“Ballinasloe Says No” have been objecting to applications to operate a waste transfer station in Poolboy over the past three years. They have urged members of the public to object to this new permit due to the environmental concerns they held because of its proximity to the River Suck. More than 2,300 people had objected online to the permit along with a further 600 making submissions through their local supermarket. Dr Vincent Parsons, Chairperson of the campaign along with Senator Aisling Dolan, PRO/Secretary of the group and Councillor Dr Evelyn Parsons, have held zoom meetings with locals in East Galway on the seriously worrying impact of this development on the health and safety of over 6,500 people in the town.
“It is adjacent to the old landfill which is in danger of being disturbed. Access is through the streets and residential areas. Trucks will pass by Portiuncula University Hospital and schools. School children will be competing with 30-tonne trucks. The site is near family homes and housing estates – many with young children. These waste facilities are associated with serious health hazards“ stated Dr. Vincent Parsons.
The passionate voluntary team have again been influential. Their creative volunteers put together videos to reach people through social media, organising leaflet drops with An Post as well as ads in newspapers and radio interviews. County Councillor Dr Evelyn Parsons, put forward a motion at Plenary Council that a deputation meet with the Minister for Environment and Climate Action, regarding issues surrounding waste developments operating in areas of high flood risk, heightened environmental sensitivities and close to residential areas which was seconded by Cllr Alistair McKinstry, Green Party, Chair of the Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategic Policy Committee at the Council.
Cllr McKinstry informed the group that the Green Party will be also lodging a submission on these important issues. “Chair of the SPC Cllr McKinstry, lodged a submission and Councillors in the Ballinasloe Municipal District also agreed to make a joint submission. Our residents’ health, quality of life, our environment and biodiversity in this special area need to be protected from environmental threats and we are working hard to ensure the best for the people in the area” noted Cllr. Parsons.
In a very unique move a joint Oireachtas submission had been sent to Galway County Council on January 15, by public representatives Deputy Claire Kerrane TD, Senator Eugene Murphy and Senator Aisling Dolan highlighting serious concerns they held about the application. Denis Naughten TD also independently provided his own objection.
This is an incredible number of submissions when we consider that we couldn’t meet people or speak face to face because of lockdown, and especially when people have so much worry and anxiety with Covid-19 as well as managing with home-schooling and working from home. It’s a stressful time and the worst crisis and still, people care about the future of our town and the impact on our health and safety with this proposed development” stated Senator Dolan.
“The community are coming together and making submissions talking about the pride in their town and vision for a safe and healthy future for the next generation, which is really, really important” explained the Senator.
Follow the group on Facebook below or on Instagram for updates.
It could be at least 10 weeks before a decision emerges.
Moving back to Marina Point, to a large 2,500 square foot premises – where they all began some 13 years ago, UTAH are opening a large new specialist premises over the coming weeks. Ireland’s newest fully fledged “ Regatta Store” with world leading outdoor and activity brands including the iconic Dare 2 B and CRAGHOPPERS – sister brands, is Val Colleran’s latest business expansion. “We have been tracking our customers’ needs and chosen lines for the past 2 years and there is a surge in demand for outdoor leisure wear of quality“, explains Val, when asked why open a new retail store during the third wave of a pandemic. “Covid has been cruel to retail, we know that however it also encouraged people to try and redirect shopping excursions to larger urban centres if they can access what the need locally or click and collect locally” he continues.
The new store will carry a vast and diverse range of outdoor leisure wear for Men, Women, Kids and footwear and boots for all. Indeed the store will remind some of us of Dublin’s famous Capel Street as it will also stock a range of camping, tents, hiking and outdoor activity equipment. The shop, along with the mother store on Society Street, will be managed by Val, but he sees employment numbers for UTAH growing from 8 to 12 in year one across both stores. Relocating and expanding his current outdoor section which has been a strong seller from Society St., frees up some new space that Val – (a retailer with some 30 years’ experience behind him) is going to launch “UTAH Kurve”, catering larger sizes for ladies. The store will open from 9.30 am to 6.00 Mon to Sat and will be able to manage reasonable numbers in comfort even up to level 3 restrictions. Equally for those who purchased UTAH Vouchers for gifts or for Christmas pressies – they will be fully redeemable in the new store for any line.
Val, who has worked in Penneys, before moving as Senior Sales Manager in Texas with their stores in Tullamore, Mullingar and Athlone, prior to opening UTAH Dept Store in 2008 also explained that lines will be available from the UTAH website but shortly will be available from a dedicated portal www.utahoutdoors.ie.
