The next time you are in town take a good look at the Christmas window in J&S Photos, Society Street Ballinasloe which is themed
"Television Ad's From Christmas Past"
All Original Paintings by Artists Local Nicola Bowes, Emel Osman, Rosemary Carty and Mary Barber who have their work displayed in J&S Photos.
They chose four Iconic Christmas Ad's from the past. Nicola's is the 1991 iconic Christmas Kellogg's Ad, Emel's is the iconic 1969 coloured Bisto Ad, Rosemary's is the 1968 iconic Cadburys Milk Tray Ad and Mary's is the 1995 iconic Coca Cola Ad. They have a wide range of products printed from our Christmas paintings which include Mounted or Framed Prints, Cushions, Mugs, Coasters, Money Box's, Cuddly Toys, Christmas cards and lots lots more. Their design was decided on last January and they have worked on it all year - along with Shauna Ward in J&S Photos who plays a big part in the design of their window with all the hard work she does in the printing and getting all the products ready in time for Christmas.
This year their window seams very poignant: "Christmas Past" as in the last 8 months with dealing with Covid19 we have all in some way had to revert back to the past in our everyday life and appreciating the simple things in life.
They have also just launched a new occasion card collection "MERN COBB" in J&S Photos with cards ranging from Birthdays, Weddings, New Home, Anniversary, New Baby and lots more. The name ''MERN COBB'' for their new collection is the initials of their first name and surnames joined together.
J&S photos are also offering a free delivery service on any cards purchased safely from your home by ringing Shauna on 0877916465 or messaging J&S Photos facebook page (see below) with your order.
"Working with these 4 ladies over the past 18 months has been an absolute pleasure. Their talent and work is second to none!! Having there work displayed within our shop and on our window always brings a smile to customers' faces. It's great to see fantastic talent within our town. We would like to wish all our customers a very Happy and Safe Christmas." Says Shauna Ward, Manager.
Thirty six years after Pearses’ first togged out in a Senior County Hurling Championship and securing victory – the South Roscommon Club defied the odds and secured the spoils of victory in a tense – Final that went to extra time and the drama of a man down against Athleague on a scoreline of 2.22 - 1 -18.
Captained by Paul Dolan and Eoin Costelloe the side had the rub of the Gods in qualifying stages , surviving 3 late goals against St. Dominick’s, and dodging a missed free against Traman in the semi - final.
A youthful squad managed by Shane Sweeney saw the side honour the efforts and dedication of those early 80 hurlers , the likes of James Costelloe, Johnny Johnson , Gerry Burke RIP captained by Tom Shaugnessy and trained by the legendary Brian “Bunty” Kelly RIP.
The celebrations on this occasion were subdued with no heroes welcome permitted to club house but it did not prevent Manager Shane from reflecting on an epic adventure as his first time at the helm.
“ Firstly I have to thank and acknowledge the effort and spirit of all the lads in the squad and the hard work and support put in; my team – Tom Corbett and Derek Frehill ( Mentors), Paraic Kelly ( Strength and Conditioning Coach) , Adrian Murphy Selector/ Trainer, Gerry Reilly Physio and our most loyal assistant Aiden “ Fred “ Bergin”, states Shane.
The Club last won the County Hurling title in 2017 , when they came tops out of 7 senior clubs and want to acknowledge the huge support they got from sponsors Alan Naughton of N6 Motors , Fergal Darcy of Today FM, Ambrose Cuddy Solicitors, Patrick Finneran D4.
“ Our guest trainers Paul Kilgannon and Eamon Cleary are deserving of praise as all the officers of the Club, the Committees, our supporters and especially the Camogie Committee who supplied and masterminded our resources and refreshments “ states Shane.
Co - Captain Eoin Costello managed to stop the domestic squabbling when he matched his fathers County medals at two – Dad Tom was on the victorious teams of ’84 and ’87!
The wing back on the day reflected on how the panel were thrilled that the old war horses like the Dolan Brothers- Paraic and David – 15 years at senior, Cathal Kelly – some 16 years and Mike Donaghue the Elder Ashwielder of the team -all played such a role in the final.
