Ballinasloe in 1920 saw many people still paying ground rent to the Clancarty Estate heirs, which continued right up to the 60’s. The large majority of employers of commercial establishments were either owned or run by Protestants or Presbyterians, whose main purpose was to support the Local Landlords and the remaining Anglo-Irish Settlers. With World War 1 just over, people were looking with optimism to the future. A Longford family had purchased a huge shop in Society Street from Moffet Reynolds and Moffet. It was one of a chain of stores bought by Charles and Catherine Cullen, who put their eldest son, James. L. (Jim) Cullen in charge of the Ballinasloe outfit. The three-and-half storey building which specialised in drapery and footwear, was gradually becoming a significant employer in the town and attracting business from a wide area. The top level which where the “live-in” staff resided could accommodate up to twelve people. Some of the original staff included the late Annie Egan, Nellie Jenkins, Annie Doran, Paul Kelly and Joe McGuinness, among others.
Later, another premises was purchased by the Cullens in Main Street, which specialised in ladies’ and gent’s footwear. This was sold in the mid-eighties while the Society Street premises went under the hammer a few years later. Jim Cullen quickly endeared himself to the local people. His parents had committed to providing credit and small loans to the less well off members of the community. They later engaged with some of the more prosperous members of the community, to come up with a solution that would provide work and good wages for the people of the town. According to Jim Cullen’s youngest son, Leo, “in September 1928, the town fathers and the Cullen family began a series of informal talks with regards the possibilities of setting up an industry or business that would create good paying jobs. These talks lasted about six years before the official committee (The Chamber of Commerce), settled on a proposal to look into the possibility of establishing a Shoe Factory.
Early in 1934, just as things were falling into place, the investors announced they were reconsidering the project. They thought that the best thing to do was leave it for another day. “The Cullens were committed to the project, so it was decided at committee level, to allow them continue and raise the necessary capital. At that stage, no one realised how committed the Cullens were, as there were many hurdles to overcome” added Leo. Charles Cullen, Jim Cullen’s father, had many contacts in both Ireland and England, where he had been doing business for many years. With the addition of his new outlet in Ballinasloe, the Cullens now had a network of six premises within a 40 mile radius of Athlone. Charles used his contacts to achieve the impossible. “With the help of John Rawson of Rawson Shoes, Dundalk, the necessary equipment was purchased.
His support to the venture was the most important commitment to the establishment of Dubarry. He sought out experts in the shoe trade in England, such as Bert Boswell and Albert Headd, and more skilled leather workers, to join them in Ballinasloe. Bert Boswell’s contribution to Dubarry is the unsung story of the company’s success. In those early years and very difficult times, his attention and commitment to detail, and the passing on the knowledge of the business can never be truly appreciated. “In 1927, my grandparents consolidated their investments into a trust for the benefit of their children. My father was the Executor of the trust and it was from this source that the money came for the initial investment and support for Dubarry. My father continued to give support to the shoe company down through the years, a promise he made to his mother on the day of the incorporation of Dubarry, which she said was ‘her proudest moment’ stated Leo.
Dubarry Shoe Factory was founded in 1936 but did not go into full production until 1938. The initial two years were spent installing machinery, training personnel and restructuring the Old Workhouse on Station Road. It was to become the town’s biggest employer where entire families became synonymous in the workforce. So many school-leavers got employment there-many of whom remained there until their retirement. It proved a huge boost to the town’s economy and was quickly making its name nationwide. Leo Cullen recalls “Some years later, Mr. Rawson recommended Mr. Jim Scott as Managing Director and the Englishman, with his family, moved to Ballinasloe. The following twenty five years proved to be tough going for the firm. Several times the Cullen Trust were called on to help out. Then in the 50’s, Norvic Shoes became shareholders and agents for Dubarry, in Ireland and England. “At this time, the Cullen Trust was the majority shareholder, Norvic Shoes held 20% and Mr. Jim Scott held the remaining shares. Jim Cullen was chairman of Dubarry Shoes, from its inception, right up to his death in 1982. Jim Scott served as joint Chairman and Managing Director from January1983 up to the time the Cullen and Scott families agreed to a buyout. Ironically, Bert Boswell’s son Philip, and Eamonn Fagan, were involved in the management buy-out of the Company, nearly fifty years after Philip’s father came from Northampton to help launch the factory.”
