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Victim tells court he has been left in very dark place



A 24-year-old man who ambushed another man as he exited a city nightclub has been given time to pay €1500 compensation before a suspended sentence is imposed.

Brian Keane, from Ballinamanagh East, Maree, Oranmore, pleaded guilty at Galway District Court to assaulting Gabriel Corless at Williamsgate Street, on June 21 last year.

Sergeant Vincent Jennings gave evidence there had been words between the pair in the night-club but Mr Corless had walked away from Keane and informed a bouncer about the incident.

He said the victim was assaulted and knocked to the ground by the accused near the top of an alleyway seconds after leaving the nightclub later that night.

Defence solicitor, Brian Gilmartin said his client had been waiting for his girlfriend and not the victim.  He was now very sorry for assaulting Mr Corless.

Mr Corless, a father of three, told Judge Mary Fahy that Keane had tried to provoke him in the nightclub but he walked away and went to a bouncer to tell him what was happening.

The bouncer, he said, then escorted Keane out of the night-club.

“When I left, he was waiting for me.  I never got a chance to put my hand up or to defend myself.

“His uncle has issues with me, but I don’t know him.  I don’t know what this young man’s problem is with me,” Mr Corless said.

Having read a medical report which was handed into court by Inspector Derek Gannon, Judge Fahy said the victim had been knocked to the ground but he had not lost consciousness.  However, he did suffer from headaches.

She asked the victim if he had made a good recovery.

“Physically, yes, but I’m attending for counselling.  I’ve had depression since and have been left in a very dark place,” Mr Corless explained.

Judge Fahy told him he had dealt properly with the incident in the night-club by going to the bouncer.

“He was waiting for this man.  He was jumped on and it has left him with psychological issues,” Judge Fahy added.

Mr Gilmartin disagreed and said again that his client had been waiting for his girlfriend.

The judge told him the victim had been jumped on and there was nothing to alert him to this and because of that he had been left with psychological difficulties since.

Mr Corless said he was a father of three and worked as a facilities engineer in a local factory.  He had to take two weeks off work at the time.

In reply to Judge Fahy, he said he would be willing to accept compensation from the accused.

A solicitor then made himself known to the court and said he was representing Mr Corless from a civil proceedings point of view.

Noting the assault took place over a year ago and that the case had been in for hearing this week, Judge Fahy said the accused could have dealt with things a bit better.

Mr Gilmartin said his client was an apprentice plumber and had brought €500 to court for the victim as a token of his remorse.

Judge Fahy directed the money be handed over to Mr Corless and she adjourned the matter to September for the payment of another €1,000.

She said that after that the victim could take a civil case against the accused if he so wished.

The judge indicated that if the balance of the €1,500 was paid by September she would impose a suspended sentence on the accused.

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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