“ It was a strange 12 month year with a lot of lads have to train alone and then during the summer months we had 11 fellas out of a panel of 25 travelling back regularly from as far as Waterford for training – which gives an idea of their commitment and dedication” explains Eoin.
“ We got short changed with the celebrations a bit so it is giving us more hunger to knuckle down and focus on winning title five next year which is our new ambition” , declared the Co - Captain.
Returnees Establish Company Serving The Gulf
The Enterprise Centre welcomed another tenant and start up when a local man and his wife established a new firm servicing clients from the part of the world where they previously worked , fell in love and married!
Relocating from the Middle East to Ballinasloe in August 2020, took a few months to actually get back due to airport closures in Oman but David Gallagher, his wife Salha Al Sabahi and their two children; Noorah aged 8 and Adam aged 5 managed to settle in.
David - completed his Leaving Cert at St Michael's Vocational School, worked for a few Years in Square D before studying in Civil Engineering in Athlone IT, progressing to an Honors Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Edinburgh.
He began his Engineering career in Galway with Tobin Consulting Engineers and then moved to the Middle East in 2007, working on some amazing mega projects throughout the Arabian Gulf .In 2011 he became a Chartered Engineer of Engineer's Ireland which saw his, career move towards the Project Management aspects of Construction.
His wife Salha - from Muscat, Oman attended schools in Malaysia, Sudan, Bahrain and Oman, as well as the city of St Louis in Missouri, USA for her 3rd level education in Business Administration.
She has previously worked in the Aviation industry, Event Management, Tourism Development and Property sectors in Kuwait and Oman and is currently completing a degree in Marketing.
They found setting up their own company a lot easier than expected- “our first Client is located in Dubai; my previous employer was helpful ; so we are currently providing support from Ireland on a large project, which I have been involved in since 2016” .states David.
The Project is in the heart of Dubai Marina, UAE. Where Gallagher PM is providing Contract Management support to a high rise (59 story) mixed use development, comprising of a Hotel, 362 Residential Apartments, Retail Units and a Yacht Club.
At Gallagher PM they offer tailored solutions for individual client requirements for all stages of the Construction cycle (Pre and Post Contract).
“The Enterprise Centre (BEC) is a 'one stop' shop, fully furnished offices, with high speed Internet. I was providing a service to our Client in Dubai within 10 minutes of walking into my new office – that’s the quality of the resources this location provides “, he explains.
Advantages of Ballinasloe as a business start up are easily identifiable it’s the other reasons that he and his wife found very attractive“ to find a wide range of school options, sporting facilities; great golf course, soccer club, GAA clubs, snooker club etc, other activities for children, e.g. Irish dancing, Galway Music Hub and the town library , coupled with great businesses within the town, to name a few: Gullane’s Hotel for Sunday carvery, Joes bar for live sports, Salmons Department Store, Supermacs ! plus many more.... is a huge plus” notes David.
Once they have a firm foundation, they would like to build the size of our Company but know it’s not going to be easy for the next 12 to 24 months.
When asked for advice for start ups - it boils down to a few core principals for them “ Do not rush, Do your Market research – not all from online, Assess all known risks and please speak to experienced professionals” are David’s Top tips.
They are indeed grateful to , Lyn Donnelly, James Coyle, Principal of Coyle & Company (Chartered Accountants), Gemma Costello, Bank Manager Galway South & East, Bank of Ireland
It’s best during COVID to contact by phone; 0858036652 or email; david@GallagherPM.com Website: www.GallagherPM.com is currently under construction and should be live by early 2021.
Superhero fanatic Noah (6) and farming-mad Rowan (4) Benson-Gately were diagnosed with a rare genetic disease, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), in January of this year.
Their parents are Sean Gately, a native of Dysart, Roscommon, and Bianca Benson, from Athlone. Sean is a brother to two well known Ballinasloe faces, Michael who works for Tony Carroll butchers and Anita Gately Burke, of Keller Travel for many years on Main Street. The Bensons are a well-known musical family from Athlone.
The condition is a progressive neuromuscular disorder, causes the muscles in the body to become weak, primarily in the hips and legs. DMD has no known cure, to date.
“To receive this diagnosis for both our sons was surreal and is still extremely difficult to comprehend” , sated Mum Bianca.
