DISGRACED Galway councillor Michael 'Stroke' Fahy was behind bars last night.
The 56-year-old former insurance salesman, who is the longest serving member of Galway County Council, was beginning a 12-month stretch for misappropriating Council funds - almost three weeks late.
Cllr Fahy had been convicted on all seven counts, including fraud and attempted theft, by a jury at Galway Circuit Criminal Court last month. Judge Raymond Groarke fined him ?75,000 as well as imposing the 12-month prison sentence.
Following a plea by his legal team, Judge Groarke had agreed to defer serving the committal warrant until April 3 to allow Cllr Fahy time to put his private affairs in order. Cllr Fahy is an only son and the sole carer of his 96-year-old mother at their home in Ardrahan.
But on the evening of April 2, Cllr Fahy was rushed to hospital suffering from blood pressure difficulties. He was anointed by a local priest and later underwent a cardiac procedure at University College Hospital in Galway.
On April 11, he was transferred for convalescent care to a nursing home in Clarenbridge where he was later joined as a patient by his elderly mother. It was understood that he was due to be discharged from the nursing home tomorrow.
But at about 4pm yesterday, two gardai from Loughrea station arrived at the nursing home and executed the warrant.
They took Cllr Fahy by car to Castlerea Prison.
Last night he was settling into his new surroundings and it is thought that he may well be transferred to an open prison at some date in the near future.
He will be entitled to 25pc remission of his sentence for good behaviour and may also qualify for a further six weeks remission if he is sent to an open prison. In all, he could be out of prison before the end of the year.
Cllr Fahy has already lodged an appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal against both his conviction and sentence.
The court turned down a bail application by Cllr Fahy in a hearing on March 30.
At his sentencing hearing last month, the court heard that Cllr Fahy did not intend to resign his seat on Galway Co Council. Being a councillor was very important to him, his barrister said.
It is expected that Cllr Fahy will attempt to carry out whatever duties he can from his prison cell.
Meanwhile, Galway Co Council has declined to move against him, pending the outcome of his sentence appeal.