"I'll be home for Christmas" - great news for Ballinasloe couple as Kleber arrives back in Ireland in time for Christmas
Kleber Medeiros arrived into Dublin airport on Tuesday night at the end of a two-day journey from Brazil, to his overjoyed wife, Harriet Bruce.
The Ballinasloe couple had been parted in July when Kleber was deported, following an allegation that their wedding had been a so-called marriage of convenience.
The HSE agreed days after he had been deported that their marriage was genuine. The couple hugged, kissed and held each other’s faces, between laughs and tears. Kleber said he had had “no problem” getting through immigration, that he was “very, very tired” but “very, very happy to be back with my wife”.
Ms Bruce campaigned since July to have Kleber returned, lobbying TDs, Senators and through the print, broadcast and social media, arguing her husband had been deported in error and that their Constitutional rights to family and privacy had been infringed.
The couple had married on December 10th, 2015, in St Michael’s Catholic Church in Ballinasloe. An objection had been lodged with the HSE alleging their wedding was marriage of convenience.
However, given that they had been a couple for several years and had a house together, and that he was working full time, they believed the objection would not be upheld and they proceeded with the religious ceremony.
Mr Medeiros was, however, deported in early July. On July 22nd a letter from the HSE arrived at the couple’s home, telling them the investigation into the objection to their marriage had been completed, there was “not sufficient evidence to uphold the objection . . . and no impediment to the marriage exists”.
The case was reported first in The Irish Times in October, following which the campaign gathered momentum.
In November Ms Bruce travelled to Dublin to meet Oireachtas members. She also provided evidence that his job as a specialist meat deboner remained open. On December 12th she received the news that the deportation order had been rescinded and he would be permitted to work.
She was “excited and over the moon” to have him back, she said on Tuesday night.
“It was a long road. I didn’t know if it was going to happen this quick. We had a lot of people contacting us with our campaign who had been going through the same situation as us for a number of years.”
However the couple had “a lot of good people” supporting them, including Senators Maura Hopkins (Fine Gael) and Trevor Ó Clochartaigh (Sinn Féin), and “we weren’t going to stop until we got justice,” she said.
Mr Medeiros said the journey, from Sao Paolo to Amsterdam and onto Dublin “was very hard. It was two days for the flights.
“Now is OK. I go home. Yes, now she wreck my head all the time,” he said pulling her to him and laughing.
He said: “All my life is here. [When I was deported] I go straight to Brazil. It was very difficult. I was crying. Life change very quick.”
He was in contact with her from Brazil “every day with Facebook messenger. She help me so much, a lot. I say thank you everybody for helping me, for support, it was very, very important.”
Asked what he was looking forward to, he said: “I think to get time with my wife [and]my dogs, Simba and Bu.”
Ms Bruce said she was looking forward to a new year. “We can start rebuilding our lives and look forward to 2017. The nightmare is over.”
It's Ballinasloe Town AFC Christmas party time!
It's on 22nd December from 6-9pm.
There will be food for every child, a disco after and a visit from Santa with a gift for each child. Spot prizes on the night and also a raffle. It will be €7 per child and tickets can be gotten from any underage manager. Every child is welcome even if they aren't part of the club but they must purchase tickets beforehand.
Ballinasloe Cycling Club and Ballinasloe Road Runners are joining forces to organise a special local event over Christmas! "Heels and Wheels" is a fun Duathlon which is open to runners and cyclists of all levels.
This unique event will take place on 29th December 2016 from Millar's Pub. Have a look at the poster below for more details.
Walking: Ballinasloe Road Runners - contact Brendan on 086 8367375
Cycling: Ballinasloe Cycling Club - contact Rochelle on 087 9054413
And remember..each team MUST have a Christmas theme - so be creative!
Beechlawn Organic Farm is one of Ireland’s leading organic vegetable farms. Located in Poolboy, Beechlawn produces over 20 different vegetable crops. It is run by local man, Padraig Fahy and his wife, Una. They met when they were both students at the Agriculture College in Dromcolliher, Co. Limerick and have now been in business for 14 years.
They now have 14 members of staff between those who work full-time and part-time with over half of them being from the local area. “The top three crops that we grow would be kale, beetroot and leeks. After that then we grow about two acres of broccoli, cauliflower, celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, chard and Brussels sprouts”, said Padraig.