As time goes on, more and more support will be needed to ensure their passage through childhood and development is as smooth as possible in the circumstances, and in response, local community people of the Dysart/Ballyforan, launched the Noah & Rowan Benson-Gately Support Group in summer of this year.
Bianca and Sean are honest in acknowledging that the road ahead “ is not quite the life we had hoped or planned for our children , the road ahead will be tough but with the love and support of our families, friends and community ; we hope to make the journey a little easier for Noah and Rowan”.
The group is a community response to create a fund to support the development of the two boys and may also be used to cover any other unexpected financial burden associated with their wellbeing and quality of life. The Noah & Rowan Benson-Gately Support Group is also dedicated to raising awareness of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy while supporting the practical needs of Noah & Rowan into the future.
Earlier this year, a gofundme page at https://ie.gofundme.com/f/noah-and-rowan-bensongately-support-group was launched which introduced the family and their story to the wider public.
A family fun Cycle/Walk took place in August and a River Suck Decent Challenge where a group of hardy local volunteers, paddled the full 120km length of the Suck in Kayaks,! Both events we warmly supported. “ We have been truly touched by the enormous outpouring of compassion shown to us and wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to each and everyone for their support” states Bianca.
The next initiative is a fundraising draw where on Jan 2nd 2021, one lucky person will win a brand new Volkswagen Golf 8. Tickets are available online at www.winagolf.ie or from any of our committee members.
The group would like to acknowledge the support of Michael Moore car sales in Athlone and DPD who have made the whole event possible. Their support has enabled the group to offer this great prize and professionally set up the winagolf.ie website while promoting ticket sales through both their extensive networks. Ticket prices are 1 for €20, 3 for €50 and 7 for €100.
35 Years Of Fuel Merchants At Hobsons Lane
Peter’s father Anthony managed the business for years for the late Peter Joe Donohue beginning back in the middle 1980's. Anthony worked alongside the late Pat Corbett who was employed previously by Grenhams.
They continue to supply homes and businesses in the town and surrounding hinterland with a range of quality solid fuels and bottled gas.
Peter who lives in Fohenagh with his wife Philomena, daughters Anna and Maria and son Conor began with his Dad, in Hobsons Lane since he was 11 with summer jobs . Along with other part time jobs it provided income through school and indeed college.
Prior to taking over the business from Donohues in 2011 he worked in I.T. until he was made redundant during the crash 2008/09. “I always wanted to run my own business and when the opportunity arose I took it. So with Dad alongside we took it on and we will hopefully be celebrating 10 years as Peter Madden Fuels in May '21” .
Solid Fuels ie Coal, Smokeless Coal, Briquettes and bottled butane and propane gas are the main stay products for 6 days a week with a daily delivery service. They also carry a range of quality timber, wood briquettes, gas fittings and mobile heaters, as well as pet food and general household goods in store.
Recently they became Regional Agents for Irish Oxygen Industrial and Welding products, which allows them supply a range of gases for the engineering and metal fabrication sector - treatment, welding and cutting gases, i.e Oxygen, Acetylene, WeldShield and Argon.
Based in Cork, since 1949 when the Constant family set up the business to service the Steel & Motor industries- Irish Oxygen has developed a reputation second to none, producing and distributing industrial gases for industry, laboratories, agriculture, education and DIY users. It promises to be an exciting partnership going forward for Maddens Fuels.
Observing Tends in the Lockdowns Peter has seen lots home delivery and shopping over the phone, more electronic payments. “People did panic to begin with but it has evened out as customers are more assured about supply and their needs”, notes Peter.
“More people are turning to smokeless fuel as they are learning the benefits to both their pocket and the environment. There is a lot of new, more efficient appliances in use and on the market nowadays, a far cry from the Stanley 8 or the Aga. Come in and chat us. Don't think you have to bulk buy to save. Sample and try out different products and combinations to find what suits you and your appliance or house best“, advises Peter.
Peter, Pat, his wife Philomena and Dad Anthony who is being Covid conscious in present times but still active in the background are all on hand to assist.