He is looking forward to the challenge of managing two outlets in town which wouldn’t be possible without the continued the support of his wife Kellie, and two children, Faolán, Eanna and his dedicated members of staff. “Things are looking up for UTAH. Between the Big Dig and Pandemic we have had, like most of retail in town, a truly horrible 11 months but we have been hugely encouraged by the loyalty of local shoppers and families from the surrounds who voted with their wallets and feet during December and especially on line“ enthuses Val. The store will open as soon as regulations permit.
After previous success for Roscommon Minors in 2017, the squad which included four proud members of our local Padraig Pearse’s Club recently were crowned Connacht Minor champions.
After battling in gale force wind conditions on St Stephens Day at the Connacht Centre of Excellence and after defeating a fancied Galway team in the semi-final, The Rossie's had to play a highly rated Sligo team in the final.
The local boys - Eoin Colleran, Luke Walshe, Caelun Keogh, Declan Kenny played the final during Storm Bella with the wind favouring Roscommon in the first half. Roscommon went into the second half leading by only 4 points and knew they needed a big performance to secure the cup. Against the storm, Roscommon was able to snatch the victory by three points with local Padraig Pearse’s Clubman, Creagh native and Roscommon Captain Eoin Colleran, lifting the winning cup.
In preparation for the campaign the team had been placed on a strict diet and fitness regimes and latest Covid-19 restrictions had meant that the team had to be split up and train in their separate pods. The boys knew what was ahead of them, and they were able to keep their head down and focus on the match with the belief that they could get the job done.
Speaking on the strict preparation for the match , Cornerback for the Squad Luke Walshe said: “It was very strict coming up to the match, we couldn’t eat what we wanted coming up to the match not even at Christmas, we were told to stick to our strict carb diet. Training was very strict we just focused on our drills and our tactics.”
Padraig Pearse's also had Caelum Keogh at full-back, and Declan Kenny on the panel on the day. Aaron Clogher is another local man who is the team’s Performance Analyst.
These boys have been training for this moment since they entered U6s and the hard work at underage coaching in Padraig Pearses is paying off with a strong county representation over several years.
Captain Eoin Colleran also spoke of the difficulties they faced and what motivated them to be able to power through and get the job done: “One of our players Mark Watson broke his ankle the week before the game, that was a tough one, and towards the start of the season with ten minutes before a game was to be played a referee passed away Morgan Keena. We did it for both for Morgan and Mark.”
Although the game was in the absence of family, friends, and supporters due to COVID Restrictions. They were able to dispatch Sligo to come out on top as champions.
Luke spoke of the highlights when he chuckled: “Definitely the goal, that was special.”
The Padraig Pearses boys had all come through Garbally College in a proud day for the school and the South Roscommon Club “Thanks to all of the manager and lads who we have trained with up from the age of six. Huge thanks to our club, our schools, our families and friends, all those who have supported us over the years helping us become better players and people. You truly are our sixteenth man on the field,” stated Captain Eoin Colleran at the presentation moment!
By Colm Croffy
It was the winter of 2010, the austerity years post the banking collapse were taking its toll. We had as a community a short 12 months before lived through the most devastating of floods; there was a genuine sense of despondency in the air.
Kelly's printing family MD (Brendan Kelly) – lifelong supporters of so many voluntary organisations in town, our Development Company founding Secretary (Colm Croffy) and BACD Chairman (Seamus Duffy) had a few chats over the festive season.
No one in the community could see at a glance outside of the Patricks Day Parade and the Fair that there was huge voluntary, sporting, charitable, educational work happening allied to a shook but loyal business community and a rich farming hinterland under our feet.
We were only looking at a quarterly newsletter 8 pages, dropped into the home via An Post. One of the key drivers to the BACD company - Noel Madden mentioned at an AGM that the wider community of town would never understand what BACD was trying to do unless it took its message outside the old gates of St Enda’s and into people’s minds and homes.
I started researching other communities, Gort had it’s Guaire, Tuam had it’s historical Annual but we had nothing. I had been previously engaged with the Connacht Tribune for a decade since Dermot Connolly (Ex NT) RIP passed as the local correspondent and that paper like so many others was changing from broadsheet to tabloid and staff reporters who could cover topics in depth were being let go.
With the bones of an idea we approached a few of the pillar firms in town – would they back the idea of a simple 32 page colour magazine – every 8 weeks with their advertising budget to become not a “MAGILL” or a “Village” type publication for our community but more like a “Cara“ the inflight magazine of Aer Lingus.