Recently, the Farm got their Bord Bia accreditation. “We’re the third organic vegetable grower in the country to have Bord Bia accreditation so that’s good and it’ll give us the opportunity to start supplying Tesco nationwide as well”, he continued. Beechlawn supply Supervalu’s nationwide for their supermarket brand but also produce their own brand through direct relationships with between 30 and 40 stores in Galway, Clare and Dublin.
In the last month, the business has taken a new direction. They have begun exporting kale to Dubai. Mr Fahy stated that there were a lot of hurdles to overcome to get to this stage – health checks, checking the quality of the kale and each week a new exporting license has to be signed off. The kale is produced locally at the farm and is distributed on behalf of Beechlawn by a distribution company in Dublin.
Organic vegetables are grown without chemicals and fertilisers and other nasty pesticides. There is a much higher density of vitamins and minerals that your body needs in organic vegetables than in inorganic vegetables. “A lot of people when they buy from us it is the taste that hits them and they come back for the taste and also the variety of produce that they can get”, added Padraig. The organic vegetables soak up all the goodness in the soil, all the nutrients that your body needs. They also grow two unique types of vegetables which are very hard to get in Ireland – Romanesco cauliflower and flower sprouts.
When asked about doing business in Ballinasloe, Padraig believes that it is a great area for it. “It’s strategically located. In terms of access in and out, the road networks are great”, he said. With the M6 motorway so close, it makes commuting to and from the town much easier. He stated that in order for others to believe in your business, you first have to believe in your own ability to provide a service or a product to them.
Their website is due to be relaunched in the coming weeks where consumers will be able to find offers in the run up to Christmas.
The plans for the coming year for the farm is to expand the packing house, the polytunnel area and the storage facilities. “We want to be the best known organic farm for vegetables in the next three years. We’ve a great team of staff who are going to help us get there”, Padraig said enthuastically.
For further information, you can contact the farm office on (090) 964 6713 or at www.beechlawnfarm.org.
By Colm Croffy, Editor Ballinasloe Life Magazine
50 years ago practically anyone that was an employee could only buy goods: cars, ovens, T.V.s – even bicycles on the “never, never" hire purchase – where you paid a deposit on the item to the shopkeeper and they paid off the price of the item plus interest at a minimum of 35%.
To borrow from a high street bank was a near impossibility for roof repairs, extensions or a couple buying a house or a car. There was a Society in town during this time called the Patrician Society, that involved fortnightly meetings and speakers. Dermot Connolly gave a presentation on a new movement sweeping the cities to help ordinary families and workers get access to modest credit – “The Credit Union Movement".
According to Liam Kelly, a Church Street native – he “only read about it in the Evening Herald the week before but a group of us, the following week were out trying to renovate the surrounds of the Creagh Church – under Fr. Dunne’s supervision when he asked would a Credit Union not be a good idea for the parish?”
Liam has dedicated all of his adult life to the Credit Union Movement. He was the founding Secretary and remained Secretary of our local Ballinasloe Credit Union for 27 years and then served as Chairperson for a further 10 years. The retired Psychiatric Nurse has been synonymous with the local Chapter, which this year’s AGM will announce its Jubilee year of 50 seasons.
The sprightly Octogenarian is in fine fettle by his own fireside, recalling with pristine precision, dates, names, meetings, purchases, log books and meetings while his wife Mary cajoles from her kitchen “sometimes there was more Credit Union meetings in that front room out there – than we had hot dinners in here” – she laughs.
The first Committee meeting to set up the Branch took place in Creagh National School, Liam remembers some of the early pioneers; Jim Reynolds, the Ag Officer from Birchgrove, Danny Flynn an ESB Official, Gus Hynes a nurse, Paddy Counihan a carpenter in the Hospital, Pat Boland – a clerical officer with the P&T to name a few.
“We had to collect 5 shillings each to buy the Book from the foundress of the Movement In Ireland Norah Heherily who set up the first banch in Donore in 1955 - to buy the founding book and register your interest cost a an old pound and we damn near struggled to collect it“, jokes Liam.
After that they set about establishing the Branch with a public meeting in the Parochial Hall with some 30 persons in attendance. They gave the project their backing and 3 men from St. Anthony’s Credit Union in the Claddagh came to Liam’s house one evening to assist with the formal naming and founding of the Credit Union in 1967 .
