Originally hailing from New Ross, Co. Wexford, Marie Lyons has recently set up her own counselling practice in the town. Marie is the daughter of the late James Cullen, former business owner and the late Maureen (nee Lyons), who hailed from Portumna, Co. Galway, and is sister to Brendan, who currently resides as an accountant in Attyrory, Creagh, and the late Seán.
Although at first pursuing a nursing career following her training in Jervis Street Hospital, Dublin, Marie came to Ballinasloe in 1988, has one daughter Tracy, and began working in Square D Company, where she remained until its closure in January 2003. From there, she held periods of work in Whyte’s Nursing Home, Garbally View and finally St. Brigid’s Hospital. After her brother Seán took his own life, Marie took some time out of work to deal with the tragedy, which had a devastating impact on her life. She obtained a diploma in Drugs Counselling & Intervention Skills, and went on to work in residential addiction treatment Centres and community based organisations throughout Ireland, before returning to education in 2017, where she was awarded an Honours Degree in Counselling & Addiction Studies from the Irish College of Humanities & Applied Sciences.
Marie, like many other new business owners, is a member of the Pulse Club. “It is a great asset to the town for excellent networking and mentoring service and workshops on how to start your own business, managing finance etc. There have been many guest speakers which were all very informative, including presentations by entrepreneurs above the Library on the first Tuesday of every month. Personally, I felt very welcome when I first joined the group, and have been supported by fellow members. It is a very positive group which gave me the initiative to start up my own business” added Marie.
Marie Lyons’ Personal Counselling and Addiction Therapy offers the following therapy services:
The ‘Town Enhancement Scheme’ or ‘Big Dig’ that has been taking place in the town has reached its halfway mark recently. The works, by SIAC Construction and Ryan Hanley Consulting Engineers, began their first phase of three at the beginning of the year, and have since reached near completion of that initial phase, with just Main Street left to be worked on.
Phase One works consisted of mostly underground workings around the town centre. This included the laying of sewers, water mains, ducts and all associated connections and fittings. These works were carried out on Society Street, resulting in a full road closure for a number of months, as well as St. Michael’s Square and Dunlo Street, where works are just finishing up on the lower portion of the street. On Dunlo Street, existing paths have been removed, with ducting being installed, as well as new kerbing, paving, street furniture being installed and services being put under ground. The main road will be resurfaced and new pavements are a real overture of how the new streetscape will.unfold for the next few decades. Once this section of the works is completed, works will continue towards Hayden's Hotel under a similar road closure. Works are scheduled to be completed in Dunlo Street by mid-September.
There is no plan to have works contrinuing during Fair week. Post Fair the refurbishments will continue at Central junction and then onto Main Street. These works are scheduled to be completed by January 2020. Once completed, the upgrading works will then proceed in Society Street again, starting at the Central junction and working out towards the Courthouse. As well as that, works have commenced to install a combined sewer from an existing manhole at the Civic building to an existing manhole at the Shearwater Hotel, located beside the R446.
Phase 2 of the scheme involves the works outside the town centre area. Throughout this phase, the contractor will continue working during the consolidation period for the town centre area, and works are sufficiently separated so that all works areas can be progressed at the same time. Due to this, no road closures are envisaged in this time. These works will take place by Sarsfield Drive, Bridge Street Outer, Church Street, Hymany Park, Creagh and St. Joseph’s Place.
Finally, Phase 3 works entail the completion of street enhancement works, involving laying of kerbs, footpaths, parking bays, road reinstatement, installation of new bins, benches, cycle stands, railings removal of existing lighting columns and overhead lines, installation of new lighting columns and lamps and planting of trees.
The works on Main Street are set to take place from September 2019 to January 2020, and Society Street’s works will take place from January 2020 to April 2020. The end goal of the ‘Town Enhancement Scheme’ is to have a 21st century town that’s attractive not only to its residents, but to customers from all over the hinterland. These works will lead to a more pedestrian friendly environment in the town centre, and alongside a traffic calming scheme, as well as a more welcoming streetscape hopefully creating a positive experience for visitors.
For more information on the Big Dig, keep posted to the Ballinasloe Life Facebook page, or visit ‘www.ballinasloetownenhancement.ie’ for further details.