Store open Monday to Friday 10 to 6 and Saturday 10 to 5. Phone 090964368 or 086 8629387
On 13th December @ 9.30am they are running their Christmas walk followed by a party. They will also be running a St Stephens day walk @10am. All details will be posted on the Facebook page (details below) and whatsapp group.
On setting up Ballinasloe Walks and Trails two years ago the aim was to bring awareness to the beautiful walks available on our doorstep and that has been far exceeded. As a group of friends walking for fun many friendships have developed.
People who would have found walking a kilometre daunting are now walking up to 15km three times a week. The environment of the group lends itself to walkers having a community where there few rules or regulations only to take full responsibility for their own safety, comfort and support their fellow walkers.
The benefits of walking are not just physical, mental and emotional, it certainly does your spirit good as well. Walkers chat along the way and there is always a stop for refreshments.
A favourite for many is along the banks of the canal. Even if you walked the length and back everyday there is such a diverse natural peace and grace to be found in the changing colours of the plants and vegetation, the insects and animals. This aliveness can truly invigorate and motivate the shyest of walkers to new levels of excitement and adventure.
The group enjoy preserving and patrolling these areas with efforts of clean-ups where some have yet to see the value in these walks and instead dump their rubbish. We will prevail and be guardians until they learn to stop destroying are their children’ s future.
“Ironically, in the year that we were all forced apart and disconnected from each other, I found a space to connect with others, ground myself, and find a new personal confidence. I have found social groups and meeting new people as many of us have sometimes daunting. With growing children though and more available time, loneliness can easily creep in. On the first morning of joining Walks and Trails despite my unusual anxiety a stronger desire took over my world. The warm welcome I received, the surprising beautiful scenery and the genuine fun had buoyed me along from walk to walk in the early days. “, states Sabrina Harvey who joined the group this spring.
She continues “ There is a soothing of my mind that occurs on the walks as I chat and connect with so many different people who have a variety of life experiences and knowledge. Interesting, kind, generous folk who share a curiosity in nature and each other. No matter what worries I may be carrying prior to the walks I certainly feel lighter after leaving them somewhere in the bog, forests, fields along the canal or within another's compassionate response. Ballinasloe Walks and Trails have given me a space and community to ease the aches of the heart. It is to borrow Oprah's phrase, of 'Soul Sunday'.
Some stand out walks for member Liam Kenny include Ballinasloe to Shannon Harbour, a long ramble starting at the canal in Poolboy across flat bogland and well defined paths all the way to Shannon Harbour. It was a long hike but a fabulous sunny Sunday finishing with well deserved refreshments in the village before getting the bus home.
Clonmacnoise, another beautiful loop walk starting at the monastery and progressing uphill with beautiful views of the monastery and river. After about 9 km we turned back and I think it was downhill all the way home.
Woodlawn Woods, is a little treasure of a walk, tracking all the way through the woods and around by the house and other interesting buildings, is to be highly recommended .
“Walking can reduces stress, helps to ward of depression, gives you more energy and a great nights sleep after a good hike, Liam explains . “ For me, not the most social of people at the best of times I find I have developed a great circle of friends through walking and I can happily spend time in their company chatting and listening to their expertise on anything from trees, birds, plants and indeed butterflies, more should join “, states Liam
There has been vociferous mounting pressure from Government and indeed opposition public representatives over the seeking of replacement industry for the APTAR workforce and plant in the Creagh IDA Business Park.
Since the Summer announcement of impending closure and confirmation in October that all jobs are lost; the Government pledged first support for the plant and then a commitment to spearhead a swift response to find a replacement industry.
Claire Kerrane T.D. was first out of the traps in the Dáil in early summer but more locally Cllr. Evelyn Parsons proposed to Director of Services , Mr. Hanrahan in September that he would liaise with the Director of Community, Enterprise and Economic Development and ask that contact be made with both Enterprise Ireland and the I.D.A with a view to relaying and discussing the impact which the closure has had. All the members of the MDC expressed concern for the employees who have been affected by Aptar’s closure and the knock on impact which the closure is having.
Deputy Denis Naughten TD has recently challenged the Tainiste and Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar T.D. on the need for him to take personal ownership of actions to secure replacement jobs.