The new management continued to operate in Sarsfield Road before moving to a purpose-built premises on the Athlone Road, in 1988. However, production ceased there in 2004 but the designing, engineering, marketing and sales still operate from there. Staff numbers were reduced considerably but the name Dubarry still remains one of the town’s flagships. Jim Cullen, as he was affectionately known, was 24 years of age when he came to Ballinasloe to manage the Society Street outlet. He purchased a home in Mountpleasant in 1934, married local girl, Anne Kelly, and had a family of seven. He became a member of Ballinasloe Urban District Council for over twenty years and fought consistently to see a local person elected a TD “to fight at the Government table for more for Ballinasloe.”
In 1977, Mr. Cullen predicted “Because of the lack of political savvy on behalf of both major parties and the people of the Postal District of Ballinasloe, the town will pay a huge price for not having a local resident TD. Ballinasloe will slip back to rural obscurity and become a bedroom community, serving Athlone and to a lesser extent Galway; while Athlone would become the next Boomtown.” Not far off the mark! Leo Cullen is the youngest member of Jim and Anne. He was involved in both the Society Street and Main Street operations before emigrating to California in 1983.
By Liam Cosgrove
Marina’s Catering has been in operation for the past 9 years and was until recently run in conjunction with Downey’s Bar, Society St. Moving ahead, Marina is going to expand and develop the catering element of the business. With many years of expertise behind them, they offer customers the best quality locally sourced produce prepared by their skilled team and delivered to your venue in a highly professional manner. “We take pride in the amount of repeat business that we get so people must be happy with our service. Whether you are catering for a small party at home or a larger function at another venue we can do the job. We will help you decide what food etc. will be best suited to your occasion and your budget” explains Marina.
They supply plates and cutlery and can also supply tressel tables. The equipment is electric so there is no chance of food being cold and the bain-maries keep food in good condition for up to 3 or 4 hours-so if anybody likes second helpings it’s there. They deliver to your venue and collect the equipment the next day or earlier if you want. A varied menu from Gourmet Sandwich Selection to Canapés to Hot Finger Food to Roasts, Curries, Lasagne, salads is on hand and they also cater for special dietary requirements that your guests may have. They lavishly catered for a wedding of 120 guests in Cloghan Castle, outside Gort, and more recently at a local wedding in the couple’s home last Christmas, so they have lots of experience.... no job is too large or too small!
The easing of restrictions has given a great boost too as so many people are having small gatherings at home with maybe an outside awning - this has kept them busy since June almost every week. Downey’s Bar will be opening up in the next few weeks under new management, so keep your eyes open for more news soon!! Marina can be contacted at email@example.com or by phone or Messenger on 087 2311385. A new Website will be launched soon.
Hailing from Poolboy, people may know her parents -Tony and Teresa Dolan. Her mother’s family, the Caulfields, were also from Poolboy. Aisling Dolan grew up helping out on the farm both in Poolboy and in Ballydangan in Moore with her Dad and three brothers Brian, Darragh and David. Along with both parents working on a suckler herd farm, Tony worked in the former “Ducks” pub, which is now Venezia restaurant and Teresa, a retired nurse, also worked in Square D and the ESB. Aisling worked for over a decade with Enterprise Ireland and then Science Foundation Ireland. She joined the team at NUIG four years ago as a project manager, where she worked with researchers on funding applications. Her latest role has been with Health Innovation Hub Ireland, working with healthcare teams in public hospitals and community care to support people with ideas to improve healthcare. She also travelled and worked teaching English in Belfast, Belgium, France, Spain and Australia.