By Donogh Moore
The Ballinasloe District Municipal Council held their first two meetings of their five year tenure recently. To begin, the new Cathaoirleach and Leas-Cathaoirleach for the coming year were elected, in the form of poll-topper Councillor Tim Broderick, and first-time Councillor Aishling Dolan.
The scale of the housing crisis within the area was fully exposed with the tabling of a report showing 485 families on the housing waiting list with a further 285 in receipt of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). The housing agency O’Colohan & Co, who are keen to partner with Galway County Council on a pilot scheme for a housing alliance in the area, (which hasn’t been done outside of major urban zones before), presented to the councillors. The agency completed a similar scheme in Ardmore, Co. Waterford recently.
It was unanimously agreed that this scheme may provide an opportunity for the town to start building, with a mockup of three different types of accommodation being shown. Affordable housing would make up around 60% of the proposed building, with both affordable rental accommodation and social housing taking up around 20% each. Given the new larger size of the district in terms of scale and sprawl over which the council presides, it was resolved that one council meeting would be held outside of the town every six months. There was broad agreement shown at this proposal, with councillors agreeing that more effort needed to be shown to the communities in the far reaches of the district. However, the decision is now referred by bye law to a corporate policy group, who will then decide whether these two moves a year, would be feasible.
As is always the case post elections councillors nominated by their colleague to various different committees and bodies with responsibilities:
Finally, the Municipal District Council put its weight of support behind the town's application to Minister Ring’s Department for ‘Rural Regeneration’ scheme, despite having been denied support three times already. The scheme application this year is a joint application by the local authority, in conjunction with the Ballinasloe Area Community Development team.
Cathaoirleach Tim Broderick said that the grant aid for much needed investment in enterprise and rural economy was a “huge opportunity”, and that it was “imperative that we get our slice of this”.
63 teams and over 600 children from all over Connaught battled it out in the second phase of the Connaught Community Games Finals to secure their place in University of Limerick for the Finals over the weekend.
From Skittles to Rounders, Tag Rugby to Spikeball, Gaelic Football to Soccer, there was a wealth of sporting talent in the town from children from all over Connacht.
John Mulligan of Galway Bay FM was stationed in the Emerald Ballroom for the day and kept the county updated with the results and news.
The Connaught Community Games Finals were opened in the Emerald Ballroom by Cllr Jimmy McClearn of Galway County Council. Special Guests, Councillors Dermot Connolly and Aisling Dolan were at the opening ceremony to support the Games and were very enthusiastic about the array of events and the facilities in Ballinasloe being showcased.
Two Ballinasloe teams were in the Tag Rugby finals with the U14 being declared Connacht Champs - unfortunately the U11s were pipped at the post by just one point! The U14 team will now make there way to University of Limerick for the All Ireland Finals in the Aldi Community Games August Festival.
Carmel Grealy, Chairperson of Connaught Community Games said "This is a great opportunity for Ballinasloe to showcase the fantastic sporting facilities it has in the town and its surrounds. Everyone came together and all it took was a phone call to secure a venue and volunteers for the occasion. I would like to say a special thank you to organisers, coaches, referrees, co-ordinators and volunteers who gave up their time to make today a successful day for the children. I''d also like to thank Colm Croffy of Ballinasloe Life, Councillors Aisling Dolan and Dermot Connolly, my fellow committee members and everyone else who supported us."
John Byrne, CEO of Aldi Community Games said "I'm delighted to be here today and it's inspiring to see so many young people from all over the Province made so welcome in Ballinasloe. Ballinasloe has superb sporting facilities and it's great to see them all in use today for Community Games. "
The venues over the weekend ranged from the Emerald Ballroom to the Fair Green to Duggan Park and as far as the Rugby Club and the Kiltormer Sports Complex. Ballinasloe Library kindly supplied eco-friendly bags and water bottles to children playing skittles!
Summer Stars At Ballinasloe Library
The Summer Stars Reading Adventure will run in Ballinasloe Library until 31 August. The challenge is to read 8 library books in total (eAudio, eBooks, annuals, graphic novels, books on CD etc are acceptable). On registration, you get a Summer Star Reading Card, Bookmark and a Wristband. Every child who completes the challenge will receive a Certificate, Medal, a Summer Stars library bag, and an invitation to the prize-giving ceremony on Tue. 17 Sep. at 5pm. You can also write a book review or colour a picture for prizes.