“We were motivated by the fact that we were all young working men with young families and needs for extensions, cars, renovations and no means of getting reasonable credit, when I started nursing in 1950 there were 870 staff, 17 Doctors, and 2,000 patients in St. Bridgids – 60% might have had a post office account but very few had a bank account and no one had access to credit in the 50s and 60s on reasonable terms”, states Liam .
The branch operated originally from the back room of the Town Hall on Sundays noon to 3.00 p.m where members could save. Then they did a deal with the late Mrs Anne Divilly of Dunlo St. who ran the Don Bosco Boys Club in the Emerald . The Credit Union paid half the rent for the Boys Club and opened the branch on Tue nights for the Committee to do the accounts and then on Fridays 7 to 9.p.m in the late 60s – Friday evening was pay day and over 80% of workers were paid cash in envelopes.
The first loan ever given out was for a £30 large commercial fridge purchase for a new storeowner and by the end of their first 12 months of trading they had achieved a surplus of £5. Part of the strict oversight by the League meant that the books had to be audited by Jim Keane and Liam had to drive them to Galway.
Membership has grown steadily from 10,000 in 1970, 12,000 in 1980, 14,000 in 1990 , 16,000 in 2000, 18,000 in 2010 to over 20,000 today.
They bought Elders (where Caroline’s Hair Salon is now) on Main St. with a loan from the League in 1975 for approx. £1,500 but sold it again when it proved unsuitable and bought a larger premises – Cartys House on River St. for £4,500 in 1976 with the Forestry Service taking a long lease on the top floor to pay the mortgage on the building.
They bought Jack Crosbies on Main Street for £150,000 in 1994 and after gutting and rebuilding, a modern Financial Co–operative premises opened their doors in 1996.
Maureen Grenham was the first employee in the late 70s as their Clerk/Teller with committee members having to do the counter and book work. Their first Administrator was engaged in 1995 – who left his pensionable position with the P& T to rise to the rank of General Manager today.
From the £5 first surplus of 1968 the Branch enjoys savings of €80 million plus and has a loan book of over €37 million and a staff of 16. “Mr. Frank Will, the Manager of AT Cross in 1971 proved to be the best recruiting sergeant we ever had as he agreed that savings deductions could be made from employees pay packets direct – we never looked back after that“, remarked Liam.
Liam’s work for the movement saw him serve on International Missions, be an advisor to the Minister for Finance, serve on the Irish League and helped form Banagher, Portumna, Mountbellew, Moyllough and Ballygar branches.
He is particularly proud of his involvement in getting the National Special Savings Protection Scheme Govt backed for all members.“We needed some support from the Central Bank and Government but what they have been doing to us since the crash is nearly killing the movement; we never gave loans to developers – we never supported speculation but we are being punished for those sins “,states Liam.
“We were also the second ever in the country, after Tallow - to create a Social Economy Fund from the Members dividends; to invest in a variety of Social Enterprise projects – to boost employment – we pumped over €150,000 into the St. Enda’s Enterprise project and it has sustained some 25 businesses in our common bond and helped formed the BACD – which has been positive for the town in the recession”.
“We are a members orientated organisation our ethos is to help each other not anything else" – Liam Kelly
When asked; for him what made us escape the ravages of Credit Union melt down that has affected some?, he grabs both sides of the chair and resolutely declares “the honesty and integrity of our members has kept us out of all that sort of bother, we are a members orientated organisation - our ethos is to help each other not anything else – our Board and Committee members are not State appointed they are elected by us all to act in our common good. We had over 1,000 members in AT Cross and Square D – they all lost their jobs horribly but every cent borrowed was fully paid back!"
He and his wife Mary are looking forward to the year of celebrations for the Branch in 2017.
Ballinasloe Credit Union will be celebrating their Golden Jubilee in 2017 and can be found on Main Street and online - click here to visit them or follow them on facebook:
Huge congratulations to local author, Nuala O Connor, who has been longlisted for the €100k Dublin Literary Award for her novel, Miss Emily - Fantastic achievement!
What the critics are saying:
"...Irish writer Nuala O’Connor breathes new life into reclusive poet Emily Dickinson in her mesmerizing U.S. debut. Like one of Dickinson’s poems, the deceptively simple narrative packs a powerful punch..."
