Strengthening Families Programme

SFP Logo transparent background

Completely new for Ballinasloe in Autumn 2015 will be the Strengthening Families Programme (SFP); a family skills based programme which aims to improve parenting, family functioning and communication, and to prevent anti-social behaviours in teenagers, families and communities. The Ballinasloe programme is part of the roll-out of SFP in County Galway, following successful programmes in Connemara, Galway City and Tuam.

Some of the families who engage with the programme find themselves struggling due to a range of issues, such as mental health, challenging economic circumstances, history of domestic abuse, addictions, low school retention, to name a few.  A number of key local agencies locally, including WRDTF, GRETB, GRD, An Garda Siochana, Department Of Education, GTM, Youth Work Ireland, and Empowerment Plus will be involved in running the programme, which is supported in terms of  core running costs by the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul through the Maureen O Connell Fund.

The programme offers incentives to teens and their parents to participate and engage with the programme.  Gift vouchers and spot prizes donated by local businesses that appeal to families of teens aged 12 – 16 have been very effective on other programmes in rewarding families’ engagement and highlighting fun activities that families can do together in their local area.

If you or your business would like to support the programme, please contact Jennie Swannock on 085 1685693 or email jennieswannock@eplus for further information.  Any donation, no matter how small, is very much appreciated.

If you have teenagers aged 12-16 and you might be interested in participating in the programme for 14 weeks to learn new family skills, please contact Rachel Browne on 086 0273098.

 We wish them all the best with the programme,

Ciara, Reporter.

Community Games National Gold medal winning Ballinasloe U11 Rugby Team‏



Back row (L-R): Paul Fitzpatrick coach, Ciaran Clarke, Alex O’Leary, Conor  O’Grady, Eoin O’ Connell, Joseph Tierney,  Charlie Mooney, Aaron Cunningham, Kevin Tierney coach.
Front row (L-R): Sean Power, Adam Coyne, Shane Fitzpatrick, Charlie Naughton, Conor Ryan, Mike O’Connell coach.

The U11 Rugby Team from Ballinasloe represented Galway county at the Community Games National Finals.  These exceptionally talented players won Gold for the second year in a row, a number of these players were also on the U11 Gold medal team in 2014.  This was a magnificent achievement for these young players at National level.

Huge Congradulations to everyone involved,



It was with a heavy heart that we all said goodbye to Gerry Roche.

Ballinasloe Superintendent Gerry Roche

Photo Caption: Maureen Cahalan secretary of Community Hearts saluting Ballinasloe’s Superintendent Gerry Roche who recently transferred to Galway City. The occasion marked Gerry’s trojan work with Community Hearts. Many people in Ballinasloe and  in the surrounding area will miss Gerry’s presence in the town.

Ballinasloe bid farewell recently to Superintendent Gerry Roche who recently transferred to Galway where he accepted responsibility for Risk, Compliance and Continuous Improvement in the Western Garda Region as part of the Garda Strategic Transformation Programme.

On behalf of the Community and in particular Community Hearts its secretary Maureen Cahalan commented that “Gerry will be missed for all his Trojan works on behalf of the community and for his larger than life personality.”

Hope everyone had a great weekend,


Community Games National Athletic Finals


Photo 1Community Games National Gold medal winning u12 boys relay team from Ballinasloe.
L-R Ballinasloe Athletics Coach Anne Fitzpatrick, Michael O’Grady, Godfrey Gibbons, Conor Harley, Charlie Naughton, Shane Fitzpatrick, Adam McGreal, Secretary of Ballinasloe Community Games Carmel Grealy, Ballinasloe Athletics Coach Paula Harley.

Photo 2 – Nine young athletes from Ballinasloe representing Galway county in the Community Games Nationals Finals.
Back row L-R Godfrey Gibbons, Conor Harley, Shane Fitzpatrick, Charlie Naughton, Adam McGreal, Michael O’Grady.
Front row L-R – Aoibheann Fitzpatrick, Kayla McKeon, Clodagh Killeen.

