By Patrick Markey
Love took a nasty turn recently when two Tuam traveler families became embroiled in an argument over a failed interfamily romance, and two young women fought an prearranged punch-up to settle the dispute.
According to the Connacht Tribune, one woman, Ann Ward, had been involved with a man from the other family, Patrick Sweeney, but broke off the relationship to be with another man. Tensions between the two families simmered on, however, and the romantic breakup was followed by a series of clashes in which baseball bats, knives, screwdrivers and other weapons were used, a Tuam court heard.
After several rows, the fight came to a head last September when two girls from the families fought an arranged brawl which went on for 10 to 15 minutes, the court heard as part of a case involving 20 defendants.
Linda Ward told the court she went after Sharon Sweeney once but was refused the fight. Later, she said, she was approached by Pa Ward, who took her to her sister’s house, where a large number of Sweeneys and Wards were waiting. Then the battle began.
“Myself and Sharon grabbed each other’s hair and we tore heads and boxed. It went on for 10 or 15 minutes,” Linda Ward said.
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Pa “Bandy” Ward, who had organized the fight, also acted as referee, she said. It was not clear who won the fight.
Sligo teen wins suit
A Sligo teenager severely injured during her birth was awarded _1.1 million and another agreed sum for costs after she settled her suit against North Western Health Board, the Irish Independent reported recently.
Aideen Henry was born in Sligo Hospital in 1983 and now lives with her parent in Birmingham. She sued the hospital through her mother, claiming that the board was responsible for the hospital’s failure to provide skilled professional assistance in treating her respiratory problems.
The girl’s mother claimed that just before the birth, she was given pethidine, which resulted in severe suppression of her daughter’s respiratory movement. The young girl suffers from cerebral palsy and has great difficulty maintaining body posture. She could not speak properly, the paper reported.
Attorney for the family, Liam McKechnie said that if the teen had received proper medical attention at birth she would not be suffering as she is now.
The suit was due to go back to High Court but the settlement was reached after protracted two day negotiation between the two legal teams.
Cork senior jailed for abuse
A 77-year-old Cork man was jailed for seven years last week after he admitted sexually abusing his four daughters from 1955 to 1970 in what authorities called a ritualistic manner, the Irish Times reported recently.
The man, whose name was not released, apologized for his crimes before being handed the seven-year sentence. He had been found guilty of 21 charges of rape and indecent assault on his daughters.
The victims, who are all aged 41 to 53 now, came forward after their mother died in 1997.
“I don’t give a tuppence half-penny if he drops dead tomorrow. If he is hung by the legs till his last days, it will not be enough,” said one 48-year-old daughter, who was abused hundreds of times.
The court heard that the man, a former teacher, would send his daughters to confession after the acts to confess their “sins” and would question them on their return to find out the priest’s reaction. Priests had tried to persuade the girls to go for help and tell someone outside the confessional, but the man warned them that their mother would die if they told about what happened.
The abuse would go on weekly, the court heard, and the man would often stop when one of the girl’s reached puberty for fear of making her pregnant.
UK to Galway link takes off
A Roscommon-born entrepreneur has started up a direct flight between Galway and Manchester in the UK.
Tim Kilroe will operate the service seven days a week using an 18- seat plane, the Connacht Tribune reported. With a flight time of just one hour and 15 minutes, Kilroe said he hopes Galway’s up-and-coming status will benefit the new passenger service. A round-trip ticket starts at _129. The inaugural flight was launched by former Manchester United and Republic of Ireland football star Kevin Moran.
Ryanair used to run the only service between Galway and the UK, but their service was withdrawn to Stanstead Airport in London in 1992. Kilroe hopes to tap into business links between the two areas, strong immigrant travel and, to a certain extent, football supporters traveling to matches overseas.