The response was overwhelmingly positive, we needed the Mothership of Development Company to be the nursery for the project. Resources to compile, research, co-ordinate the magazine would have to be found. Third level Trainees was the only route as the cost recovery project could not pay out any professional fees to contributors.
My projects office would be the engine room for content and creativity and my 20 years of communications across print, multi media and event would be put to use. The BACD manager’s office was the accounts and advertising office.
Seamus went with a trio of a team to the Board, it was backed enthusiastically from the start . The wily Board however added a fourth person to the Volunteers & Manager – Director Paul Hargadon. So it was four volunteers – who sold the ads, (Seamus was the Master Hustler!) and got the subscribers, the then Manager Helen Kelly who did the billing and accounts chasing and mise who co-ordinated content and contributors.
Distribution into all the letterboxes inside the old urban area was always done with voluntary drivers – Directors and members of the BACD Company and young second level students which in the last 10 years has predominately been Garbally TY Classes. Ken delivers to all the National Schools and key village stores to all our villages within our Common Bond radius and sometimes as far as Leixlip. We know from families and the Post Office that over 500 copies are posted to family overseas and around the country!
We were very lucky early on to secure the engagement and support of notable writers and historians of the locality who have given of their time and energy freely – Ken Kelly, Barry Lally, Pat Johnston, Sean Tully, Wille Tully, Damian Mac Con Uladh, to name a few and scores of other PROS and correspondents.
We have grown in reach and content from 32 pages and 3,000 copies to 64 pages and 6,500 copies every two months and have a valuable platform in showcasing all the many positive attributes of our town, hinterland and community. Advertising Manger Lyn Donnelly has grown our supporters list from to over 165.
We have produced over 600 community videos that illuminate our town on the World wide web – last year alone clips were viewed a massive 210,000 times. Any video/report we make gets viewed by an average of 3,500 people. We have over 6,600 facebook fans, we are tweeting and instagramming and finding ways to tell our positive story through social media which in time will develop into a full information channel of its own. Sinéad Colleran has revamped our Website - ballinasloe.ie – to where it links to our Ballinasloe LIfe articles and automatically ranks second highest in all Google searches for "Ballinasloe" (after Wikipedia)
Over the next few editions we will offer all of the main sports & cultural and community groups – starting with soccer to undertake a decade lookback on their developments and we will script some review pieces on the town and aspects within.
We would welcome any personal reflections or reminisces from our readers as well. Floods, Recessions, Elections, Tragedies and Pandemic Lockdowns have not stopped us printing our editions – lack of business support and community indifference might but thankfully to date there is not much evidence of that.
Here’s hoping to the next decade of growth.
2020 was a year of change, for everyone. For the Pulse Club and its members, this change required them to cease what had developed into valued interactions.
The Club was growing well until Covid-19 halted things somewhat. They decided to focus their activities on the businesses of Ballinasloe.
Before Covid-19 Pulse’s first Tuesday meetings, business pitch sessions, problem-solving and information workshops and of course, larger events that were gaining so much traction and were improving with each event!
Covid-19 stopped all that, dead in its tracks, as it did for so many businesses, clubs, committees, and people's activities. Pulse Club had to rethink, react, and respond. So, immediately they decided that their activities should focus on all businesses and entrepreneurs in Ballinasloe, not just those who hold memberships.
The club began running well-received webinars and hoped at least to be helping the business community is some way during our first lockdown. Later in the summer when things were looking brighter, the Steering Committee gathered (remotely) to discuss what had been learned, how we might revise their offerings for the members and begin planning for a year ending high.
Then came lockdown number 2: pause, reflect and again, hunker down while offering any support that could be provided to the wider business community.
In November/December, they agreed to spend January surveying their memberships community directly. To find what 2020 brought the members in terms of challenges and opportunities. How Covid-19 has changed the directions of their businesses, and for those worst affected, how might they respond?, - whether in the original business or something new that might blossom out of the disaster .They also launched their window display programme.
The Pulse Club aim to aid any budding entrepreneur with a seed of an idea, those in a start-up, those in business for a while, those who have many years of experience and going at it again.
They wish to know how they can help. Whether you are an existing member or not, send your list of problems, needs and challenges that the club might be able to help with, along with ideas, suggestions and of course, ways to improve based on experience to firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening hours of two county Municipal pools, Tuam and Ballinasloe, has been under threat for the past few months of last year.
Council Executive suggested to members that Ballinasloe Pool hours would have to be curtailed and pool/gym services reduced in the locality.
