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CITY TRIBUNE

Hit-and-run driver left woman in agony

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A woman’s leg was broken in three places by a hit-and-run driver, whom a judge suspected had left the scene of the accident because he had drink taken.

Judge Mary Fahy told the 47 year old driver Brian Clancy that it was absolutely disgraceful that he had left an injured woman lying on the ground before fleeing the scene at Blackrock, Salthill, in the early hours of Monday, November 21, 2015.

Clancy, who is from 54 Woodlands, Lackagh, Turloughmore, manages a leisure facility in the city.

He pleaded guilty before Galway District Court last week to failing to stop, failing to report a collision, failing to remain at the scene, driving without insurance and dangerous driving near Dun na Carraige, Blackrock, Salthill on the date in question.

Garda David Murphy gave evidence the woman was alighting from a taxi at 2.40am when she was hit from behind by Clancy’s car.

Clancy fled but the taxi driver called the emergency services and stayed with the woman until help arrived.

Clancy made contact with Gardaí the following day through his solicitor and he came to the Garda Station where he gave a cautioned statement.

The woman was taken by ambulance to UHG where doctors treated her for two fractures to her leg.  She underwent emergency surgery that same day and had five screws inserted into her leg to stabilise the fractures.

Garda Murphy said the woman had been in Ireland for a few weeks learning English. She returned home to Spain shortly afterwards and while getting medical treatment there it was discovered she had a third fracture in the same leg.

The leg was put in plaster and the woman was told she would need further surgery.

Garda Murphy said he had been in regular contact with the woman and she was due to undergo the surgery in the next few weeks.

“This poor woman suffered horrific injuries.  He had no insurance so everyone else has to pay.  It’s absolutely disgraceful,” Judge Fahy said.

Defence solicitor, Brendan O’Connor, said his client had a commercial policy of insurance in place but it didn’t cover him to drive the car he was driving on the night.

“He got the car three days beforehand and didn’t transfer the insurance across because he assumed the insurance policy covered him to drive this car,” Mr O’Connor explained.

Judge Fahy said she was more than suspicious that Clancy left the scene because he had alcohol “on board”.

“Anybody out at 2.40am and knocking someone down, the chances are he had alcohol on board,”  Judge Fahy said.

“Why didn’t you stop and help this woman?” the judge asked Clancy.

“I panicked,” Clancy replied.

In reply to Judge Fahy, Clancy admitted he had been out socialising the evening before and had taken alcohol earlier.

He claimed he had “just been out driving” at the time he knocked the woman down.

“You know you shouldn’t have been driving and at the very least you should have stopped,” Judge Fahy said to Clancy.

Mr O’Connor said that was accepted and he added that contact was made with the Gardaí.

“Oh yeah, when he sobered up he made contact.  That’s obvious,” Judge Fahy retorted.

Mr O’Connor said his client did make contact and he felt ashamed.

He said Clancy had brought €2,500 to court for the injured party as a token of his remorse and he was aware that civil proceedings had been instituted against him.

Garda Murphy handed an impact statement from the victim into court.

After reading the woman’s statement, Judge Fahy said she was concerned the woman’s prognosis was uncertain as she had to undergo further surgery.

“It’s as bad a case as any I’ve come across.  Anyone can have an accident, but the failure to ignore somebody who is injured and then to go to the Gardaí when it suited him, particularly a man in a respectable position; it’s very difficult to understand,” Judge Fahy said.

She sentenced Clancy to four months in prison, which she suspended for twelve months, for failing to stop at the scene, and she disqualified him from driving for four years.

She fined him €800 for dangerous driving and imposed a concurrent two-year disqualification.

A further €600 fine and concurrent two-year disqualification was imposed for driving without insurance, while concurrent one-month, suspended sentences were imposed for the remaining charges.

Judge Fahy commended Garda Murphy for his investigation and for continuing to liaise and help the victim.

She directed the €2,500 be paid to the victim and said she hoped the money would be of some comfort to her while she waited for her civil claim to be processed.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway ‘masterplan’ needed to tackle housing and transport crises

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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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CITY TRIBUNE

Official opening of Galway’s new pedestrian and cycle bridge

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The new Salmon Weir pedestrian and cycle bridge will be officially opened to the public next Friday, May 26.

Work on the €10 million bridge got underway in April 2022, before the main structure was hoisted into place in early December.

A lunchtime tape-cutting ceremony will take place on Friday, as the first pedestrians and cyclists traverse the as-yet-unnamed bridge.

The Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, previously said the bridge, once opened, would remove existing conflicts between pedestrians, cyclists and traffic “as well as facilitating the Cross-City Link public transport corridor over the existing 200-year-old bridge”.

The naming of the new bridge has been under discussion by the Council’s Civic Commemorations Committee since late last year.

One name that has been in the mix for some time is that of the first woman in Europe to graduate with an engineering degree – Alice Perry.

Ms Perry, who was from Wellpark, graduated from Queen’s College Galway (now University of Galway) in 1906. The university’s engineering building is named in her honour.

The bridge was built by Jons Civil Engineering firm in County Meath and was assembled off-site before being transported to Galway. Funding for the project was provided in full by the National Transport Authority and the European Regional Development Fund.

(Photo: Sheila Gallagher captured the city’s new pedestrian footbridge being raised on the south side of the Salmon Weir Bridge in December. It will officially open next Friday, May 26).

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CITY TRIBUNE

Minister branded ‘a disgrace’ for reversing land rezoning in Galway City

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From the Galway City Tribune – Minister of State for Local Government and Planning, Kieran O’Donnell was labelled a “disgrace” for overturning councillors’ decisions to rezone land in the new City Development Plan.

Minister O’Donnell (pictured) confirmed in a letter to Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath last week that he was reversing 25 material alternations made by councillors to the CDP 2023-29. He made the decision on the advice of Office of Planning Regulator (OPR).

Minister O’Donnell directed that 14 land parcels that were subject to land-use zoning changes by councillors as part of the Material Alterations to the Draft CDP should be reversed.

He directed that a further 11 land parcels in the city should become “unzoned”.

The Minister found that the CDP had not been made in a manner consistent with recommendations of the OPR, which required specific changes to the plan to ensure consistency with the national planning laws and guidelines.

At last week’s Council meeting Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) asked for clarity on the process by which councillors could rezone the lands that had been changed by the Minister’s direction.

Cllr Declan McDonnell said, “What he [Minister O’Donnell] has done is an absolute disgrace”.

And he asked: “Do we have to have another development plan meeting to deal with it?”

Both Cllrs Hoare and McDonnell wondered what would become of the lands that were rezoned or unzoned by the ministerial direction.

Mr McGrath said the Council had put forward an argument in favour of retaining the material alterations in the plan, but ultimately the Minister sided with OPR.

He said if councillors want to make alterations to the new plan, they could go through the process of making a material alteration but this was lengthy.

The Save Roscam Peninsula campaign welcomed the Minister’s decision.

In a statement to the Galway City Tribune, it said the direction would mean the Roscam village area on the Roscam Peninsula will be unzoned and a number of land parcels would revert back to agriculture/high amenity.

A spokesperson for the campaign said: “the material alterations made by city councillors following lobbying by developers continued the long-standing practice of councillors facilitating a developer-led plan rather than an evidence- and policy-based plan that meets the needs of the city.

“The Minister’s direction is an important step in restoring confidence in the planning system. It is clear from the City Council’s own evidence on future housing projections that there was no requirement to zone these lands for residential purposes in order to meet the needs of the targeted population increase up to 2029,” the spokesperson added.

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