“Since last June I have consistently highlighted the need for a pro-active approach to be taken by Government,” explained Denis Naughten. “I am disappointed that not only has the Government been unable to save the Aptar operation and protect local jobs, but I fail to see what measures have been taken over the last two months to help secure alternative sources of employment for the 115 workers .I have again pressed the Tánaiste to chair a meeting of all State agencies, as well as the two Local Authorities in Galway and Roscommon, to implement a co-ordinated strategy for Ballinasloe”, stated Denis.
Meanwhile Senator Aisling Dolan has confirmed that the Tánaiste will host a video call with relevant State agencies and local authorities focusing on investment and job creation locally.
Senator Aisling Dolan stated “I have been in constant communication with the Tánaiste and he acknowledged my concerns when speaking in the Dáil this week and confirmed that Ballinasloe is a priority for the Government. I look forward to welcoming him again to town when public health conditions allow.”
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, said: “I know that Aisling has been working hard on this issue over the past few months and engaging with my Department and IDA officials. The job losses are very disappointing but Ballinasloe has a lot to offer and I have asked our agencies, particularly the IDA, to work on creating new employment opportunities in the area.”
“With a scale of over 65,000 sq ft for future investment, it is one of few sites of this size in the country and Ballinasloe is the perfect location for FDI investment off the M6 motorway and only an hour and 20 minutes to Dublin airport. We have skilled graduates and access to third level expertise with Athlone IT as part of a new Technological University (TU) on our doorstep. We are focused on future industries such as life sciences, healthcare and medtech industries “ , concluded Senator Aisling Dolan.
NEW TOWN VOUCHER IDEAL FOR CHRISTMAS
The NEW ‘Town Voucher Ballinasloe’ makes the ideal gift this Christmas. The vouchers can be used in all participating businesses and are not limited to any one store or business – giving shoppers greater choice when shopping throughout the town. To date over €15,000 worth of vouchers has been purchased since launching three weeks ago.
Currently available through Salmons Department Store, Dolans Centra and www.ShopBallinasloe.ie. the vouchers come in denominations of €10, €20 and €50. They are available all year round, making them the ideal gift option for any occasion as well as ideal prizes for Raffles, Draws, Golf Classics and Table Quiz’s.
Local employers who operate performance related payment and bonuses for their staff should consider gifting them Town Vouchers. Under the Small Benefits Exemptions Scheme, employers can reward employees up to €500 in Town Vouchers, completely tax-free and saving them and their employees money.
Reaction has been very positive from business owners and service providers “ I’m thrilled with the town voucher incentive and the support from the community. ShopBallinasloe has enabled me to keep my business open even behind closed doors. The team have been a great support since signing up last April” states Kathleen Naughton – Kathleen’s Fashions.
“ We ‘ve seen a huge interest in store already – with many customers enquiring about the new vouchers when purchasing bikes, helmets and accessories . We are delighted to be part of the initiative and the ShopBallinasloe team are incredibly supportive – making it easy and hassle free for us retailers to promote our business”, explains Barry Taylor – Barry’s Cycles.
Shopping local and supporting local businesses and jobs has never been more important. With a clear and simple message to ‘buy local’, ensuring the town survives. By choosing these vouchers everyone is making a difference that benefits the community !
The Greenway Project team have confirmed potentially 5 route options available for stage 2 of the Public Consultation from January 2021. With current public health restrictions, this may be an online process.
Cllr Evelyn Parsons welcomed the funding boost from Government announced last month “In particular it’s great to note the Athlone to Galway Greenway under TII is allocated €8.1million euro, the third highest allocation announced nationally. From the recent public consultation, where the Ballinasloe community really engaged robustly, it's clear that this is the type of investment and sustainable sensitive development we want to see coming through Poolboy, Ballinasloe - not trucks.” stated Cllr. Evelyn.
Denis Naughton TD also welcomed the news “While this project through East Galway is at an early stage of planning I hope, in the short term, that Athlone Castle and the Battle Site at Aughrim can be linked using both on-road and off-road sections to create a Siege Cycleway linking both historic sites. I believe this would enhance the local tourism offering as well as attract visitors to Aughrim, which was the bloodiest battlefield in Irish history.”
