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Burglar’s tools of the trade revealed in court



A married man who had a phone concealed in his genital area which rang when Gardai went to search him, told a “cock-and-bull” story about visiting a girlfriend late at night, Judge Mary Fahy at Galway District Court.

Orentas Jaselskis (57), a Lithuanian national and father of four, with a former address in Clonsilla, and more recently at Moone Avenue, Athy, Co. Kildare, was arrested and searched in the early hours of the morning after two Gardai noticed him acting suspiciously near Oranmore.

Jaselskis appeared before Galway District Court this week where he denied a charge of having several implements associated with housebreaking in his car at Coolough, Oranmore on December 5 last, with the intention of using them in the course of a burglary.

The items included a black hat and gloves, double-sided tape, jimmy bar, torch, Stanley knife, metal file and set of screwdrivers.

He further denied having a card which opened out like a jigsaw, into a sharply-pointed knife, on the same occasion.

Gardai also found a radio signal-blocking device, plugged into the car’s cigarette lighter, which could be used for immobilising house alarms, mobile phones and other security devices which operate using radio signals.

Garda Conor Barrett told the hearing that he and Detective Padraig Healy were on patrol in an unmarked Garda car at 2.30a.m. when they noticed a car being driven by the accused who was acting suspiciously.

They stopped the car and noticed Jaselskis was extremely nervous.

Garda Barrett said he believed the accused might have had drugs on him, but on searching his wallet, he found the card-shaped knife instead.

He then arrested Jaselskis and handcuffed him for his and Garda Healy’s safety in case he had other knives or weapons concealed on his person.

He found a iPad on the passenger’s seat which had a sat nav app on the screen.  There were maps too of the local area with roads marked out in the Moyvilla area.

He then found the aerial plugged into the cigarette lighter which could be used for blocking house alarms.

He found a bag containing the jimmy bar and other implements, which he believed were to be used in the commission of burglaries, along with a knuckle-duster in the boot.

Both Gardai took Jaselskis to Oranmore Garda Station and while carrying out a more thorough search of the accused there they heard a phone ringing.

“We heard a ringing noise but we couldn’t make out where it was coming from.  Then we noticed he had a mobile phone concealed in his genital area,” Garda Barrett explained.

Garda Healy gave evidence stating they tried to ascertain where Jaselskis had come from and where he was going but he kept saying he was in Galway to meet a girlfriend.

In reply to Judge Fahy, Garda Healy explained that the double-sided tape found in the car could be used to tape over and deactivate security sensor lights, cover a camera lens or be used for fishing items out through a letterbox.

The accused, he said, refused to enter his password into the iPad to prove it was his and refused to tell them why he was in the area that late at night.  “He had a mobile phone down his boxer shorts, too, which we only discovered when it started ringing,” Garda Healy said.

Jaselskis gave evidence he was down in Galway with a friend who wanted to buy a car  but the vendor could not meet them until the next day and they booked into a B&B.

He said his wife rang him that night, saying she was ill and needed him to bring her to hospital, so he was on his way back to Dublin but got lost just before the Gardai found him.  He said he did not know where the B&B was situated.

The card which could be adapted into a knife was legal in his own country and he had bought it online from China, he added.

Judge Fahy said she had heard enough and that the accused had told a “cock and bull” story about a B&B, a friend and buying a car.

Garda Barrett said the accused had received a five-year sentence at Dublin Circuit Court in 2007, for the possession of a firearm and ammunition and for drug dealing and possession charges.

Defence solicitor, Brian Gilmartin said Jaselskis had been living in Ireland for 15 years, was married and had four children.

Judge Fahy sentenced him to twelve months in prison for having the implements in the car and imposed a consecutive six-month sentence on him for having the knife, which she suspended for two years.

Noting he had used his car in the commission of a crime, she also disqualified him from driving for three years on the first charge and for 12 months on the second charge, to run concurrently.

Hearing the accused wanted to appeal and was ready to take up bail, Judge Fahy imposed a further condition that he stay away from Galway city and county other than for court appearances or legal appointments.

Garda Barrett said Jaselskis’s son, who had been present for the lengthy hearing, was acceptable as a independent surety as he was a person of good character.

Connacht Tribune

West has lower cancer survival rates than rest



Significant state investment is required to address ‘shocking’ inequalities that leave cancer patients in the West at greater risk of succumbing to the disease.

A meeting of Regional Health Forum West heard that survival rates for breast, lung and colorectal cancers than the national average, and with the most deprived quintile of the population, the West’s residents faced poorer outcomes from a cancer diagnosis.

