Irish News

Friday 11 July 2014

I am very weak: Fahy

Published 11/04/2007|00:11

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A WEEK after he was due to start a 12-month prison sentence for fraud, controversial councillor Michael 'Stroke' Fahy was last night insisting he still required further medical care. He has satisfied gardai that he is to undergo a further period of respite care although the location of that care was not clear last night.

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Disgraced councillor in respite care instead of behind bars

A WEEK after he was due to start a 12-month prison sentence for fraud, controversial councillor Michael 'Stroke' Fahy was last night insisting he still required further medical care.

He has satisfied gardai that he is to undergo a further period of respite care although the location of that care was not clear last night.

Up until yesterday, he had been recovering in Galway's University College Hospital following a heart operation.

Gardai

But as gardai waited for him to be given the all-clear, the 56-year-old councillor, farmer and former insurance salesman was discharged at about 4.45pm, only to reveal that he was last night going into a respite care centre.

Gardai have a warrant for his arrest but are understood to be reluctant to act upon it until his doctors have given him a clean bill of health.

Callers to his mobile phone last night would have heard the repeated message: "The customer you are calling is not reachable at the moment, please try again later."

When contacted earlier in the day at the University hospital, Mr Fahy was reluctant to talk about his future. Before ringing off, he said only: "I'm undergoing treatment here. I'm very weak at the moment.

He then added: "There are a lot of doctors with me here so I have to go."

Fahy, who has suffered from blood pressure for the past nine years, had been due to begin a 12-month prison sentence for fraud last Tuesday.

But the day before he was due to start his sentence he was admitted to hospital and underwent a cardiac operation .

He had been due to present himself at Loughrea Garda Station on Tuesday but was rushed to hospital on Monday night after complaining of chest pains.

Gardai are likely to wait until he presents himself rather than seeking him out while he is still under medical supervision.

The Ardrahan-based public representative - the longest-serving member of Galway County Council - has appealed his conviction and sentence to the Court of Criminal Appeal. An application to grant him bail while awaiting his appeal was rejected last week.

Cllr Fahy's 96-year-old mother, Mae, with whom he lives,had also been receiving respite care, in her case at Merlin Park Hospital in Galway while awaiting transfer to St Brendan's Hospital in Loughrea.

Patricia McDonagh

'Stroke' may be struck off in row over honorary role

MICHAEL 'Stroke' Fahy has until today to resign or be sacked by Tanaiste Michael McDowell from his role as a Peace Commissioner.

The disgraced Galway County Councillor is engaged in a stand-off with the Department of Justice over the honorary position. Peace Commissioners have the power to take statutory declarations, witness signatures on official documents and sign certificates.

Appointees have to be of 'good character' and people convicted of serious offences are considered to be unsuitable.

Peace Commissioners are directly appointed by the Minister for Justice, so it falls to Mr McDowell to also remove them.

Gardai have been told not to use Mr Fahy's services as a Peace Commissioner since his conviction for misappropriation of council funds and attempted theft.

Mr Fahy was sentenced to 12 months in jail and fined ?75,000 for theft and fraud offences.

After he was convicted on March 6, department officials wrote to him a week later on March 13 telling him he could "resign as an alternative to being removed from office".

"The officials have not heard from him yet but gardai have been told not to use his services.

"He's got 28 days to respond to that letter, then he'll be removed," a spokesperson said. As Mr Fahy would have received the letter on March 14, the 28 days run out today.

Mr Fahy was first appointed as a Peace Commissioner in 1978 by then Justice Minister Gerry Collins and was reappointed by every successive minister.

Peace Commissioners don't receive any money and today have a fairly limited role.

In the past, gardai availed of their services to sign warrants, but a court case put an end to that practice.

The convicted councillor also used to be a member of the Visiting Committee for Limerick Prison until his term ran out in September 2004. He was not reappointed at that stage by the Justice Minister.

When Mr Fahy resigned from Fianna Fail three years ago, pending the outcome of the garda investigation into his fraud, the department asked him to indicate his intentions on the Peace Commissioner role.

"In response he said he didn't wish to prejudice his position in relation to the charges, and the garda investigation being set down," the spokesperson said.

FIONNAN SHEAHAN

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