The new Senator was elected to Galway County Council in May 2019 as an independent, stood as a Fine Gael Candidate in the February Election, polling a solid 6000 first preferences and contested the Agricultural Panel for the Senate before being made one of the Taoiseach’s nominees in July of this year. “I want to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who gave me a vote on the ballot paper in all the elections. We have had three elections in less than 12 months and the vote we achieved in the General Election is thanks to the help of a phenomenal team and support across Roscommon & East Galway” stated Aisling. She believes the town is a fantastic strategic location on the M6 motorway, excellent rail and transport links, with over 14,000 in the hinterland and a highly educated workforce with third level graduates and business focused apprenticeships. “It is an ideal place for start-ups, small businesses expanding operations or SME’s looking for reasonable cost locations. The newly formed Pulse Club is a dynamic group driving people with new ideas and start-ups” explains Aisling. Her main priorities have always been Health, Investment & Environment, as a Councillor and now as a Senator. Her immediate focus will be to ensure our healthcare system is robust for the months ahead, facing the Covid-19 crisis and supporting healthcare teams. Also, to ensure businesses can get access to supports and finance to get back up and going.
Some projects she will help push to complete is the 50-bed unit at Portiuncula University Hospital. She will continue to work with BACD on Towns & Villages Accelerated Measure and Strand 2 funding for Ballinasloe and farming supports access to REPS 2 scheme, farm safety. She continues to work on many greenway projects throughout East Galway and Roscommon. She insists the Enhancement Scheme will be a progressive addition. “Absolutely! Now in 2020, we can lay claim to having the newest streets in Ireland! Dunlo Street is really looking fantastic and Society Street is due to be opened up shortly” states Aisling. “Remote Working Incentives / Co-Working Hubs, this is important as people are working from home or from a hub in Ballinasloe town instead of hours commuting to Galway, Limerick, Athlone or Dublin – it will add to overall quality of life if people stay local. Business Investment & Supports – Restart Grant, commercial rates waiver and to extend the Wage Subsidy Scheme in the July Stimulus package. Just Transition Fund – Ballinasloe is the main town for Shannonbridge which was recently impacted by job losses at Bord na Móna and ESB. This fund is crucial to offer other employment opportunities or reskilling for people and families impacted, these are all practical actions that I will help realise “, explains Aisling.
The importance of community has been made hugely relevant to everyone during this COVID pandemic - people who have offered help during ‘community call’ particularly our sports clubs, meals on wheels and Social Services. Along with everyone on the frontline – healthcare workers, Gardaí, An Post – delivering groceries and medications to our more vulnerable people to name but a few, we have to salute them all ! Aisling will be opening an office soon in Ballinasloe and in Roscommon town and will hold clinics throughout East Galway & South Roscommon. Please do contact her on 086 3690719, by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
By Liam Cosgrove
The Annual General Meeting of the not for profit Charitable Community Company BACD was held remotely via Zoom for the first time in its 21 year history. Based at the Enterprise Centre, the Company Chairperson Seamus Duffy and Manager, gave some very detailed reports to the online attendees, which comprised of members and general public as well as Deputy Denis Naughten, Senator Aisling Dolan and Cllr Michael Connolly on June 11th. Seamus in his report, outlined the numerous meetings, deputations, seminar attendances and follow ups they had with Galway County Council, IDA, Enterprise Ireland, The Just Transition Team, and Dept of Rural and Community Affairs. He thanked the Board and the staff of the Company for all their commitment and work on the various different projects. While there were disappointments a plenty good progress has been made on the different events and projects that were undertaken by the Board and the Town Team. He went through, in some detail, the Rural Regeneration Fund process, the St. Brigid’s Open Day, the Hidden Heartland Workshop, The Zombie Walk, The People of the Year Awards, The limited Xmas Lights Campaign and the Street Enhancement programme.