Our annual Summer Stars Master Builder Lego competition will run from 17 – 31 August. This year’s theme is ‘My Fantastic Adventure’ and you can bring your creation to the library for display between 17 - 31 August. Winners will be announced on 7 September.
Check out our Facebook page for information on Pop-Up Workshops and Storytime.
Planning permission has been granted for a 5 Screen Cinema to be built near Tesco's in Ballinasloe! The application was for a five screen, single-storey Omniplex approximately 7.9m high with associated car parking and the gross floor space of the project is 1123m².
The owners of the land, Limehill Esker Limited, have an agreement with Omniplex Holdings.
Kelly’s Printing Works or KPW as it is now known, was founded by the late Sylvester Kelly in St Michael’s Square in 1949. Starting in a 200 sq. ft. workshop, the business purchased the old “East Galway Democrat” premises in Society Street in 1950 and in 1983 they moved to Poolboy Industrial Estate where they now operate from a 30,000 sq. ft. unit, catering for all types of printing for the home and international markets. Now trading under the name KPW Print Management with Brendan and Michael Kelly as directors, the company now employs over 30 people and it proudly boasts the third generation of the Kelly family employed in the business.
Celebrating its 70th Birthday this year is truly a momentous milestone in the history of Ballinasloe after a 33-year-old man had the foresight to establish a “New-look Printing” outlet. Unfortunately Sylvester passed away inside six months of its opening but his brother Michael took over the reins when he purchased “The Democrat” in 1950. He was joined by his sons, Ken in 1955, Michael S. in 1969 and Brendan in 1980 before modern technology forced the family to seek more space. They became the first occupants on the new Poolboy Industrial Estate, when in November 1983, they moved into a 5,000 sq. ft. specially designed plant.
Soon the company was employing for the first time and as the business grew they were forced to add new equipment and enlarge their factory space to a massive 30,000 sq.ft. over a few years. They became the first printers in the West of Ireland to introduce computer continuous printing, with the installation of a £1.2million machine, which attracted customers from every county in Ireland as well as overseas. KPW was even contracted to print Electricity Bills for the Ugandan Government as well as customers in South Africa and Australia. Now employing over thirty workers, the company have six graphic designers to meet the needs of its medical and corporate customers nationwide.
“Customer relationships are paramount here in KPW” said MD, Brendan Kelly. “We have a great team here who can cater for all types of designs, printing and delivery. Our 24-hour express colour printing service is in big demand while our range of Memoriam, Wedding and Baby Cards is comprehensive” he explained. Brendan further added “Printing has changed a lot over the past seventy years and we have moved with it. We have now one of the most modern plants in Ireland, producing everything from a raffle ticket to programmes, hardbound books, cheques, continuous stationery, all-weather outdoor signs, rollup display signs etc. The recent elections saw up print for candidates in ten constituencies which was an indication of our quality service.”
KPW have kept abreast with many changes in its industry – an industry that has claimed the demise of so many print companies over the past 12 years. KPW has invested wisely and conservatively over the same period and has made crucial decisions to partner with like-minded companies where they share expertise and particular types of work that is to each other’s satisfaction. While KPW now boasts a major producer in the production of Pharmaceutical and medical life instruction leaflets to many of Ireland’s leading companies, it still relies on commercial print work and continues to design, print and stock hold products for Ireland’s biggest hotel chains, supplying not only their Irish sites but also their UK outlets.
To meet the needs of their loyal customers, five years ago KPW made a significant investment in the production of sign making equipment. In particular for the past month they have been very busy producing Election signage for all the parties in the Local and European elections. “KPW wishes to acknowledge the loyalty shown by so many politicians who continue to support their local printer. Likewise we are fully aware of all the local businesses who have supported KPW since 1949. The company makes every effort to support local businesses and to buy locally and to always offer our own customers any business we can!” concluded Brendan Kelly.