Margaret Flanagan in Booklist
"Miss Emily is a triumph of a novel, creating an utterly human and believable Emily Dickinson through the eyes of an enchanting and complex fictional Irish woman. Their story is smart and witty and harrowing and brilliantly revelatory of the interplay of life and inspiration in a nascent great artist. And all this is done in prose that has the same condensed, particularizing power of Dickinson’s poetry. Nuala O’Connor has long been one of my favorite contemporary Irish writers. She will certainly find an ardently admiring American audience with this extraordinary novel."
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler
"Miss presents its reader with a version of Emily Dickinson for the twenty-first century: an intensely private and reclusive woman who was as determined to live according to her own idiosyncratic rules, as she was to engage on her own terms with the world outside her Amherst home. In the spirit of her beloved Elizabeth Barrett Browning and George Eliot, this fictionalised Dickinson crosses class, national, and religious lines to reach out to her Irish maid Ada with compassion, empathy, and humanity. In eloquent prose, O'Connor has depicted a life-changing encounter between two very different women that celebrates their complexity, passion, and strength."
Páraic Finnerty, author of Emily Dickinson’s Shakespeare
"This beautifully-crafted biographical novel vividly evokes Emily Dickinson and her world: her obsessive solitude, her sensual relationship with her sister-in-law, her conflicted relationship with her brother, and, most central, her companionable friendship with Ada, a spunky and superstitious Irish maid. Alternating between the stories of Emily and Ada, the novel brims with the charming details of their domestic life, the unfolding of a sweet romance, yet also, ultimately, brings to light the tragic effects of a violent reality that most often goes unmentioned, even today. This is an intensely engaging, emotional and important story, exquisitely rendered. Brilliant!"
Sandra Gulland, author of the internationally bestselling Josephine B. Trilogy
"I read this wonderful novel in a gulp. Nuala O’Connor is a gifted storyteller with a poet’s eye for detail. We are offered a tantalizing glimpse into the private life of one of America’s greatest poets, but for me, the real triumph is the character of Ada, Emily’s young Irish maid. It’s Ada who is the heart of this novel. She’s as beautifully realized as the gingerbread she so meticulously bakes with Emily. I can’t wait to read what O’Connor writes next."
Natasha Solomons, New York Times bestselling author of The House at Tyneford
"Like a Dickinson poem, Miss Emily seems at first a simple story of friendship, but gradually reveals itself as a profound meditation on the human condition. O’Connor accomplishes this unfolding, just as Dickinson did, with her exquisite use of language. I lost myself in the beautiful detail of 1860s Amherst, a cast of characters that leapt off the page with life, and the constant reminder that words, properly wielded, can transcend time, transmit love, and, above all, inspire hope."
Charlie Lovett, New York Times bestselling author of The Bookman’s Tale
"Miss Emily is an intricate, intimate novel that, in its careful attention to language, pays homage to our most American poet's extraordinary work. There are references to that work, rewards to true Dickinson aficionados, secreted in O'Connor's prose, but this novel achieves a broader aim too: it tells a story of friendship that keeps us turning the pages."
Kelly O'Connor McNees, author of The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott and The Island of Doves
"Secrets will always out. In the same way as Emily Dickinson’s poems were once the best kept secret in Massachusetts, Nuala O’Connor’s luminous prose has long been one of Ireland’s most treasured literary secrets. Now through her superb evocation of 19th century Amherst, an international audience is likely to be held rapt by the sparse lyricism and exactitude of O’Connor’s writing. Through a fusion of historical ventriloquism and imaginative dexterity, O’Connor vividly conjures up – in the real-life Emily Dickinson and the fictional Ada Concannon – two equally unforgettable characters who pulsate with life in this study of the slowly blossoming friendship between a delicate literary recluse and a young Irish emigrant eager to embrace the new world around her."
Dermot Bolger playwright and author of The Journey Home
"A superb novel, I was captivated from the first page. With gorgeous, compelling period detail and graceful prose, Nuala O’Connor reimagines a friendship between one of our greatest poets and her Irish maid. With uncanny insight into the expected portrayal of a servant-mistress relationship, and in keeping with the power and beauty of Dickinson’s poetry, O’Connor celebrates her women with great delicacy and exuberance."