Company Manager Lyn Donnelly, reported how the core spine to the whole operation – the Enterprise and Technology Centre was supporting some 170 jobs and hosting 26 firms. She also detailed the statistics on the Life Magazine, which is now almost a cost neutral project but for the current year owing to the COVID two editions where no advertising money was collected – the subsidy would be significant on the books for next year. She also reviewed the work of the PULSE Club and the variety of events they programmed throughout the year. The Shop Local campaign morphing into the Shoponline.ie was also detailed. The Work of the Town Team under the new Co-ordinator Anita Killeen and the pop up clinics ran was explained. Company Auditor, James Coyle of Coyle and Co., gave a detailed presentation on the 12 months audited accounts showing income at €304,817 and expenses at €252,020 with the surplus being retained on the balance account for the next Capital investment project the board may consider.
Brian King, a Board Director, gave an overview on the plan he is co ordinating for the Company - Ballinasloe 2030 which is at preliminary draft stage and he is scoping inputs from a variety of stakeholders. The plan sees as its core the mission of the next development phase as one of Ballinasloe becoming a SMART town – becoming a hub for remote and hub type working. Following from the AGM and subsequent board meeting the BACD Board is constituted as follows: Only changes were the retirement of Paul Hargadon and co-option on the board of Eoghan Kenny Sean Kelly: (Credit Union), Dan Dowling: (Creagh Com Dev Council), Michael Connolly: (Galway County Council), Seamus Duffy: (Membership), Valerie Dolan: (Membership), Joe Lyons: (Membership), Kevin Broderick: (Membership), Pearse Keller: (Membership), Marina Downey: (Membership), Noel Madden: (Co-opted), John McKenna: (Co-opted), Ruth Sheridan Cregg: (Coopted), Brian King: (Co-opted), Anita Kileen: (Co-Opted), Eoghan Kenny: (Co-Opted).
Find out more about the Ballinasloe Enterprise Centre by clicking here.
Then new NWRA Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy provides a high-level development framework for the Northern and Western Region that supports the implementation of the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the relevant economic policies and objectives of Government. It provides a 12-year strategy and the identification of priority actions for Key Towns of which Ballinasloe is one just a handful selected. Key Towns are those regionally strategic employment centres of significant scale that can act as regional drivers that complement and support the higher-order urban areas within the settlement hierarchy Key future priorities listed include, revitalising the town centre and to reduce vacancies and support the vitality and vibrancy of these core shopping streets/side streets and the town centre.
Promoting the town’s heritage as an important Market town supporting the future delivery of a regularised outdoor market/farmer’s market at a suitable location. Promoting sustainable land use and transport solutions, whilst capitalising on the opportunity presented by the railway service and the M6 Motorway, so that sustainable travel, including walking and cycling, and integrated land use and transportation become central to the development of new neighbourhoods . Pages 124 and 125 set out the provisioning of a range of facilities, amenities and supporting services to serve the needs of the town, including educational, recreational, religious, social, community and civic requirements for children, youths, adults and older persons to serve a growing community.
Fostering economic development and employment creation by optimising the potential of the town’s strategic location and enhancing Ballinasloe as a place of employment through the provision of a positive and flexible framework for the creation of new employment opportunities is key. That report seeks to encourage and facilitate the sustainable development of the tourism potential of Ballinasloe and its environs in a manner that respects, builds on, protects and enhances the cultural, built and natural heritage of the town and the local amenities within the plan area including natural heritage and biodiversity. Sustainable walking and cycling routes and maximizing rail links are also identified. It is hoped that as well as being a strong priority signal to the Department of Rural and Community Affairs these ambitious plans will find practical milestones in the soon to be published County Development 2022 to 2028
by Liam Cosgrove
After careful thought and consideration, Tom and Mary Raftery have decided to re-open their workshop. Our little island has battled with the contagious nature of COIVD-19 over the past number of months and due to the hard work and commitment of our front-line staff, we are beginning to see some very positive results. At ‘Tom Raftery Car Sales’ they recognise that the commitment to stopping the spread of COVID-19 is a long term objective, and therefore they have made many changes to the way they operate. Their modern workshop has been providing outstanding service for over 20 years. Known for their expertise in Peugeot, Kia and Isuzu 4x4’s, they also cater for ALL vehicle makes and models. To ensure that your manufacturer’s warranty is maintained, they use original replacement parts and recommended lubricants. They then carry out all of the manufacturer’s recommended service procedures. The popular NCT check-over service provides customers with a full vehicle health check inclusive of video feedback. The parts department has just recently expanded, and they now stock a wide range of original manufacturers parts for all makes and models of vehicle, with same day delivery.