For breast cancer patients, the five-year survival rate was 80% in the West versus 85% nationally; for lung cancer patients it was 16.7% in the west against a 19.5% national survival rate; and in the West’s colorectal cancer patients, there was a 62.6% survival rate where the national average was 63.1%.

These startling statistics were provided in answer to a question from Ballinasloe-based Cllr Evelyn Parsons (Ind) who said it was yet another reminder that cancer treatment infrastructure in the West was in dire need of improvement.

“The situation is pretty stark. In the Western Regional Health Forum area, we have the highest incidence of deprivation and the highest health inequalities because of that – we have the highest incidences of cancer nationally because of that,” said Cllr Parsons, who is also a general practitioner.

In details provided by CEO of Saolta Health Care Group, which operates Galway’s hospitals, it was stated that a number of factors were impacting on patient outcomes.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Marathon Man plans to call a halt – but not before he hits 160 races



Loughrea’s Marathon Man Jarlath Fitzgerald.

On the eve of completing his 150th marathon, an odyssey that has taken him across 53 countries, Loughrea’s Marathon Man has announced that he is planning to hang up his running shoes.

But not before Jarlath Fitzgerald completes another ten races, making it 160 marathons on the occasion of his 60th birthday.

“I want to draw the line in 2026. I turn 57 in October and when I reach 60 it’s the finishing line. The longer races are taking it out of me. I did 20 miles there two weeks ago and didn’t feel good. It’s getting harder,” he reveals.

“I’ve arthritis in both hips and there’s wear and tear in the knees.”

We speak as he is about to head out for a run before his shift in Supervalu Loughrea. Despite his physical complaints, he still clocks up 30 miles every second week and generally runs four days a week.

Jarlath receives injections to his left hip to keep the pain at bay while running on the road.

To give his joints a break, during the winter he runs cross country and often does a five-mile trek around Kylebrack Wood.

He is planning on running his 150th marathon in Cork on June 4, where a group of 20 made up of work colleagues, friends and running mates from Loughrea Athletics Club will join him.

Some are doing the 10k, others are doing the half marathon, but all will be there on the finishing line to cheer him on in the phenomenal achievement.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Galway ‘masterplan’ needed to tackle housing and transport crises



From the Galway City Tribune – An impassioned plea for a ‘masterplan’ that would guide Galway City into the future has been made in the Dáil. Galway West TD Catherine Connolly stated this week that there needed to be an all-inclusive approach with “vision and leadership” in order to build a sustainable city.

Deputy Connolly spoke at length at the crisis surrounding traffic and housing in Galway city and said that not all of the blame could be laid at the door of the local authority.

She said that her preference would be the provision of light rail as the main form of public transport, but that this would have to be driven by the government.

“I sat on the local council for 17 years and despaired at all of the solutions going down one road, metaphorically and literally. In 2005 we put Park & Ride into the development plan, but that has not been rolled out. A 2016 transport strategy was outdated at the time and still has not been updated.

“Due to the housing crisis in the city, a task force was set up in 2019. Not a single report or analysis has been published on the cause of the crisis,” added Deputy Connolly.

She then referred to a report from the Land Development Agency (LDA) that identified lands suitable for the provision of housing. But she said that two-thirds of these had significant problems and a large portion was in Merlin Park University Hospital which, she said, would never have housing built on it.

In response, Minister Simon Harris spoke of the continuing job investment in the city and also in higher education, which is his portfolio.

But turning his attention to traffic congestion, he accepted that there were “real issues” when it came to transport, mobility and accessibility around Galway.

“We share the view that we need a Park & Ride facility and I understand there are also Bus Connects plans.

“I also suggest that the City Council reflect on her comments. I am proud to be in a Government that is providing unparalleled levels of investment to local authorities and unparalleled opportunities for local authorities to draw down,” he said.

Then Minister Harris referred to the controversial Galway City Outer Ring Road which he said was “struck down by An Bord Pleanála”, despite a lot of energy having been put into that project.

However, Deputy Connolly picked up on this and pointed out that An Bord Pleanála did not say ‘No’ to the ring road.

“The High Court said ‘No’ to the ring road because An Bord Pleanála acknowledged it failed utterly to consider climate change and our climate change obligations.

“That tells us something about An Bord Pleanála and the management that submitted such a plan.”

In the end, Minister Harris agreed that there needed to be a masterplan for Galway City.

“I suggest it is for the local authority to come up with a vision and then work with the Government to try to fund and implement that.”

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