Leo Varadkar dropped by Balliasloe recently and some locals met him. Have a scroll through some of the photos!
Following on from the announcement of Billy Wards retirement after over thirty years working with Ballinasloe Training for Employment as a Supervisor, the Directors have announced the appointment of Patricia Tierney as the new Supervisor.
Patricia is a Atticorry, Creagh native with over fifteen years working as assistant supervisor within Ballinasloe Training for Employment. She has strong roots working with many community groups over the years, serving as secretary/treasurer for Ballinasloe Rugby Club as well as managing their under 18 and Inaugural Senior Women’s Teams, she is currently a trustee with the club. She served for over seven years on the board of Ballinasloe Credit Union as a voluntary Director as well as being involved in other community groups and activity.
She graduated from AIT Athlone with an honours degree in Business, Social Enterprise, leadership Management and Community Development and is IPass certified and has a Diploma in Training and Education from NUIG and Training and Development from IITD.
Ballinasloe Training for Employment CLG is a Department of Social Protection scheme that was founded in the 1990’s and is run by a voluntary board of directors. Its aim is to help unemployed people re-enter the workforce by offering relevant work experience of their career choice alongside bespoke certified training to help them upskill.
Participants are provided with useful on the job learning in a wide variety of areas including Reception, Administration, Accounts, Cleaning, Maintenance, IT/social media and Community Development, General Trades, Environmental and Pitch development. They typically provide work experience through postings with over sixteen community, not for profit and voluntary groups in the Ballinasloe Area who act as sponsors.
The Scheme aims to provide a welcoming environment to support, facilitate and encourage individuals to develop professionally and personally, through one-on-one person centred career planning. Participants can identify their goals as well s their learning and training and skills needs. As training is such an integral part of community employment, a dedicated training plan is in place for each participant supported by undertaking job related training.
They strive to give participants the skills and experience they need in order to progress to mainstream employment or further education depending on the overall goal of each participant and their background in life.
The scheme is not just for young school leavers, but in recent years has proved a valuable steppingstone for Mothers re- entering the workforce after some years with small children, other participants mid career who have since COVID – re – evaluated what they wish to achieve or do next. Those who were laid off or those who may wish to try something very different. People returning to live in the West – who thought their working life was finished but in seeking part time hours locally, often use this scheme as a stepping stone to find a position they find worthwhile.
Ballinasloe Training for Employment are always looking for new participants to join the team. They are also currently advertising to hire an Assistant Supervisor (https://jobsireland.ie/)
If you would like to find out more information on Community Employment, please call 090 9631652.
Plans well underway in Ballinasloe for their annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2023
The Parade will assemble at the Fairgreen car park, at 1:30p.m on Friday 17th March and will begin at 2p.m. sharp via Society Street, Main St, Slí Na hAbhainn, Dunlo Street and passing the reviewing stand in St Michael’s Square.
There will be lots of on-street entertainment for spectators to enjoy on the day.
We are honoured to announce that Sr Alacoque, who has made a tremendous contribution to the community, will be our Parade Marshall.
Sr. Alacoque Gleeson will lead all the pageantry in March as Ballinasloe celebrates with one of largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in county Galway.
Sr. Alacoque, is a native of Blueball, Co Offaly is a Mercy Sister, and was Director of Ballinasloe Social Services’ Day Care Centre from 1982 – 2009, when she retired from her nursing post with the HSE. She has been on the Board since 1982 and was Chairperson from 2003 -2006. She remained a member of the Board until 2019. She continues to have a keen interest in Ballinasloe Social Services and helps out in various fundraising events during the year, along with being an active member of the local community
Participants may choose from FIVE categories including:
The organisers are appealing to the local business community to assist with sponsoring the cost of the parade.
We encourage the local Schools, Sports Clubs, Voluntary Organisations, Dancing Schools, Musicians and Businesses to take part in the parade.
It gives us all the opportunity to showcase all of the positive aspects that our town and surrounding areas have to offer.
So come along to the Ballinasloe Parade and help to make it a special day of celebration, and a fun day for all of the family.