Needless to say, the health and safety of all their staff and customers is paramount when it comes to providing these services to the local community. A collection and drop off service for all customers in the local area is now offered, thus reducing the risks associated with travel. All vehicles will be thoroughly sterilised prior to and after servicing; inclusive of cabin and key sterilisation. In addition, air-con sanitisation and cabin filter replacements are available by request. Payments can be made via contactless or over the phone, reducing the need to use cash or a keypad. Although they will only operate on an appointment only basis, emergency break-down assist will be available. Opening hours are 9am-6pm Monday to Friday with Emergency services provided on Saturday mornings. Call on 0909642686 for more.details. Feel free to plan ahead for your next car purchase (new or used) on their website www.tomrafterycarsales.ie. They have a range of highly desirable 2018-2020 Peugeot 3008’s and 5008’s coming into stock over the next number of weeks so stay tuned. Trade-in quotations are available online via email or through our facebook page. “All here at ‘Tom Raftery Car Sales’ hope you stay safe, stay well and look after each other” advises Tom Raftery
After being closed for almost two months, Kilmartin’s Garage, on the Athlone Road, with the safety of their customers for their reopening, will be enforcing social distancing guidelines across the store. Customers can avail of their online booking service on www.fredkilmartinltd.ie, all you have to do is click book online tab and follow the instructions. They will also offer a collection and delivery service where their customers are unable to get to the forecourt. All vehicles have work carried out in the workshop and will have their vehicle sanitised by the Sany Car System. Sany car is the ideal device to sanitise and deodorise both the interior and whole airconditioning system of every type of vehicle: cars, campers, SUVs, minibuses, ambulances, medical cars, vans, even trucks.
Sany car is a light and easy to be carried and it is powered with electric energy through a normal socket. It’s provided with a simple and intuitive display with three pre-set working programmes, different for the duration of the treatment and the quantity of ozone to produce. Its exclusive “Safe System” allows to reconvert the residual ozone in oxygen in a safe, quick and completely automatized way. Thanks to this device, it is possible to deliver and use again the vehicle just after the end of the treatment. “When Ireland called we all answered and did what we do best, supporting our neighbours and friends in this difficult time. As we try to get used to this new norm, we have now a new place in our hearts for all front line workers from the Local grocer, Gardaí, Nurses, Doctors, Paramedics, Postal workers, all essential workers and charities along with everyone that supported the fight against this pantomimic“ states Michael Kelly, Sales Director. Please contact 090 963 0800 for appointment.
The outcome of Frank Kennedy’s Master’s research in psychotherapy will be published in The Journal of Humanistic Counselling this July. This is an American peer-reviewed publication which validates Frank’s research as a worthwhile contribution to the field of psychotherapy. His research studied the personal and professional significance for the trainee therapist of learning emotion-focused therapy. His study found that this particular method of training increased the trainee therapist’s emotional awareness of their own early life experiences, leading to greater emotional assurance in both their lives and work, and a greater authenticity in working with clients. This is a particular area of interest in Frank’s therapy practice. During the pandemic Frank is meeting clients in his consultation room in Church Hill through a perspex screen. He can also meet by Zoom or phone if clients prefer.