Kathleen Grissom, bestselling author of The Kitchen House
"Beautifully written and utterly compelling, this vivid portrait of Emily Dickinson examines her humanity, complexity and profound relationship with words. Told in her own eloquent voice and that of her trusted maid, Miss Emily deftly braids together the stories of two intriguing women in this highly accomplished novel."
Cathy Marie Buchanan, New York Times bestselling author of The Painted Girls
"Nuala O'Connor's Miss Emily is evocative, thought-provoking, and beautifully rendered; a poignant portrait of two very different women, drawn together in unlikely friendship by a common strength of spirit and mind. Readers will delight in this richly imagined glimpse into the worlds--both inner and outer--of the immortal Emily Dickinson. I wanted to race through the novel, and yet, the language was so delicious and exciting that I forced myself to slow down, just enough to savor each sentence."
Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of The Traitor’s Wife and The Accidental Empress
"A jewel of a novel, Miss Emily by Nuala O'Connor is a fascinating, heartfelt, and captivating glimpse into the mind and heart of Emily Dickinson, one of America’s most beloved poets, interwoven with the story of her spirited, witty, and devoted Irish maid, Ada. With its luminous prose and sympathetic, realistically drawn characters, you will feel yourself irresistibly drawn into Emily’s and Ada’s private worlds with every turn of the page."
Syrie James, author of Jane Austen’s First Love and The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen
"An original portrayal of Emily Dickinson seen here not just as a lover of words, but as a heroine and friend to a plucky Irish maid who casts a new and sympathetic light on the Belle of Amherst."
Sheila Kohler, author of Becoming Jane Eyre
"Nuala O'Connor casts a keen, compassionate eye below the veneer of domesticity to illuminate the passion, pain, and life force behind the poetry of Emily Dickinson. Quietly elegant and moving, poignantly humane, MISS EMILY is a rare gift."
Ania Szado, author of Studio Saint-Ex
So that's it! Marathon no: 52 of 52 Marathons in 52 Weeks in aid of Breast Cancer Ireland done in my home town of Ballinasloe Co Galway. What can I say it was a fantastic day - the support and energy and positivity around the course was unbelievable thanks to everyone the took part to make it a day I will never forget. From the marshals, civil defence, ballinasloe cycle club and everyone that helped out on the day thank you Gullanes Hotel for giving us a base and tea and sandwiches and Marathon Club Ireland for hosting the event.
After his sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, one man set out to boost awareness of the disease – by running 52 marathons in a year. Aiden Sheridan, from Ballinasloe in Co Galway, embarked on the gruelling task to show support for his sibling Jennifer and raise funds for Breast Cancer Ireland.
Speaking to the Irish Sunday Mirror, the 38-year-old said, like most men, he found it hard to discuss the subject with his sister when she got the news last year. Instead he decided to show how much he cared for her by taking to the roads of Ireland. He said: “My sister Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer in the middle of last year.
“Most men don’t know how to talk about boobs and breast cancer.
“I have five sisters who are all able to chat away with her about it but I felt uncomfortable talking about it.
“I was a bit shy that way so I decided to show my support in another way.
“When she was diagnosed everybody was in shock, it was so out of the blue.
“Nobody in the family had ever had
it plus she was the youngest of the five sisters too.”
Aiden, who has already completed 44 marathons so far, said the toughest part of the challenge to date has been the early morning starts to get to the races.
He added: “I came up with the idea last December to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks.
“I only started running in 2012 and had never done anything like this before.
“The early mornings is a killer. It’s not running the actual marathons but getting up at 3am to drive to most of them.
“I’m currently on 44 marathons and hope to complete the 52 on November 5 in Ballinasloe which is being organised by Marathon Club Ireland.
“Jennifer thought I was mad. She’s very happy I’m doing it. She has never ran so she thought I was taking on the task.
“Jennifer finished her treatment in March and everything is looking great
And Aiden said he is hoping to raise €5,250.
He added: “I would obviously love to raise as much money as I can.
“I’m currently at just under €5,000. It’s for such a great cause that I would love to get more than my target.”
Anyone who is interested in supporting Aiden and donating to the cause can do so at www.mycharity.ie/event/52marathonsin52weeks
BRENDAN SHINE & BAND
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