Find out more by visiting www.kpw.ie
Jay Mulligan, the Manager of ShearFitness Gym, moved to Galway from Dublin three years ago. With an extensive background in strength and conditioning and more performance-based sports, he has been coaching since he was a young teenager and has always enjoyed improving those around him – which coincidentally, is his plan for members in Ballinasloe. The team at ShearFitness Gym and Leisure Centre is comprised of many individuals, both from the local area and newer residents to the town. Jay said: “The aim when assembling this team was to provide the people of the area with both friendly and highly qualified instructors, both in the pool and on the gym floor. The fitness industry today has so many different types of training and coaching, and we wanted to make sure we covered most, and if not all of these.“
Jack Curley is the Leisure Centre Supervisor, as well as the centre’s Swim Lesson Coordinator and Health and Safety Officer. A native of the local area, Jack and his younger sister Jess both teach swimming lessons in the centre, with Jess focusing on weekend and private lessons, as she studies Early Childhood Learning, in Limerick. Rachel Greene is another of the centre’s swim instructors. Whilst juggling a nutrition degree in Cork during the week, Rachel oversees swimming classes at the weekend. Donogh Flannery, a Limerick native, used to work on the Munster Rugby coaching panel. He oversees most of the centre’s morning classes and has an extensive knowledge in the strength and conditioning field. Donogh has proven to hold a wealth of knowledge that any attendees of his classes can attest to.
Paddy McHugh, another team member, devotes his time between the leisure centre and his Physical Therapy studies. As a long serving member of the team, he specialises in high intensity workout classes. Niall Clerkin, who is the newest member of staff, has a high interest in strength training and Powerlifting, and he coaches both members and himself in the sport. Denise Gill is the centre’s highly qualified first aid responder, which works quite well in tandem with the intensity of some of classes. Another long serving member of the team, Denise is on hand to react and deal with any injuries that may arise as members are participating in classes, or just training on their own.
Inga Budreviclute joined the leisure centre’s team in January of this year, and with her brought an army of followers. The classes she teaches are always near capacity, and she leads these by example in an engaging and helpful manner. If Inga is not teaching a class, then she can often be found training in the gym herself. While these are the centre’s main group of superheroes, as affectionately referred to by their manager, there are more staff that work hard to ensure that ShearFitness provides as high quality a service to their members as they can.
The hotel’s ‘Kids Zone’ staff are constantly helping out around the gym and leisure centre, and are often found working at the reception. Jay said: “We are still currently training their super powers, but they are an invaluable piece of our crew and most of whom have progressed so well over the last few months.”
Jay‘s stock in trade response to How do I tone up and lose weight? is: “Everybody has their own individual calorie number in which they need to hit to maintain bodyweight. For example, 1000 calories would be that number for someone. If you go over this number, you put on weight, if you go under this number, you lose weight. It’s relatively simple - just be at a caloric deficit. Eat less, become more active and stop having weekend binges.“ states Jay. The team in ShearFitness is always growing and looking for new member. News, both regarding the centre and new hires, is always being updated on the centre’s social media channels, which can be found on Facebook at: ShearWater Leisure Centre.
By Donogh Moore
Although Raj Lyons-Chohan was born in London, he moved back to Ballinasloe aged 5 alongside his mother Anne-Marie and younger sister Zoe. His mum, coming from Quansboro, Killimor, brought Raj and his sister up in Hymany Park. He attended primary school in Creagh, under the guidance of the principal Tony Broderick, and from there furthered his education in Garbally College. Once he left school, Raj got involved in the automotive industry and after spending over 15 years working in both the British and Irish market, he now specializes in Electric vehicles.
From a very early age he was exposed to the world of entrepreneurship, thanks in no small part to his grandfather, Michael Lyons, running a highly successful trophy shop - Lyons Trophies. It was from him where Raj learned the most important fundamental aspect of any business, "The Customer Experience", and this is the foundation on which Raj plans to build all his future businesses. When an advertisement for ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ caught his eye, Raj decided to submit an idea that he had been thinking about, under the ‘Best Business Idea’ category. Raj himself said: “This has honestly been one of the best decisions I have ever made. The support I have received from the Local Enterprise Office in Galway has been excellent. It truly was a great honour to be shortlisted from hundreds of applications to compete for the title of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur 2019.”
