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Connacht Tribune

Woman woke to find man sexually assaulting her




The victim of a sexual assault has declined an offer of compensation from her attacker, telling a court she didn’t want the man’s money and didn’t think it appropriate to accept it.

Electrician, Neil Devane (35), with an address in Togher, Tuam, pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court to sexually assaulting a woman in the town on November 2, 2014.

Garda Jim Carr told the sentence hearing last week that the victim had shut the front door but left it unlocked as other members of her family were out socialising that night.

She woke up at 3am in her own bedroom to find the accused on top of her.  He was naked and was trying to remove her underwear.  She told him to stop and that he was hurting her but he replied:  “C’mon, you know you want it.”

The woman managed to fight him off before running out of the room.

Two other people, who were in the house at the time, removed Devane from the premises.

He was subsequently interviewed by Gardaí.  He denied he had sexually assaulted the woman, whom he knew through a mutual friend.

Devane told Gardaí he had been drinking in various pubs and in a local night-club before going to the house around 3am.

He denied having a key to the house and accepted he must have been there as a trespasser.

The woman chose not to be present in court.  In her impact statement, which was read into evidence by Garda Carr, she said she was nervous to be alone in her home since the attack and she constantly checks the lock on the front door.

Garda Carr said the accused worked on construction sites around the country and returned home every weekend to his parents in Tuam.

Defence barrister, Geri Silke said her client was shocked and deeply ashamed when he heard the next day about what he had done.

She said he had brought €5,000 to court to offer to the woman as a token of his remorse.

Judge Rory McCabe adjourned sentence for a week so that Garda Carr could speak to the woman and gauge her attitude in relation to the offer of compensation.

Garda Carr returned to court this week and said the woman had refused to accept the money.  She told him she didn’t want Devane’s money and she also thought it would be inappropriate to accept it.

Ms Silke said Devane had no previous convictions and if he had not been drinking that night he would not have gone into the house and got into the woman’s bed.

“He’s absolutely mortified about what happened and he offered the €5,000 (to the victim) as a concrete expression of his remorse,” Ms Silke said.

She added Devane was attending AA and was no longer drinking to ensure nothing like this happened again.

Judge Rory McCabe noted the maximum sentence for the offence of sexual assault was ten years.

“The circumstances are quite shocking in this case and must be of the most frightening nature, both physically and psychologically, for the victim.  The appropriate sentence is six years in prison,” Judge McCabe said.

He then listed Devane’s young age, his plea, his previous good record and his parent’s dependence on him as mitigating circumstances in the case, which merited a 30% discount.

He sentenced Devane to four years in prison with the final two years suspended for five years, to act, he said, as a further incentive for the accused to continue to rehabilitate. Devane was also placed on the Sex Offender’s Register.

Connacht Tribune

Galway Real Estate have attractive site for sale on the Aran Islands




Oghill, Inishmore, Aran Islands.

Galway Real Estate have an attractive site/property for sale at Oghill, Inishmore, Aran Islands.

The site is approximately c.150 square metres. (c.1600 sq. ft.) on c.1 acre with planning permission to convert to a dwelling house and fit a new waste water treatment system. Planning Ref: 17/1284. There are two years  left on planning. The planning is for a proposed 4 bedrooms, kitchen, dining/room, laundry/room, bathroom. This is a wonderful opportunity to get a property ready to go. Offers in excess of €125,000 considered.

Full details from Paddy Flynn 0872557618 or Galway Real Estate on 091565488 or email:

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Connacht Tribune

Aran to welcome Ireland’s largest domestic passenger ferry




Saoirse na Farraige

The largest domestic passenger ferry in the country is making its journey from the Far East to the Far West – ready to commence service from Galway to the three Aran Islands.

The 40-metre ‘Saoirse na Farraige’ represents a massive investment – and vote of confidence – in island tourism on the part of the owners, Aran Island Ferries.

Commissioned in January 2019, this sixth member of their fleet has a capacity of 400 – and it is expected to arrive in Galway Bay from Hong Kong in October.

The vessel departed Hong Kong last week, embarking on a 2,500 mile journey to Galway Bay – inside the hold of a heavy lift ship called Svenja’”.

Saoirse na Farraige has at least three more stops to make before arriving in Galway Bay at the end of October – and it won’t not enter service until next spring.

Aran Island Ferries Sales and Marketing Manager, Aine McLoughlin, said that they were looking forward to seeing visitors enjoy their journey to the Aran Islands, enjoying the increased capacity, accessibility, and safety features.

“We are really looking forward to officially launching ‘Saoirse na Farraige’ next year and seeing visitors enjoy their journey to the Aran Islands on board our new ferry,” she said.

Saoirse na Farraige will serve all three islands from Rossaveel – with a journey time of 40 minutes to Inis Mór, 50 minutes to Inis Meáin, and 55 minutes to Inis Oírr.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in now – or download our digital edition at

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Connacht Tribune

Emergency Department upgrade will happen at UHG – but it’s complicated

Denise McNamara



The current ED at UHG.

Revamping the emergency department at UHG will involve three separate projects – leading to the hospital’s chief describing the process as ‘very complex’.

City Councillor John Connolly (FF) said the people of Galway were concerned that the new emergency department – like the ring road – would never happen, as it appeared to be so bound up in red tape.

Joe Hoare, assistant national director of estates in HSE West, told the Regional Health Forum West meeting that that outpatients department adjacent to the emergency department was being redeveloped to create more capacity for streaming Covid patients from non-Covid patients for the winter.

The outpatients department would be relocated to the Merlin Park campus. The design for this building would be completed within ten months with construction expected to begin in by last 2021 at the earliest.

An interim emergency department was the next priority so that the current building could be knocked to make way for the new state-of-the-art building, creating a new maternity department and paediatrics unit.

Since the budget for the new children’s hospital had blown out of all proportion, the rules over public projects over €100 million had changed and the Saolta hospital group had to ensure its business case for the massive project was ‘watertight’.

Mr Hoare said all three projects were moving in parallel, including the enabling works for the main build, which would take around 18 months to complete.

He described the project as Saolta’s ‘absolute top priority and was regarded as such by the national HSE organisation.

Head of Saolta, Tony Canavan, said the project was ‘big and very complex’ and required management to remain ‘very focused over a long time’.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in now – or download our digital edition at

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