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Schoolboy mugging terror is revealed



A 23-year-old woman, who along with a male accomplice, tried to mug a schoolboy as he walked though a shopping centre car park to meet his mother, has been given a suspended eight-month sentence with strict conditions attached.

Judge Mary Fahy told Kim Barrett, with an address at 20 Hazel Park, Newcastle, who now resides at Osterley Lodge, Salthill, that she was not one bit grateful for evading a jail term.

A 14-year-old boy was walking through the Headford Road Shopping Centre car park at 4.20p.m. on November 14, 2013, when he was grabbed and assaulted by Barrett and a male accomplice.

The muggers tried to drag him behind some cars when he refused to hand over his rucksack, but he managed to fight them off and call security staff.  The boy’s mother and another person witnessed the attack.

Barrett and her accomplice fled the scene but she was later identified on CCTV and arrested.

Barrett also stole a €750 bicycle from Kearney Cycles on December 16,2013 but staff followed and apprehended her close by.

She pleaded guilty to assault, larceny and theft of the bicycle .

Barrett, the court was told, had several previous convictions for thefts, public order offences and one for assault, and had been given the benefit of the Probation Act for all of them going back over the years to 2009, when she first started offending.

Judge Fahy recalled the matter was before the court in November and she acceded to a request then for an adjournment so that Barrett could be assessed for addictions issues.

The probation officer, the judge recalled, gave evidence on January 14 last, stating Barrett had breached conditions of her bail and she was given one final chance to comply.  However the probation report handed into court this week was not good, the judge said.

Defence solicitor, Louise Gallagher said Barrett had stayed in Osterley Lodge as part of her bail conditions and she was now giving clear urine samples.

Judge Fahy said Barrett had been deemed unsuitable by the probation service for any type of residential treatment programme because of a lack of motivation to change.

“You are lucky not to be going to prison today.  You attacked a 14-year-old child.  You were with someone else and you attacked a child.

“You frightened him and you tried to rob him,” Judge Fahy said to Barrett.

Looking at Barrett’s demeanour, the judge said she didn’t think the accused was one bit grateful to be getting this chance.

Barrett assured her she was.

Judge Fahy then sentenced her to four months in prison for the assault and imposed a consecutive four-month sentence for the larceny.

A concurrent, three-month sentence was imposed for the theft of the bike which was recovered.

The judge suspended the sentences for two years on condition Barrett be of good behaviour; reside at Osterley Lodge; let the State know of any change of address within 24 hours; attend her counsellor and her medical appointments; and adhere to any programme put in place for her rehabilitation.

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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