For inquiries please contact:
IBAL’s Top Town In Galway
Ballinasloe received an excellent result on the recent Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) survey, being tied at 13th for cleanest town or city in Ireland and cleanest in County Galway. Six out of the ten sites examined received the highest grade of an A and, more significantly, there were no seriously littered areas.
The R348 Athenry approach and R357 Roscommon approach roads were highlighted for having a virtual absence of litter along both routes, although the pavement along the Athenry route was cracked in some areas.
The Famine Remembrance Park was commended for its mature trees, and open grass space but criticised for one bin considered old or damaged. Creagh National School and Kilgarve Gardens were complimented for their appearance and conditions. All these sites gained an A in the IBAL survey.
The La Poer Trench Monument, Ballinasloe Library and the Bring Facility received a B+, being praised for their presentation but marked down for the presence of some litter. The Main Street gained a B which was downgraded due to food and cigarette waste, however was congratulated for its positive condition regarding paving, bollards, markings, street bins and ornamental trees.
The outcome of this National Survey and Adjudicators reports was overall positive encouraging news for the town. An Taisce, the group who conducted these surveys for IBAL, stated that this was “an excellent result for Ballinasloe”.
Much of this solid progress can be attributed the volunteers and indeed to Ballinasloe Municipal Council and their workers who have been active in maintaining to the town. Ballinasloe Tidy Towns Chair Tom Madden congratulated all who continue to help make it all happen.
“I wish to sincerely thank all volunteers, individuals who while out and about on walks volunteer with litter picks and report instances of litter blackspots to us. Members of residents’ associations deserve great credit as they work tirelessly keeping their estates and residential areas clean, tidy and well maintained. Galway County Council , Muncipal District Area Workers and Support Staff – are to be applauded as well - Ballinasloe Friends of the Environment ( a recently formed sub-group )that has hit the ground running last Autumn with a wild flower seed planting initiative in the Poolboy area. Ballinasloe Training for Employment is a local DSP Community Employment project, who in partnership with Ballinasloe Community Service Probation Project continues to provide expertise in ground maintenance and litter control in targeted areas of Ballinasloe and its environs.” stated Tom.
The group hopes to organize clean-up Saturdays within the town, for Feb/11th & 25th, March 11th & 25th .
If anyone would like to become involved with the volunteer effort, they can contact Tom at 086 8179580.
Tennis Xmas Tournament A Success
Ballinasloe and District Tennis Club held their annual in-house Christmas Tournament organised by club member Emily Riddell. Hosted on a cold, dry day, and played on the new courts (which were completed last August), the players enjoyed some successful exercise after Christmas
The club also held their Tennis Ball party recently at Gullane’s Hotel to celebrate the success in recent years. It was a great night of music, disco and dancing for the club, with finger food for the guests.
Works are ongoing at the courts, with installation of floodlights on site to be installed imminently. Soon afterwards, the club hopes to connect their water supply to the temporary clubhouse for kitchen facilities and toilets. When completed the club will be able to offer a very high standard of facilities to the ever-growing membership of the club , locally and beyond.
In the meantime, the group continue their open club sessions every Sunday from 11:00 to 12:00 for beginners, and 12:00 until 14:00 for experienced players. Open sessions on Tuesday and Friday nights will resume when the floodlights are installed. Junior Sessions are held every Saturday from 11:00 until 13:00, with Junior caching also available. The club offers six month period memberships - Adults cost €30, families €50, and juniors €20.
The club also have their tennis courts available to book for sessions, with club members paying no charge for their use. For more information on club memberships, court bookings and other services, see their website at www.ti.clubspark.com/Bsloetennisclub.
New members of all levels are welcome to join and attend an introductory club session. The club can be contacted at at 0872521424 or email@example.com for more information.
Pony Club Resume Season
The East Galway Hunt Pony Club are resuming with rallies in the showgrounds every Friday at 19:00. The Cllub hosts many activities regarding equestrianism including show jumping, horse trials, and tetrathlons.
The East Galway branch are part of the Irish Pony Club which aims to encourage young people to ride and the learn the sport, to take care of their animals, and to show sportsmanship and courtesy.
