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Child rapist given 12-year sentence



A man has received a 12 year sentence, with the final two suspended, for the repeated rape of his partner’s then 11-year-old daughter in her Galway City home.

Henry Crowe (57) of Blackditch Road, Ballyfermot pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to five sample charges of raping Majella Cahill on dates between November 23, 1988 and December 31, 1992. She was aged between 11 and 15 years old at the time.


Ms Cahill indicted in her victim impact report that she wished to waive her right to anonymity so that Crowe, who also has an address of Tirellan Heights, Galway City, could be named.

Mr Justice Paul Carney declared Crowe a sex offender and said he was taking into account the gross breach of trust, the victim’s age and the multiplicity of offences when passing sentence.

The judge also took into account that Crowe took advantage of his victim’s dysfunctional upbringing and violated her while she was being abused by other family members.

Speaking to journalists outside the court, Ms Cahill thanked the gardaí in her case and said she was “very happy and grateful for Judge Carney’s decision”.

“I want to thank the family who did support me and I just want to go home now to my own family,” she added.

Mr Justice Carney backdated Crowe’s sentence to March 2013 and suspended the final two years taking into consideration his early guilty plea, genuine remorse and previous good character.

He ordered Crowe undergo 18 months post-release supervision and stay away from Ms Cahill on his release from prison.

At the sentence hearing last month, Ms Cahill had begun reading her victim impact statement but became overwhelmed and a garda read the remainder of it into the record. She outlined how she was neglected as a child by her mother.

She said as a three-year-old she went to live with her father’s parents before returning to live in Galway with her mother’s parents when she was seven years old.

She said her grandfather, who is since deceased, sexually abused her in that house.

When she was 11 years old, Crowe started a relationship with her mother. He began to rape her on a daily basis after initially being nice to her.

Describing her “horrible and disgusting childhood” the woman’s statement said “We were left on our own, hungry and dirty. I was neglected by my mother.”

She said social services were involved with the family but her mother would “clean and feed us” when she knew they were visiting.

Ms Cahill said when she first told her mother about Crowe raping her, she called the child “a prick teaser” and said that Ms Cahill had wanted Crowe for herself.

“She always claimed I was lying. She started beating me when I told her about the abuse.”

Ms Cahill said she later became unruly and would get into trouble with the local gardaí. She said when Crowe raped her he would start by accusing her of being bold or robbing.

“He became a monster in my mind,” Ms Cahill said before she described once being raped while her mother was pregnant with Crowe’s child.

She said her mother blamed her when they broke up and he returned to live in Dublin.

Ms Cahill then described how she spent time living on the street and was suicidal. She said she later became a mother and had difficulty bathing her children and changing their nappies.

She said she suffers from depression, anxiety and panic attacks but has attended for counselling at the Rape Crisis Centre. Ms Cahill said she despises her mother and her family for making her life difficult.

“I will have to live with this for the rest of my life,” she stated in her report.

Ms Cahill first made a complaint to Gardaí in November 2011 outlining the abuse she suffered at the hands of both men from the age of seven to 15 years old.

Crowe was arrested in May 2013 and interviewed twice. He didn’t deny any of Ms Cahill’s allegations. He has no previous convictions.

Kieran Kelly BL, defending, told the court that there were often times that there was more alcohol in Ms Cahill’s childhood home than food and it would sometimes be his client who organized something for the children to eat.

He told Mr Justice Carney that Crowe has faced up to these crimes and acknowledged his wrongdoing. He said he wants to apologise to Ms Cahill for these “appalling crimes”.

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.

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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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