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Connacht Tribune

Major initiative to attract investment to Ballinasloe

Declan Tierney



The net has been widened in the quest for a new employer to establish in an advance technology building in Ballinasloe – it is part of a major initiative to attract fresh jobs to the town.

Earlier this year, Galway County Council granted planning for an advanced technology building to be located at IDA lands in Creagh and it has already resulted in expressions of interest from potential employers to the town.

The application was submitted by Ballinasloe Area Community Development (BACD), who are actively trying to lure investment and industry to the town. They had the consent of the IDA.

And it will be something of ‘a three-pronged approach’ as now both BACD, the IDA and, hopefully, a potential investor will be involved in the process of getting the new building constructed.

There has been close contact between the marketing section of the IDA and the committee of BACD and it is understood that already there have been some expressions of interest.

Cllr Michael Connolly, who is the most recent addition to the board, said that the granting of planning permission for the construction of a 15,000 square feet advance technology building on IDA lands at Creagh had certainly strengthened their case for investment

Finance to the tune of €30,000 was provided by Ballinasloe Credit Union to process the planning application.

“And there is certainly no reason why Galway County Council should not be involved in this process as it is also in their interest. Another agency on our side would certainly help”, Cllr Connolly added.

Chairman of BACD Seamus Duffy said that there had been a lot of scaremongering in Ballinasloe and it wasn’t helping the town’s efforts to attract a major investor.

But he emphasised that there was determined work going on behind the scenes to secure a new employer for the town.

“I can confirm that he have been in active discussion with various arms of the IDA and the fact that we have secured planning permission for a new technology building has certainly been to our advantage.

“In recent weeks, there have been a number of expressions of interest from potential employers and hopefully something tangible will come of this. We are very confident at the moment.

“We are well placed geographically and we have a motorway on our doorstep so to suggest that we are a forgotten town is very much off the mark. We have an awful lot going for us in Ballinasloe,” Mr Duffy added.

In recent years, a number of senior politicians have described Ballinasloe as being forgotten – this is an attitude which remains since the closures of Square D and AT Cross but BACD insist that, while always conscious of it, they have move on considerably.

Connacht Tribune

Exploring the merits of moving into the west

Dave O'Connell



Mary Kennedy with Carol Ho, one of the Galway interviewees for her new TG4 series, Moving West. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Broadcaster Mary Kennedy has an abiding image of those early mornings when she’d set out from Dublin at the crack of dawn to begin work on another day’s filming down the country with Nationwide.

“I always liked to go in the morning rather than stay there the night before – so I’d be on the road early. And from the moment I’d hit Newland’s Cross, all I’d see was a line of traffic of people trying to make it from home to their workplace in Dublin,” she says.

These were people whose day began before dawn to get their bleary-eyed kids ready to drop at a childminder along the way, so they could be on time for work – and then race home to hopefully see those same kids before they went to sleep.

But if the pandemic had a positive, it was the realisation that work was something you did, not a place you went to. As a result, many people finally grasped the nettle, moving out of the city and sometimes even taking their work with them.

Which is why Mary – busier than ever since her supposed retirement from RTÉ – is presenting a new television series called Moving West, focusing on those individuals and families who have, as the title, suggests, relocated to the West.

One of the programmes comes from Galway, where Mary met with Stewart Forrest, who relocated with his family from South Africa to Oughterard, and Carol Ho, a Hong Kong native who has also settled in Galway.

The TG4 series also stops off in Sligo, Mayo, Kerry, Clare, Roscommon and Leitrim.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing

Dave O'Connell



Well saved...members of St Brendan's GAA Club honour their departed stalwart, John Geraghty, after a record-breaking evening saving his turf.

A local community responded in force to the death of one of their own – a man who had given so much of his life for the good of the parish – by paying one last practical tribute to him last week.

They lifted and footed his turf.

John Geraghty – or Gero as he was known – lived for Gaelic football and he’d filled every role imaginable with the St Brendan’s GAA Club since he came to live in Newbridge in 1983.

He’d cut the turf before he died last Tuesday week, but there it lay, until his old GAA friends organised a bunch of guys – made up of the football team, friends and neighbours – to meet in the bog last Wednesday evening to lift and foot/clamp John’s turf.

“Upwards of 50 fellas from the community showed up,” said St Brendan’s chairman Gerry Kilcommins.

Which was just as well, because, as Gerry acknowledged, John – himself a two-time chairman of the club in the past – had a lot of turf cut!

“It took up an area around three-quarters of the size of a standard football pitch,” he said.

Not that this proved a problem, given the enthusiasm with which they rolled up their sleeves for their old friend.

They started at 7.30pm and had it done at 7.55pm – that’s just 25 minutes from start to finish.

Read the full, heartwarming story – and the St Brendan’s GAA Club appreciation for John Geraghty – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat

Denise McNamara



Daddy’s girl…Sadhbh Browne with her very special message on organ donations. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

It is nearly two years since Paddy Browne gave his daughter Sadhbh part of his liver to save her life. And just ahead of Father’s Day, he reflects on how he would do it all over again in a heartbeat, without a single moment’s hesitation.

After an initial testing time in the first six weeks when they beat a path to the intensive care unit after the operation in St King’s Hospital in London, Sadhbh has never looked back.

“She’s thrived and thrived and thrived. She skips out to school every day. She loves the normal fun and devilment in the yard. She’s now six and started football with Mountbellew Moylough GAA, she loves baking, she’s a voracious reader – she’ll read the whole time out loud while we drive up to Crumlin [Children’s Hospital].”

But it could have all been so different.

Sadhbh from Mountbellew was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia shortly after she was born. She quickly underwent major surgery to drain bile from her liver. It worked well until she reached three years old when an infection caused severe liver damage and she was placed on the liver transplant list.

She was on a long list of medication to manage the consequences of advanced liver disease. While she lived a full life, she would tire very easily.

Paddy was undergoing the rigorous process to be accepted as a living donor when one of the tests ruled him unsuitable. His brother Michael stepped forward and was deemed a good match.

Then, further tests revealed that Paddy was in fact eligible for the operation and the previous result disregarded as a false positive.

Read the full, uplifting story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.

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