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Muggers robbed teen as Gardaí watched on CCTV



Garda-operated street cameras were instrumental in catching three men who surrounded a teenager near Eyre Square late one night and robbed his wallet before walking off laughing.

Alan King (29), 2 Clifton House Apartments, Gaelcarrig Park; Brian Noone (33), with a former address at Bluebell Woods, Maree Road, Oranmore; and Gill O’Connell (22), 15 Rahoon Road, Shantalla, all pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court to robbing €20 cash from a 19-year-old youth at William Street on July 8 last year.

Sergeant Brendan Moore told the men’s sentence hearing on Wednesday that he and other Gardai were monitoring the Garda CCTV street cameras at around 3.30am when they noticed three men acting suspiciously.

They followed the men’s movements on camera and saw them approach a youth on William Street, who had become isolated from his friends.

“The three men surrounded their victim and stood over him.  Two were much taller than him.

“We zoomed in the camera.  The images on the cameras are crystal clear and we could see King catch the victim by the throat, while O’Connell put his hands into his pockets and took out his wallet.

“Noone kept talking to the injured party all the time. They all then walked away, laughing at him,” Sgt. Moore explained.

Gardai, he said, then went to Eyre Square where they spoke to the three men.  They all denied any involvement in the robbery and were arrested.

Other Gardai caught up with the victim in Shop Street.  He was upset and distressed at what had happened to him.

The court heard that while the three suspects were being processed and searched later that morning at Galway Garda Station, Gill O’Connell took off his shoe and sock and removed a crumpled up €20 note from under his foot.  He threw it at Gardai and asked if that was what they were looking for.

Sgt. Moore confirmed the victim had a €20 note in his wallet which had been taken, while the wallet had been thrown back at him at the scene of the robbery before all three walked away laughing back at him.

He agreed with prosecuting barrister, Conor Fahy, that the three accused had been acting in a pack manner.

“You would be forgiven for thinking it was rehearsed.  They crowded round him. They had drink taken but they were not intoxicated or falling around the place drunk,” he added.

King, he said, had several previous convictions committed between 2003 and 2012, for assaults, serious assaults, obstructing a Garda, and one for robbery in 2006, for which  he had received a three-year suspended sentence in 2008.

Noone, he said, had two previous for road traffic offences, while O’Connell had 15 previous for Public Order offences, criminal damage, obstructing a Garda, theft and handling stolen property.

In reply to defence barrister, Deirdre Browne, who represented Noone, Sgt. Moore said he did believe he was genuinely sorry for his involvement in the robbery.

Ms Browne said her client, who was a father himself and a plumber, had brought €2,000 to court for the young victim as a token of his remorse.

She said her client had been deeply affected by what he and the other had done that night.

“People tend to feel sorry for what they did when faced with a jail sentence,” Judge McCabe observed.

Hearing there was no probation report on King before the court and a further report was awaited for O’Connell, the judge decided to adjourn sentence in all three cases to May.

He directed the €2,000 offer of compensation be returned to Noone’s solicitor, and asked Sgt. Moore to contact the victim in the meantime to see if he would accept the money.

“I don’t like the idea. People should not be allowed buy themselves out of jail,” Judge McCabe added.

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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