These awards offer huge incentives for budding entrepreneurs. With an IBYE investment fund of €50,000 each, every local enterprise office will award up to six investments to three category winners and three runners-up at county level. The business idea, titled ‘EV ENERGY – Your Electric Car Partner’ has high ambitions. It hopes to be the Booking.com and AirBnB equivalent to the electric car charging network. EV Energy hopes to give drivers the ultimate charging experiences, all the while promoting businesses, towns, cities and tourism pathways that have electric car charging stations and services.
Having Ballinasloe as the base of the business is the plan for the foreseeable future. Citing several reasons for this, Raj said “I would strongly recommend the area for other businesses - not only to set up base in the town but also to existing business that are expanding; look into Ballinasloe. The town is ideally located beside the motorway plus the local train station has a very strong link with regular journeys to various stations around the country coming through every day. With a good population in the area, recruitment and more importantly staff retention can be achieved with relative ease.” Finally, Raj has some words of advice for anyone young or old, that has a business idea. “Don't keep them in your head. Don’t be afraid to speak to people about your idea, 1% is the idea, and 99% of your success comes from the execution. Get in contact with the local support groups, as you would be amazed by what help is out there.”
In Ireland, remote working is growing in popularity but from a relatively small base. Grow Remote organisers estimate that there are around 220,000 people working remotely in Ireland currently. Some of the international companies with operations here have already started implementing these policies. Shopify now has employees working in all 26 counties and has grown rapidly by outpacing the targets it set for the Irish operation. The Canadian e-commerce company started with basic frontline business and customer support positions but has since expanded its workforce by adding many more roles. Wayfair announced it was launching a “virtual workforce” of more than 200 new jobs around Ireland, aiming to tap into an even broader talent pool and provide employment opportunities to a wide range of qualified candidates.
The ESRI has noted that job stress owing to commuting times and other factors has doubled from 2010 to 2015 – all leading to workforce seeking changes to work remotely from home and leave the gridlock of commute behind them. It’s estimated that 50% of the workforce will be remote by 2040.
Grow Remote opened its 60th Chapter in town recently when Renate Kohlmann launched the branch at the Library. Over 30 people ,presenters, trainers, funders and potential workers interested in learning more about the sector and the concept were delivered a full Information and Induction evening into a new “Cottage“ style industry of the 21st Century.
Grow Remote was founded on Whatsapp by a couple of Irish Remote Workers in Autumn of 2019 and has now grown in 18 months to over 60 groups in 4 countries. The Volunteer led and owned network is to
1) help Community find employment
2) Help Repopulate their local area
3) Help remote workers engage locally.
The evening had passionate presentations from a cofounder Tracey Keogh of Kinvara, and Gary Mullin who is a team leader with Shopify working remotely out of Athenry. Tracey reflected on the trajectory of the REMOTE network and the power it is having in remote rural places like Achill, Valentia, Ballymahon and Cootehill in getting young couples from the Irish and UK Cities to return or resettle to locations they are happier having a healthier work life balance in. She reported that everyone in Government circles was very positive about the impact these jobs could have in rejuvenating rural Ireland – alongside (of course) access to broadband. She spoke of Seminars, Conferences and Town or Area Visits that different Chapters were promoting around the country to get people to lessen the isolation of working remotely. She wished Renate and the Chapter well in getting established in Ballinasloe.
Gary from Spotify told it as it was and surprised many with the range of companies looking for entry level and specialist remote worker. The jobs package and specs on offer were from anywhere between a median salary of €29,000 for a 35 hour week, training, allowances and up to 25 day holiday allowance with flexible working hours and fixed levels of client or customer interaction - upwards.
There were then some perspectives on leading innovative educators who recognise that not everyone can come to this work zone without some training. There were insightful presentations from Nuala McGinn NUIG, Patricia Farrell from the GRETB who spoke about the range of courses, CPD opportunities and certification processes that they are developing to cope with demand for these type of new posts. Renate, in wrapping up the evening, spoke about how a dedicated Remote working Hub in the locality would be a huge asset in raising awareness and getting more people to join the Remote Chapter and seek out new opportunities. Examples of where to find remote working opportunities are are: employmum.ie, freelancer.com, abodoo.com, remoteur.com, dynamitejobs.com, or LinkedIn, Indeed, Google or the EURemote Jobs Facebook page. For more information on the branch email or visit this link
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