Visit Frank's website: www.bcap.ie
Beginnings at Botanic Gardens
Some fifty odd years ago, a Ballinasloe man who had been “pottering around” with flowers and plants at home, decided to go on a training course to the Botanic Gardens in Dublin to learn more about the outdoor environment. Martin (Marty) Tully’s first encounter with gardening was helping his grandfather Pat Tully, who’s late wife was a victim of the Spanish flu in 1918. She was formerly Anne Hynes from Creggan and was only 41 when she died. The Derrymullen man also has very fond memories of the times he spent with Martin Madden who lived beside the Handball Alley-a great gardener as was his brothers Austin and John. Martin was from Deerpark and Marty brought milk every day to Martin’s house. “I think horticulture was in the blood somewhere. My mother’s uncle James Harney, originally from Kilclooney, was a Horticultural Instructor in Co Louth in the 40s.”
Today Marty and his family are one of Ireland’s largest nursery suppliers, operating in north Co. Dublin from a forty acre site. From the football stronghold of Derrymullen, Marty was educated in St. Grellan’s National School and St Joseph’s Garbally and featured on both the Ballinasloe minor hurling and football teams. He joined his late father in the building trade but his love of nature and farming attracted him towards a different career. He graduated from the National Botanic Gardens and following a spell with Dublin Corporation and Dublin County Council he and his wife Joan decided to set up their own business in 1973. They bought a half acre site in Ballyboughal, in North Co. Dublin, built a family home and embarked on a small nursery and landscaping business. They were one of the first in Ireland to forecast a market for potted plants and by 1983 the established Tully Nurseries became Ireland’s first wholesale cash and carry centre for the country’s growing number of landscape contractors, By 1990 the award-winning nursery was supplying garden centres around Ireland with a wide range of perennials, climbers, shrubs and trees, as well as exporting to the United Kingdom.
Today, Tully’s import stock from specialist growers and nurseries from all over Europe as well as Australia, supplying garden centres, DIY shops, supermarkets etc, Several new plants bred by Marty are grown under licence all over the world, including Hebe Rhubarb and custard and Hebe Joan Mac. The staff of fifty includes Marty and Joan’s three adult children, Padraig, Niamh and Martin Jnr. They are a formidable team that thrive on their successes of national and international awards, resulting from long hours of dedication and hard work to an industry they love and are immensely proud of. Founder Marty likes to stroll around the nursery, an enjoyable place to be cocooned in these amazing times and said “We had some rough times over the years, but we managed to pull through and keep going. I am lucky that my family got involved from an early age and as we all live within easy reach of the business is fantastic. Challenges will always come when you are in business but it is important to embrace life with attitude, both the good times and the bad times” he remarked. For relaxation, he likes to play the odd game of golf in Balbriggan Golf Club where another Ballinasloe man Nigel Howley is the club professional.
Visit tullynurseries.ie to find out more
By Colm Croffy
Gerry Bruen is celebrating 40 years of business with his Insurance Brokerage this year. His family were steeped in Insurance – his father Joe and Uncle Paddy set up a brokerage in Roscommon in June 1930 and traded under the title of Bruen Bros. & Co. (selling motor insurance three years before it was legally required to have it under the Insurance Act 1933 ! ). His brother took over the business when his Dad passed away. After a few years he joined the Insurance Corporation of Ireland later becoming infamous when it collapsed heralding the introduction of a “temporary “ insurance levy. Thankfully he had long gone at that stage and cannot be blamed for that !! He then joined Shield Insurance company, now renamed Zurich Insurance. His plans to go into partnership with his brother came unstuck when The Irish Permanent approached him to manage their local agency in town.