Recently the Ballinasloe Club held an evening at Gullane’s Hotel to celebrate former instructor Lizz Scott’s retirement. Liz had been involved with the club for over 40 years and has trained many of her students to become successful riders with many now competing at European and Olympic levels. At this event, she was presented with a crystal vase and a tribute by Michael Essame, Chairman of the Irish Pony Club Executive. Liz praised her current and former students over the years, and emphasised the importance of young riders in the future of equestrianism.
Memberships for 2023 will be opening shortly - boys and girls up to 21 years of age with activities to suit all levels. Membership is €100 each and €80 for any additional family members, with insurance and administration costs included. As well as having a horse to ride – members are expected to perform at a moderately capable level before participating in any competitions.
You can keep up to date with the club’s activities and events on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/IrishPonyClub. If you have any queries, you can contact the group at (087) 274 1869 or (086) 826 7540.
Waste Transfer Licence Runs Out
The Ballinasloe Says No committee welcomed news from Galway County Council that permission has lapsed for the Poolboy Waste Facility, along with no further petition or extension requested by the applicant. Originally validated by Galway County Council, approval for development on the site by way of licence has now been deactivated.
Ballinasloe Says No is a community group who have challenged the granting of permits to operate a station at an inappropriate location in Poolboy The activists, along with the public in Ballinasloe, have submitted over 2000 objections due to safety and environmental concerns regarding this facility polluting the town.
Chairperson of the committee Dr. Vincent Parsons welcomed the news and congratulated the group on their achievement. “Major health hazards would result from these types of major waste facilities such as noxious gases, dust, insects and vermin as well as pollution of waterways and environment. As part of Ballinasloe Says No we have fought against this inappropriate location and we have taken this to the High Court and won”, he stated.
President of the group Eamonn O’ Donogue was pleased with the confirmation saying: “This is wonderful news for the residents of town. We have highlighted the health and environmental challenges of a waste transfer station in this location as well as the road hazards of large waste trucks coming through the streets of our locality”.
Senator Aisling Dolan, who is the Co-Founder, Secretary and PRO for the committee, stressed the significant action taken by the activists in preventing the development of this waste transfer station: “We have a great group with a huge commitment who have campaigned and fundraised over the past 5 years. Together with Chairperson Vincent, Parsons and Eamonn O’Donoghue, we have won three times in the High Court challenging permits for the waste transfer station. We would like to thank the legal team of solicitors and barristers as well as people who became part of our legal group and put their names on the line for Ballinasloe now and in 1999.”
Councillor Dr. Evelyn Parsons emphasised that proposed development at the Poolboy Waste Transfer Station was against the current Ballinasloe Local Area Plan, and was delighted that her proposal for a remediation startegy at the facility will be included with the draft County Development Plan.
Cllr Parsons is a staunch environmentalist and member of the Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategic Policy Committee (SPC), having raising ecological concerns on various occasions. “Throughout the CDP process I’ve championed the guiding principle of environmental justice for fair distribution of environmental benefits and burdens to enable communities such as ours equitable opportunities to prosper within the county in terms of environment, quality of life, health and future economic growth opportunities including attracting investment and sustainable tourism”, she stated.
It remains to be seen if the appellant will pursue other avenues to achieve his stated commercial objectives but the group are remaining vehement and vigilant.
This year’s St. Patrick’s Parade will assemble in the Fair Green at 13:30, March 17, and after some pre-show music the parade will start at 14:00 sharp.
The route will follow Society Street towards Main Street, up Slí Na hAbhann, down past Dunlo Street and then ending at a viewing stand in St. Michael Square. This parade, presented by a yet to be selected Grand Marshall, will use the National Feastday as it’s theme, encouraging participants to celebrate or highlight any subject they wish.
The parade will award cash prizes for the best showcase of five categories in Culture, Education, Voluntary Groups, Sporting and Commercial, and the Tony Colohan Award for the overall winner last year it was the towns colourful and growing Indian Community. Ballinasloe’s Paddy’s Parade provides a great showcase of the town, and this year’s event will hopefully be another highlight. If you would like further information about this event, you can contact the organizers at 087 6207477 or at 089 9973008.
