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
A few points here to help people putting in an application to the ReStart Programme in Ballinasloe
Ballinasloe's NEWEST INITIATIVE designed for customers to shop local 24/7 and support businesses Shopballinasloe.ie is a new online Community Marketplace connecting shoppers with their favourite local retailers, crafters, restaurants, jewellers, salons and many more around Ballinasloe and its hinterland. Although shop doors might be currently closed and times are uncertain for everyone, local businesses can now get online and continue trading in just a few easy steps with ShopBallinasloe.ie.
With over 50 local businesses already signed up to the Free platform, shoppers can continue to buy locally and support their community on one site from the comfort and safety of their own home, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Shopballinasloe.ie hosts a wide variety of Irish products from lots of different local suppliers – allowing shoppers to browse across multiple products, services and selections and checkout in one single transaction with their order shipped from the supplier straight to their home.
ShopBallinasloe.ie is a joint initiative between local businesses marketing agency Araya Business Support Services (Honoria Mitchell Black, Niamh Creaven Connaughton) and Kickstart Web Design (Joe Glennon, David Ansley) who have been busy behind the scenes bringing this project to life in just a few short weeks.
“This is great initiative with a simple clear message that highlights the need to buy local. The idea is simple, we are asking businesses and shoppers in the Ballinasloe area to support the local economy, to attract new business and to help ensure our towns survives,” says Joe Glennon and David Ansley of Kickstart Web Design.
ShopBallinasloe.ie launched on Friday 3 April selling vouchers, but have now expanded to sell products. Shoppers can choose from the many wonderful Irish products on offer from local businesses such as Cahalan Jewellers, Kellers of Ballinasloe, The Front Room, Carol Kelly Artwork, Fletchers of Ballinasloe, J&S Photos, Wag‘n’Tails, Shearwater Hotel and many more.
“When you invest money in your local economy, you’re not just helping local business owners – you’re also helping yourself. You’re making your town a better place to live in, with a rich character, thriving economy, and tightly knit community. And the more local businesses prosper, the more new businesses will open, making it even easier to continue shopping locally in the future,” says Niamh Creaven Connaughton and Honoria Mitchell Black of Araya.
Already the initiative has gained great traction amongst not only local businesses and customers, but also from other towns who recognise the importance of supporting their own local businesses through the months ahead and securing a strong future. The new online marketplace has been positively received by local shoppers and businesses alike, recognising that by embracing technology to enhance our community, there has never been a better time or a better reason to shop and support local. Shop local shop in Ballinasloe – shopballinasloe.ie
Reading for Parishioners for Holy Week
Click on the link for the reading.
By Colm Croffy
The town was deeply shocked to learn of the passing of Liam Kelly, founder Member and Former Director of Ballinasloe Credit Union, on Jan 11th this year. Liam enjoyed his eighth decade in the shadow of Our Lady of Lourdes Spire and that of the Cupola of St. Brigid`s Hospital, in his ancestral home where his father also was a nurse in the hospital. His family had a long record of service to St Brigid`s Hospital and its patients. After finishing his Psychiatric Nursing training, he worked (like so many others at the time) for a number of years in Castlerea Hospital.
Upon returning in 1965, he engaged in all manner of community and worker orientated social and cultural activities. He married the love of his life Mary Doyle and they had a family of five boys and one girl - Liam, Oliver, Michael, Declan, Alan and Emer.
Having a rich baritone voice and being a dapper mover, he found himself a regular principal cast member for some of the great Musical Society shows from 1947 until 1973 – alongside Dermot Connolly, The Cullens, Maureen O’Donoghue and Johnny Furey. Johnny Furey was also Best Man at Liam`s wedding. He was a member of the Patrician Society connected with the Church in the mid-1960s when Dermot Connolly delivered one of their fortnightly lectures on the radical new financial and community- owned movement – The Credit Union. A group of men doing some ground renovation in Creagh Church under Fr. Dunne’s supervision a few weeks later decided that they would establish one and Liam became the principal driver. Liam’s association with the Credit Union in Ballinasloe goes back to its inception in 1967 and he held the unique position of being the Credit Union`s very first member. He served as a Board Director from 1967 to 2017.
Ballinasloe owes Liam a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for his lifetime of credit union advocacy and volunteerism which benefited thousands of our members. The growth of Ballinasloe Credit Union would not have been possible without the voice of reason he always brought to every meeting. He was one of the best known and respected figures in the movement, both nationally and internationally. Liam travelled the highway and byways of the country in the late 60s, 70s and 80s, promoting and empowering communities and indeed labour forces to manage their own savings and loan book.
During the early years of the movement he befriended another prominent pioneer of the movement, the Chair of the Derry Credit Union, John Hume. They became life-long friends and assisted with the long term development of the Irish League of Credit Unions, which now has some 260 plus Members. Internationally he visited many parts of the developing world, addressed conferences and provided leadership to many struggling people and places – motivated only by a keen sense of Christian community generosity.
Internationally he visited many parts of the developing world, addressed conferences and provided leadership to many struggling people and places – motivated only by a keen sense of Christian community generosity. Still, for Liam, life revolved around the locale and in particular the joys of seeing his family and his grandchildren all grow up. He was instrumental in making Ballinasloe Credit Union one of only the second in the country that created a Social Investment Fund to create social economy and enterprise in the community. He was very much moved by the respect afforded to him and his wife Mary by the Credit Union Chapter when they formally marked their Golden Anniversary in 2017 and was also very pleased to have been presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for service to the community in the People of the Year Awards in 2017.
All our condolences are offered to his lovely wife Mary, Liam, Oliver, Michael, Declan, Alan and Emer, his relatives, friends, neighbours and many Credit Union Colleagues. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilís
GERRY FITZGERALD is Captain of the Millennium Golf Society this year. Tony Dolphin is President, Leo Mulvaney is Hon. Sec. (087 4159858) and Pat Harney remains the Treasurer. Their first outing is in March.
AUGHRIM celebrated the arrival of 2020 with a fireworks display, a champagne and mulled wine party while the kids were feted with crisps minerals etc. The entire village was lit up with over 12,000 lights for the festive season.
THE LATE SEAMUS GRENNAN of Shannonbridge was a former president and captain of the Ballinasloe Golf Club. A former employee of the ESB Power station in his village, he was a well-known low handicap golfer who competed at venues throughout the country.
GERRY RYNNE, who passed away at his home in Poolboy, Ballinasloe, was a native of Inagh, Co. Clare. He was a former Chief Nursing Officer in St. Brigid’s Hospital, Ballinasloe prior to his retirement.
KILLALAGHTON DRAMA GROUP celebrated their 80th year by staging Jimmy Keary’s three-act play “Mother Knows Best” in the local hall for three nights to packed houses. The play was produced by Micheal Kearns and Sean Dolan and had a cast of ten.
BALLINASLOE CHOIRS raised over €10,800 on Christmas Eve for local charities with a session of carol singing. This was the 16th year for the combined choirs to perform and have now raised over €84,000 for worthy causes. The money raised this year will be divided between the Ballinasloe Social Services and the Galway Hospice.
JOE HEALY’S presidency of the IFA will be remembered with a “night out” in the Lough Rea Hotel on Saturday, 8th February. Proceeds of the night will go to Cancer Care West, of which Galway’s first IFA National President, John Donnelly, is a founder.
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