“The opportunity was too good to pass up; so on March 3rd 1980 Bruen Brothers and Co. Ballinasloe was born !! My office was set up in Main Street in the old post office (Where Vodaphone now operate from)”, states Gerry. In 1982 the premises moved to Dunlo Street (Now the Deli Store) and finally moved to the current office in Society Street. When he came to town first, along with his flatmates from a local bank – they got to know the local pubs, the cinemas the Ashling and Swanwicks. He joined the Musical Society and was happy to play Motel in Fiddler on the Roof. He hopes to take part in the 40th anniversary of this show in 2021 as a cast member. He served as chairman of this society for a few years, as well as chairperson of Junior Chamber and finally as a founder member of the local Lions club. In the late 90s he was elected President of The Chamber of Commerce and was the founding chairman of BACD which has exceeded his expectations
Lucky in Love
Along the way he obtained his Chartered Insurance practitioner status and also became an associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute, becoming a qualified financial advisor in latter years. He was a founder member of the Insurance brokers Association and later served for four years on the national executive. Two years ago this organisation merged with PIBA creating a unified broker representative body for over 1200 firms While involved with Junior Chamber he met a young lady who worked in Duane’s Pharmacy, so when the Lions club first dress dance was held he had to find a dancing partner. “All I knew was her name was Ann, didn’t know her address - I knew she worked in Duane’s so I had to queue up in the shop and wait for her to come out so I could ask her to the dance. Within 18 months she became my wife, friend and support over the years. We have been blessed with four children and I am very proud of each and everyone of them” recalls Gerry
Looking back at 4 decades in business he is proud of having helped many young couples get a mortgage. “Over the years I was able in a small way to act as a conduit between local people and Irish Permanent Head office to achieve their dream of owning their own home” explains Gerry. Irish Permanent evolved over time to become a mainstream bank and phased out Agents in 2008. His main job is to advise clients on their insurance needs and then to try to source an Insurance provider to match those needs. “We have a relationship with a wide range of Insurance providers for private motor insurance alone we deal with 14 providers and in excess of that for other classes of business. We are members of Brokerline Direct, the longest and largest broker network in Ireland. This network has in excess of €500 million in premium income and we can therefore utilise this strength to bring ongoing value to our clients in the form of more competitive premiums and enhanced cover” enthuses Gerry.
Technology and Changes
He laughs at modern day annoyance with poor coverage of mobiles. “In 1980 I had to wait two to three months to get a telephone line which meant Initially I had to operate via a telephone kiosk across the road and ensure I had plenty of small change – can you imagine? “ The advances in technology and the role of woman in the financial services sector – from once purely providing secretarial and tea making duties – the ladies now are on par with the lads – in terms of roles, management duties are two key changes witnessed by Gerry. Looking around the town centre Gerry is worried about the future “our Centre has not performed well in the last decade. The loss of local jobs means folks have to travel elsewhere for work. Coupled with the rise of multinational retailing has resulted in fewer people shopping with the small local retailer. They then struggle to survive and close. The choice of goods offered locally diminishes and people then go elsewhere making the problem worse. Apart from the clothes retailer this becomes very obvious when looking at the decline in the number of grocery shops locally. When they are gone they are gone and with them the heart of the town” cautions Gerry. As to future of brokering in provincial towns: “The death knell for brokers has been sounded for decades. Cheap insurance on line is only cheap when purchasing it. The lowest price is not always the best. Buying on line does not let you seek advice, it is designed to sell only and does not provide the choice and ongoing service provided by the Broker” argues Gerry.
As to Ballinasloe-he feels it is ideally situated in the centre of Ireland with great connections - correct internet connection business can be conducted from anywhere in the town as home working in Covid-19 has shown. “The quality of life here is particularly good with excellent sports and education facilities. It is a nice town to live in with your family and offers the opportunity for a good work/ play balance“ stresses Gerry. Gerry took up running after a recent health scare; “I plan to keep running for as long as I can, two marathons now under my belt which is more than I ever expected I would do. Long term probably shorter distances but plan to keep the social aspect as much as possible“ notes the Roscommon native – showing no signs of easing off ! “Forty years ago I took a chance and moved to here. I have never regretted that move and I am thankful to many clients, friends that have made it all possible. It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge my back up staff. Without them and their loyal support it would not have been possible” enthuses Gerry.
Contact the team at www.bruenbros.com or phone 090 964 3320
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