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.
BALLINASLOE TOWN TEAM: A progressive active committee promoting the development of Ballinasloe and its hinterlands to reach its potential. We are currently revitalizing the team and want to engage with our community. We believe in fostering a greater community spirit and build on the fantastic community work already going on. • Would you like to be part of our Town Team? • Have you any ideas, big or small, you would like to develop to enhance our community? If so please come and meet some of our members at our pop-up clinics. Drop it for a chat, share your ideas and discover how you can play a part in making our town an even better place to work and live.
LOCATION DATE TIMES
Credit Union Thursday 6th Feb 4 - 5.30 pm
Library Tuesday 11th Feb 4 - 6 pm
Brewery Lane Thursday 13th Feb 6 - 8 pm
Shearwater Sunday 16th Feb 7 - 9 pm
The Town Team is a voluntary group striving to carry out both short term and long term actions to ultimately improve & revitalize Ballinasloe and its hinterland under the umbrella of Ballinasloe Area Community Development Ltd.
By Liam Cosgrove
Caltra native June McCafferty, owner of Junes Holistic Therapy, has a passion for holistic health and she believes whole heartedly in its healing ability. She has opened a new Holistic Centre adjacent to her house in Pallas, Caltra, Ballinasloe. She is a qualified reflexologist and has a keen focus on women’s health through holistic care. Her family originates from the Ballinasloe area and she comes from a long line of psychiatric and general nurses.
Married to Daniel, they have two children. June is a qualified Montessori Teacher and she has worked with adults with an intellectual disability for the last 26 years. In 2006, she qualified as a reflexologist from the An Tan school of Reflexology in Meath. She has furthered her training at Obus School of Healing Therapies in Leixlip, by undertaking a number of courses. On the road to becoming qualified, she has gained lots of experience, in various therapies, the services she offers are holistic care to all with a main focus on women’s health. The treatments she offers are in reflexology, holistic massage, Indian head massage and Hopi ear candling. You can book by appointment only. She continues to train and update her skills on a regular basis as to give the best treatment possible. She is currently undertaking an Aromatherapy course.
Reflexology aims to stimulate the body’s own healing processes to keep it in homeostasis and maintain health and well-being. It reduces stress and induces deep relaxation and also helps regulate bodily functions such as digestive, endocrine, respiratory and excretory systems. It also aids in increasing energy levels. It assists in the elimination of toxins and balances the whole system. Reflexology instills a feeling of well-being and contentment. June’ s vision is always to offer a unique tailored package where one can experience total relaxation and stimulate one’s own wellbeing.
As a member of IRI (Irish Reflexology Institute) and Archti (Association of Registered Complementary Therapists of Ireland), her clients have the reassurance of knowing their therapist is a member of associations which pride themselves on their code of ethics and high standards of qualifications of their members. On the clients first visit, she normally would conduct a full personal consultation. This takes into consideration your past and present health and lifestyle. The consultation enables the treatment to be tailored to your specific needs. Client information is strictly confidential and all therapies are carried out in a soothing therapeutic setting. Her opening hours are Tuesday to Friday, from 9.30am to 8pm and Saturdays from 9.30am to 1pm. Her Holistic Centre is adjacent to her house in Pallas, Caltra. If you wish to make an appointment contact June at 086 408 8003 or message her on her facebook page. Vouchers are also available on request.
By Liam Cosgrove
Dawna Concannon is a woman of many talents and they are all just pieces of the puzzle that go to make her career. Starting in the Department of Justice she went on to work for Supt O’Grady here in town. Many will know her from the time she ‘did the books’ for some of the oldest business names locally – including McKeowns, Benny Grehan, Harneys Locksmiths and Declan Bannerton and she was with the Chamber of Commerce when talk first began about town enhancement.
Around the millennium, Dawna joined Galway Rural Development where her work brought her into contact with the longterm unemployed but it was the recession that called for a major change in her focus. ”I met so many older men who had lost their jobs in construction – small farmers who depended on off-farm work to supplement their income – especially those who were too old to emigrate, broken by the e m i g r a t i o n of their own children and left with a loss of self-esteem and no hope for their own future,” states Dawna. Dawna could offer them a listening ear but her belief that she needed more professional skills led her to study for a degree in Adult Guidance and Counselling from NUI Maynooth which she completed on a part-time basis. In 2017 she took her degree in psychotherapy and now began for her a new career or, one could say, she had found her true calling as she is now a full-time psychotherapist with her own practice called - Breatheasy Counselling.
While Dawna works with all age groups she has a particular affinity with young people as those she worked with in a voluntary role in Clontuskert’s Faith and Fun club will attest. ‘Cool’ is how they describe her. She even found time to do a course in youth ministry with the Redemptorists which she says gave her ‘a deeper insight into the diverse talents and needs of young people.’