Despite calls for government intervention, no financial aid was received and Cllr. Dr Evelyn Parsons has been one of the leading campaigners to find additional resources to help pool to remain open with normal opening hours . Galway County Council agreed to provide an additional €150,000 for both Ballinasloe and Tuam pools to further subsidise the operating costs at their final adoption of annual estimates.
Councillor Dr Evelyn Parsons welcomed the agreement from the Estimates to underpin swimming facilities in the county – “ I am delighted that our Pool Management will now report to the MDA quarterly and I must commend my area colleague Councillor Timmy Broderick for his forensic work on the micro figures at the estimates and pre budgeting meetings, which helped us all secure our objective”.
Temporary New Signage has been installed at the top of Fair Green encouraging the community to discover what Ballinasloe has to offer.
BACD coordinated the works which were funded by Galway County Council under the Town & Village accelerated programme. The same scheme was also utilised to drive the Shop Ballinasloe town voucher scheme, the Christmas lights project and the purchase of Cafe Barriers for a number of restaurants in town to provide outdoor seating.
A total of €40,000 was provided through the scheme to support the 4 projects.
20 year old Jack Treacy , a Shannon native of County Clare has been appointed the 19th official LIFE Reporter.
Jack is the second eldest of a family of 3 boys and the youngest a girl and is a distinguished past pupil of both St. Conaire’s NS and St. Patrick's Comprehensive, Shannon.
Jack is attending the University of Limerick – a second year, studying a Digital Communications Degree with History.
When not heading for long walks and treks he is a passionate Reds - Liverpool FC - life-long supporter, knowing all the squad players of the Anfield Club .
One could also find him in his down time moments enjoying his collection of YouTube videos from his favourite creators or chatting online with his friends!
He is looking forward to meeting and working with all the volunteers and groups connected with BALLINASLOE LIFE and the Development Company.
Jack takes over from fellow Bannerman - Liam Cosgrove (who returns to his degree course at U.L.). Liam gave us a wonderful 9 months of his traineeship on the magazine and we thank him and wish him every success in his future career.
Jack will be working on the next four editions of the Magazine and developing the online content as reporter and principal videographer.
We wish him well!
On a snowy morning in Whitehall church, Drumcondra on Jan 7th 1961 Thomas W Sheridan (aka Tommy) & Eilish Conway were wed and celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary recently.
Tommy also turned 80 on May 15th 2020, but the party was put on ice for now!
They ran the very successful Sheridan Stores on the Market Square & for over 40 years.
They also owned the renowned Jeckyl & Hyde lounge bar which was an establishment way ahead of it's time ,in glamour and service.
The couple were also mentors to 6 other business that their children were & are involved.
Tommy was the President of the Ballinasloe Chamber of Commerce & served on the board of the Ballinasloe Vintners Association & they are both staunch supporters of their adopted town.
Eilish, is his right hand woman & together they reared 8 children, 5 girls & 3 boys. David, Mark, Julie, Gemma, Cindy, Gillian, Jennifer & Aiden. Sadly Mark passed away in 2017, gone but never forgotten.
They have 18 grandchildren & 14 great grandchildren.
Local-based comedian Breda Larkin in a recent project named “10-10-20 The Land on Drugs”, teamed up with Talamh Beo at The Emerald Ballroom last October where she sought to encourage debate on the and play against the prevailing assumptions we hold about our current farming systems and rural livelihood.
Challenging old mantras in hopes that together they could come up with new farming systems to aid and restore eco-systems that were destroyed and to construct soils, making the land appear better than when they began all while hoping that they would gather a few laughs along the way.
Plans have been put on hold for Breda due to Covid-19, A film was planned to be screened in February of 2021 alongside several workshops covering various topics surrounding farming.
With Galway 2020 events being pushed out to at least April, Breda remains hopeful that she can perform in the Town Hall Theatre.
“It has been really difficult, I have had interviews that are unusable due to the audio corrupting or the camera losing focus during online interviews, I have been so heavily reliant on the broadband and many living in rural areas don’t have access to quality broadband leading to many difficulties, explains Breda.
Breda has been using her time to edit the footage she has gathered from her visits with the Talamh Beo farmers and is hopeful that she can get quality footage uploaded to the Talamh Beo YouTube channel in the near future.
Many interviews have already been uploaded to the channel under the title “Hedge School Farming” with videos ranging from mushroom growing to holistic land management. Throughout February Breda plans to upload more interviews conducted over zoom with a Teagasc advisor, dairy farmer and soil experts all featuring. She hopes that the project would continue throughout the year and is looking forward to the fair day on 10-10-21.
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