters struck by rocketing increases

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Rents for private accommodation in Galway City have doubled in the past seven years and are now averaging €1,300 per month.

And it’s bad news for renters in the county too, with rents up by more than 82% since the bottom of the market in early 2012.

The latest report from property website Daft.ie shows that since the market trough, rents have increased by 97% in the city and are up 9.1% year on year.

They now stand at an average of €1,297 per month, while in the county, the average is €932, up 15.5% year on year.

Rental inflation was higher in Co Galway that anywhere else in the country over the past year; the next highest was in Waterford County at 15.4%.

That means that average monthly mortgage repayments on a three-bed house in the city would be around €360 less than rental payments, and more than €390 less for a similar property in the county.

Nationally, the average rent is €1,391, up 6.7% on last year.

A break-down of the figures shows that one-bed apartments are renting for an average of €964 per month in Galway City (up 13.6% year on year); a two-bed house for €1,086 (up 11.2%); a three-bed house for €1,258 (up 10%); a four-bed for €1,384 (up 10%) and a five-bed for €1,464 (up 6%).

To rent a single bedroom in the city centre is now averaging €440 per month (up 5.8% over the past year) and €410 in the suburbs (up 7%). A double bedroom is averaging €544 (up 9.2%) in the city centre and €484 (up 5.4%) in the suburbs.

For more, read this week’s Connacht 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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Connacht Tribune

Public auction of Castlesampson farm with c.143 acres

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Connaughton Auctioneers are handling the sale of a c.143.40 acre farm located at Corraree and Ballygatta, Castlesampson, just 9km from Athlone/ M6 Motorway and 15km from Ballinasloe Town.

Located in a renowned farming district, the property has an extensive range of modern farm buildings including five-bay single slatted with lay back, three bay double bay slatted, covered yard with crush, two-bay double slatted, three-bay double flat shed and three-bay single flat shed with an overall area of c.10,274 sq. ft.

The lands are being offered for sale in four lots, Lot 1: c.77.77 acres with the farm buildings mentioned above, Lot 2: c.52.43 acres, Lot 3: c.13.20 acres and Lot 4: The entire property c.143.30 Acres with farm buildings. With a public road passing through the farm, there is extensive road frontage to an area of c.2,500 metres thereby holding huge potential for building sites in the future.

The property comes with mains connections to electricity and water and includes overall c.55.07 entitlements included in the sale.

Auctioneer for the sale, Ivan Connaughton stated: “This is a fine farm to come on the open market. The large investment in the ultra-modern farm buildings by the current owners together with an extensive holding of top-quality agricultural lands has attracted interest from both near and far.

The potential for transformation into dairy or usage as a large feed lot has attracted additional interest. Its location in a renowned farming district and conveniently situated close to the Galway/ Dublin M6 Motorway is a major advantage. The farm entitlements that total c.€21,000 per annum are included in the sale and has received a positive response from interested parties to date. I encourage any interested party to contact our office on 090-6663700 for further information and viewing”

The Public Auction is being held in Gullane’s Hotel, Ballinasloe on Friday August 30th at 4.00pm. All are welcome to attend. All legal enquiries can be made to solicitor for the carriage of sale, Hayden & Co. Solicitors, Athlone Tel: 090-6470622

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Connacht Tribune

Offering a lifeline to people affected by cancer

Denise McNamara

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Lifestyle – The Daffodil Centre at UHG which is celebrating its 10th anniversary has given practical and moral support to thousands of cancer patients and their family members since the Irish Cancer Society set it up as a pilot project. DENISE MCNAMARA hears one man’s story of its role in his recovery.

When Alan Rushe began to feel cramps in his stomach, he did not hesitate in attending his local doctor.

His GP asked if he had ever suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). As he had been diagnosed with the condition when he was younger, he was prescribed tablets for that and told to see how they worked.

Six days later, Alan’s condition hadn’t improved so his GP referred him for a colonoscopy. When the invasive test revealed he had colon cancer he was operated on within ten days. Two months later he was started on six months of chemotherapy, getting treatment once every fortnight.

When he was coming to the end of the treatment, Alan found himself in a bind.

He wanted reassurance about what to expect as the chemicals left his body but the doctors and nurses in the oncology ward were far too busy to give him the time he needed to sit and chat.

“One of the things about having cancer, your whole life becomes obsessed with your problem and how you’re dealing with it,” Alan reflects.

“Suddenly you’re coming to the end of chemo and you find yourself in a very strange place; you are in a vacuum. You might be told things by different doctors and nurses but you haven’t taken it in.

“You can’t just drop back into the ward, yet you want to talk to people who know all there is to know about your type of cancer.”

He was advised to go to the Daffodil Centre in University Hospital Galway (UHG), which is run by the Irish Cancer Society to seek further information.

There he found oncology nurse Fionnuala Creighton who manages the Galway Daffodil Centre. She sat down with Alan and gave him the time to answer the myriad of questions that were swirling around his mind.

“She gave me all this information about what to expect when chemo is leaving the body, how it would affect me. She gave me information leaflets and told me about services that are available, such as exercise classes in Cancer Care West,” he explains.

The Daffodil Centre at UHG began as a pilot project for the Irish Cancer Society a decade ago this month.

Aileen McHale, who is now Cancer Information Services Manager with the Irish Cancer Society, was the first nurse to work there.

“We wanted to set up a designated cancer centre in a hospital to provide information to the patient, relatives and general public at the point of diagnosis, treatment and follow-up,” she explains. “I was involved in the setting up and running it and, from the beginning one of my roles was recruiting and training a group of volunteers who would help me in the running of the centre.

For more, read this week’s Connacht 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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