Her time with Youth Work Ireland also took her on some foreign projects in Europe and she has worked with her counterparts in Finland, Switzerland, Greece, and Sweden, where she recalls being ‘eaten alive’ by mosquitoes while refereeing a hurling match! Dawna also works in schools, mainly with Transition Year and she has recently engaged with groups within Comhairle na nŌg. She works out of Galway Community Counselling, Ballybane and The Dancing Soul in Athlone as well as at Ballinasloe and Portumna. While a lot of her work takes her into the saddest parts of the human experience Dawna herself is positive, optimistic and full of empathy and good humour. To spend time with her and listen to her stories and reminiscences is in itself a tonic. Contact Dawna at Breatheasy Counselling 087 4198195 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Following a hectic and invigorating inaugural 12 months since formal inception - the Pulse Clubs held its first meeting of 2020 in Gullanes Hotel, and they have set out its outline plan for the next six months. Following a hectic and invigorating inaugural 12 months since formal inception - the Pulse Clubs held its first meeting of 2020 in Gullanes Hotel, and they have set out its outline plan for the next six months.
The Pulse Clubs mission is to provide a networking platform for both new entrepreneurs and developing businesses; in the locale and also to provide members a mentoring and support service via monthly presentations by seasoned executives as well as subsidised in-depth courses on key topics. On Wednesday February the 4th, Pulse members will either pitch or present to the other fellow members. Both AV Electrics (Raj Lyon Chohan) and Marie Lyons (Sky Blue Counselling) will get this opportunity on the night. This meeting will be held in Gullanes Hotel at 6.30pm.
The next meeting will take place on Wednesday, March 4th. The event will be in conjunction with Galway LEO as part of Enterprise Week. There will be a number of guest speakers on the night. There will also be networking and a one on one mentoring session with LEO. This meeting will also be held in Gullanes from 6pm to 8pm.
The April meeting will be held on Tuesday the 7th. This will be a networking event for all members. The time and venue will be confirmed closer to the time. On Tuesday May the 5th, there will be interviews held for all members. Discussions will also be had on the night. Some new Pulse members will get the chance to present their new business, if they have not done so already, and what their learnings and challenges have been so far. The time and venue are yet to be confirmed.
For the June meeting on Tuesday the 2nd, there will be a fireside chat with a successful entrepreneur which will be available for members to attend. There will be a networking Summer barbeque for all members in July. Full details about these meetings will be available on www.thepulseclub.com and all social media or by contacting the Enterprise Centre on 090 964 6516.
Mairead Divilly, daughter of the late Willie and Anne Divilly of Dunlo St has been shortlisted for the 2ND Irish Women’s Awards 2020, in the Services to Accounting & Finance category. Her parents set up business in the late fifties, with a rented grocery store, prior to purchasing the current building and in turn opened the first town’s supermarket which has been in business for over 60 years. After attending St Joseph’s NS and Scoil Mhuire Secondary School, she had originally wanted to pursue a career in Music and Mathematics so she applied to UCD to undertake a B Mus degree but changed to a B Comm degree. Following this, she joined PWC under a three-year training contract to pursue a qualification as a Chartered Accountant. Since then she has been a partner in Mazars International accounting firm, which has over 500 staff in Ireland and operates in over 90 countries globally. She is specifically responsible for the Outsourcing and Compliance Division and expanded the services last year to Galway and Limerick.
Some of her favorite memories growing up in the area were marching in both the St Patrick’s Day and the October Fair parades as part of Mrs Gilligan’s band, playing the accordion. She also enjoyed being taught the clarinet first by John Gilligan and then Noel Madden in the Town Band. Her mother was very involved with the Salesians and for their annual dinner dance one year, she needed a band. She formed a band called Ceathra Rua. It consisted of herself, her brother, Seamus Feerick and Pat Geraghty who quickly got together to meet the demand.
Mairead has been a director of Skillnet Ireland for many years as a nominee of the Small Firms Association. Skillnet Ireland is a business support agency dedicated to workforce development and has been in existence for 20 years and it was a very special moment for her when she received a Special Contribution Award at their annual conference dinner last September.
Ballinasloe is still very close to her heart and she tries to get back to visit regularly as the family business is in the town. She believes the town has changed over the years, losing significant employers such as AT Cross, Square D and St Brigid’s She believes that by attracting more investment into the town to improve employment opportunities will help sustain the local community. She also welcomes the new look of the town streets but there are many premises which need to be incentivised to re-open and /or upgrade to put vibrancy back into life in the town centre. Her advice to leaving cert students is that the workplace is ever changing due to technological advances, globalisation, new ways of working, changing consumer demands and an array of competitive forces which are combining to disrupt the workplace to an extent that is unprecedented. “They’re different technologies performing ever more complex tasks that were once thought to be the sole domain of humans. Some jobs are disappearing entirely, but new technologies are also unlocking immense pent-up potential within businesses, bringing with it new jobs, many of which never existed previously. The very nature of employment itself is being redefined, with the rise of the gig economy, portfolio careers, virtual and remote working, and extended working lives” explains Mairead.
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