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
If you have any news items about Ballinasloe, please use this link to contact us