Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us


Galway’s ‘most prolific burglar’ gets another 19 months



A heroin addict, whom Gardai dubbed ‘the most prolific burglar in Galway city’ back in July 2009, is still living up to his infamous reputation, six years down the road.

Judge Mary Fahy has called on the Minister for Justice to change the law – which she says is totally inadequate at present – and introduce tougher penalties at District Court level for recidivists like Jonathan Harlowe (32), a native of Seaman Drive, Riverside, with a more recent address at 14 Caislean Thorlaigh, Doughiska.

Harlowe appeared in custody before Galway District Court last week where he pleaded guilty to 28 charges of burglary and theft committed at various locations around the city between February and June of this year.  He also pleaded guilty to failing to appear before the court on two occasions in June to answer the charges, having previously obtained High Court bail.

Sentences totalling 19 months were imposed, while a suspended, three-month sentence, which had been imposed on Harlowe last September for another theft, was activated as he had reoffended during the period of that suspension.

Inspector Derek Gannon said Harlowe had 45 previous convictions.

He gave a lengthy outline of the facts relating to each charge before the court this week.  They all involved break-ins and/or thefts from various business and private premises where Harlowe took mainly cash, along with a box of cigarettes from one house.

On one occasion he was arrested after driving through a red light and a blood sample taken at the time was positive for Benzodiazepine, a form of tranquilliser prescription drug.  He was not insured at the time.

Insp Gannon said Harlowe also got prescriptions (from a doctor) using his brother’s name over a couple of months and went to various pharmacies to get drugs.

Defence solicitor, Sean Acton said his client was well known to the court over the years.

Judge Mary Fahy agreed and said everyone knew Harlowe was a recidivist.

“There are enough charges here to cover a few defendants,” Mr Acton joked.

“All I can say in his favour is that he is sorry,” he added.

He explained that Harlowe has been addicted to one type of drug or another since his late teens, that went from cannabis to heroin.

Harlowe, he said, had gone for three years completely drug-free after completing his latest rehabilitation course and was doing quite well in Dublin before coming back to Galway where he relapsed last summer, first with tablets and then with heroin.

All of the offences, he said, were committed to feed his heroin addiction.

Court clerk Breda Byron checked the court records and confirmed Harlowe had received a three-month sentence for shoplifting last September, which had been suspended at the time for two years.

Judge Fahy became frustrated that her sentencing powers did not match the number of charges before her court.

“The amount of charges he has and the sentencing laws do not justify the low threshold that I have (at District Court level).

“This is typically the type of case the Minister for Justice has been talking about; matters like this should not be accepted (by the DPP) at summary level and should be going forward to a higher court, because these people are recidivists and once they get bail in the High Court they just continue on (offending).

“Obviously, the attitude is, why bother getting a sentence for breaking into one house, when you know you will be getting the same sentence for breaking into ten houses.

“One way of dealing with this is for the DPP to direct they be sent forward for trial and, the second thing, is to change the law,” Judge Fahy said.

She reckoned Harlowe would be getting between three to five years for continually breaking into private dwellings in any other country, but he knew already that the maximum sentence the District Court could impose here was 24 months.

Given he had pleaded and there were no aggravating circumstances surrounding the break-ins as he had not confronted occupiers but had fled on each occasion, Judge Fahy said the maximum she could impose would have to be less than 24 months.

“Do people not realise we are bound by the law and it’s up to the politicians to change that law.  In my view, the law as it stands is totally inadequate to deal with recidivists like Mr Harlowe,” Judge Fahy said.

Sentences totalling 19 months were then imposed along with the activated three-month sentence.

Harlowe apologised to the people affected by his wrongdoing.

“They would be a lot happier if you just stopped,” Judge Fahy told him.

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading


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.”

Continue Reading