Following on from the launch of the Ballinasloe Area Tourism Network in April last year in conjunction with Hidden Heartlands, Waterways Ireland , The Western Development Commission ,Galway Rural Development and Galway County Council Tourism Dept. – a steering group of local tourism and hospitality interests have been busy pursuing next steps.
Key to the Feasibility Plan is the strategic positioning of the town and the network from Ballyforan Bridge to Meelick weir and from Aughrim Battlefield to Shannonbridge - as a touchstone town on the twin pillars of the Beara Breffni Way and the Shannon Erne Waterway.
With over €59 million of Tourism Investment coming to the Hidden Heartlands via the Just Transition Fund, the fledgling Grouping under the auspices of BACD are confident that with success and support - the town and its hinterland tourism network can position itself as an off grid slow tourism gem of the Hidden Heartlands.
Already becoming a “Bundoran of the Midlands” with last January’s Mike Denver Dancing Weekend having every available room booked out in town for two nights – along with rooms in Loughrea and indeed Athlone – the town is gearing up for several busy attraction weekends anchored around hotel based events with a huge weekend promised again in the Shearwater for the last weekend in March – first of April with the National Jiving Championships.
Attempting to build on the huge heritage and amenity work done by a variety of community and voluntary interests the group are with the active support of Hidden Heartlands, going to host an early season FAMM event for key personnel in the service and hospitality trade in an effort to grow an Ambassador Circle for East Galway and South Roscommon.
This will build out to a Taster Opening Season Weekend – scheduled for late May that will offer some key pillars of activity and theming to locals and visitors alike to grow awareness of all the opportunities that really do exist locally for people to be engaged with on a break.
If you are about to launch a service (Glamping, Trekking, Art Camps, Farm visits etc.) or product that could be of interest to visitors and were not engaged with the project last Spring you should make contact with the group quickly.
Further information on the Tourism Collective can be had from Lyn Donnelly BEC Manager at Lyn@bacd.ie
Municipal District Council members were fully briefed on new Council housing developments at St. Josephs and Dunlo Street at their recent monthly meeting.
After nearly 20 months of planning and scoping , where even bat colony issues had to be reviewed and considered the Galway County Council Executive have reached the point where they can begin the formal PART 8 planning process in constructing housing at these sites as part of an infill development project and Dunlo Hill Regneration Project.
In essence the St Josephs construction project will finish out the estate tidily and sympathetically to its original ethos and the Dooleys Corner to the Mount will address a significant area of acute dereliction in the heart of the town.
The St Joesph’s Place development will cover a total area of roughly 0.8 acres consisting of eight two-storey terraces, each with two bedroom units suitable for families. An ideal location for infill, although reliefs are in place regarding flooding issues in the area. Director of Services for Housing, Liam Hanrahan mentioned that the land was owned by Galway County Council and discussed how these small properties were to fit with pre-existing developments at the site.
Cllr. Dermot Connolly emphasised that the “ethos of estate” must be maintained and that he hoped to replicate the success featured at Garbally Drive.
Mr. Hanrahan advised that the part 8 for St. Josephs will be brought before the members in early 2023 .
The derelict buildings at the 1.8 acre site on Dunlo street, including seven two-storey dwellings, a three-storey over basement premises and another adjacent three storey building consisting of a total 12-15 bedroom units, will be completely revamped.
This housing will likely be prioritized for elderly people with mobility issues on the town’s housing waiting list to provide them convenient access to the town centre facilities .
On the insistence of Cllr. Dermot Connolly the external stone structure and architectural character to the building will be maintained and conserved, while the interior will be modified to allow accommodation units to be put in place. Director Liam Hanrahan hopes these refurbishments to the building will provide a more pleasant image for people entering into Ballinasloe West. Consideration was given to communal uses for the ground floor bar and shop but this proved too difficult.
Cllr Dr. Evelyn Parsons was also in favour of a memorial plaque or some other commemorative memorial be installed for Irish Bilingual poet Eoghan Ó Tuairisc at the site, who was a highly influential and internationally recognised author who was born and lived at the third house on the row.
Director Hanrahan advised that staff are waiting for the completion of some surveys and pending their arrival they will move to Part 8 as soon as possible.
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