He also stressed that it is important that local communities let the consultants working on the project know what local areas have to offer and to also to continue to express their support, in principle, for a cycleway linking Athlone to Ballinasloe to Athenry and right through to Galway City.
“However, the bridge over the Shannon and the link to Ballinasloe, also provides an opportunity to develop safe routes for children in South Westmeath, South Roscommon and East Galway to cycle to school as well as reducing their carbon footprint” , noted the TD.
The €8 million investment which is 100% funding for Local Authorities to accelerate this project, comprising of €4 million to progress the Athlone to Galway route and €4 million to bring the Greenway across the Shannon on a designated walking and cycling only bridge. The 4th bridge to cross the Shannon at Athlone and into the West is hopefully bringing all these visitors one step closer to Ballinasloe!
Senator Aisling Dolan is enthusiastic about the next phase :
“As a champion for Ballinasloe on the Greenway route - I look forward to seeing the cycle way options in January and that Ballinasloe could feature on 2-3 of these routes. 600 submissions during stage 1 for the whole route and 200 people who made submissions through my office shows that people see the benefits of the Cycleway for our town and surrounding areas. A pro-active and consultative approach with land-owners working with IFA Best Practice guidelines is crucial. If people have any queries please do contact the Greenway Project Team in town on (091) 509267 or myself on 086 3690719“
All public representatives believe Ballinasloe is a strong choice for next destination in the West and Hidden Heartlands along the Grand Canal and River Suck Blueways & Marina. The Cycleway will be fantastic infrastructure for our families and communities to walk and cycle bringing opportunities for off-farm income and tourism business transforming towns and villages along the way.
“We want a future that brings investment, tourism and opportunity. I will work to ensure that our County Development Plan reflects this vision for Ballinasloe area and that publicly owned lands along the Grand Canal and the River Suck Callows are used for development of environmentally positive projects to benefit biodiversity, quality of life and eco-tourism. By working in consensus with our communities and prioritising publicly owned lands where possible, we will deliver a Cycleway for the benefit of all in the West” explained the Senator.
For further Information on the project visit - https://www.galwaytoathlonecycleway.com/
The town centre is poised to see a large unused site on the corner of Dunlo Hill and Dunlo Street redeveloped by Galway County Council in a bid to tackle to the huge pressures on the local municipal area housing waiting list.
The 1.8 acre site of the iconic Dooleys Bar and Grocery alongside some 7 residential town houses sweeping up to the Mount has been targeted by the Council Executive and promoted by local Councillor Dermot Connolly.
Members of the Municipal District Area Council have been informed of the progress on this exciting project led by the continuous questioning of the Nutfield based Councillor over a series of Autumn meetings.
Members were informed officially by Director of Services Mr. Liam Hanrahan that the numbers on the waiting list for the County was 3,400 of which 540 were expressly for the Ballinasloe Electoral Area.
“ With the amount of representations that I and our T.D. Claire Kerrane are getting , I feel these lists could be underestimated somewhat – when we asked the then Housing Officer Michael Owen some 18 months ago we got a figure closer to 800. I think possible these figures are leaving out those persons in support of HAP scheme and indeed the one preceeding it – the RAP scheme , as well as new applications not on the list.“ stated Cllr. Connolly.
Councillor Dermot Connolly has been pushing for a number of years for the Council to use National Funding to acquire unused sites in town centre locations; having seen the results of a pilot scheme in Monaghan County Council presented to the Western Development Commission of which he is a member; some years ago.
“ I have been advocating that our Council use our town centres as suitable residential locations for those in our community who have town centre needs and may not always have access to a car. We can better serve the needs of all those our area housing lists if look at the possibility of what is under our feet” stated Cllr Dermot.
The Councillors were informed at their Sept meeting that Departmental approval has been received for the purchase of the site at Dunlo Hill and that Preliminary Engineering and Architectural Reports were being prepared.
At the October meeting arising from Cllr. Dermot Connollys questions the Director of Services advised that the Part 8 Planning process for the development at Dunlo Hill would commence when the legal issues have been resolved.
“I am looking forward to moving the Part 8 Process ( to allow the Council to fast track the planning and Capital Development ) in the new year as soon as we clear the outstanding issues and providing more renewal and hope for people in the new year “, stated Cllr. Dermot.
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