Well done to the 9 young athletes from Ballinasloe who represented Galway county in the Community Games National Athletic Finals in AIT over the weekend.

Our under 12 boys relay team made up of – Charlie Naughton, Shane Fitzpatrick, Conor Harley, Adam McGreal, Godfrey Gibbons, Michael O’Grady put in a spectacular performance over the weekend.  They won both their heat & semi-final with a strong lead on Saturday and most importantly these talented runners all had a magnificent run in the final yesterday afternoon. Adam, Conor & Shane all led their leg of the race and then Charlie fought hard in the final stretch to maintain their lead until he crossed the finish line to win the National Gold U12 Boys relay event.  This was an outstanding result amongst very stiff competition.  Four of these boys – Charlie Naughton, Shane Fitzpatrick, CoIMG_2948nor Harley, Adam McGreal already won a National Bronze medal in the National Indoor T&F Championship back in March along with a National Silver medal in the National Outdoor T&F Championship in July.  Both Charlie & Shane were also part of the U10 mixed relay team from Ballinasloe who claimed silver in the Community Games National Finals last year along with Joseph Tierney, Ava McKeon, Mya Kelly & Caoimhe Ni Thuairisg.  Well done to these exceptionally talented athletes, these boys have had a super year.

In the individual events the 3 U10 girls from Ballinasloe who are all out of age & will be U10 again next year all performed
very well.  Kayla McKeon had 2 super runs in her 100m sprint where she got as far as her semi-final. Clodagh Killeen had a strong run in her 60m Hurdles & Aoibheann Fitzpatrick also performed well in her 200m run.  Well done to the 3 of them they should all be proud of the fact that they got to represent their county at National level which is especially impressive considering they are all out of age.

Two members of the relay team also competed in the u12 individual events.  Both boys are also out of age & will be u12 again next year.  Shane Fitzpatrick performed well in the 600m event.  Charlie Naughton had 3 outstanding sprints starting off in his initial heat, then in his semi-final where he went on to qualify for the final.  He finished just outside the medals in 5th place (first 4 get a medal in the community games Nationals).  This was a brilliant result out of age.  Well done to both boys.

Ballinasloe & District Athletic Club would like to congratulate all those who performed so well starting out in Ballinasloe Community Games, then at Galway County Community Games & finally at the Community Games Nationals Finals.  Well done to all of them.

Huge congratulations to all involved,


Creating Snapchat for Ballinasloe Life.

As Social Media is constantly evolving and modernizing, we find it crucial here at the Ballinasloe Life Team to keep up with the latest trends and technology. Keeping this in mind we have considered incorporating Snapchat.

For those of you who are less familiar with Snapchat, it is a video messaging application createddownload by Stanford University students. Using the application, users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to a controlled list of recipients. Users can also set a time limit for how long recipients can view their Snaps which ranges between one and ten seconds, after which the snap will be hidden from the recipients device. According to Snapchat in May 2014, the app’s users were sending 700 million photos and videos per day, therefore the application has gained huge popularity over the past few years.

We feel Snapchat would be a fun, quick and efficient way to connect with Ballinasloe Life. Local people and even Ballinasloe natives living abroad can send “snaps” to the Ballinasloe Life account and we may post the snaps to our Blog or Facebook page on a weekly/monthly basis. In turn, we hope to connect the local people with one another and also connect them with Ballinasloe itself.

As we are a service providing people with latest news and updates from Ballinasloe, we would really appreciate your opinion. Would you like to see Snapchat for Ballinasloe Life?

Have a great weekend,



Ballinasloe Livestock Mart Autumn Show and Sale.‏

001 Supreme Champion Bull Weanling

Supreme Champion  Weanling Bull.

L-R: Damian O Brien (Ballinasloe Livestock Mart), Matt Stratford (Corrib Oil) sponsor, presenting the Ballinasloe Livestock Mart Cup to Darragh Glynn, Niall Glynn and Kevin Glynn of Fohenagh, Ballinasloe for winning the Supreme Champion Bull Weanling section of the Ballinasloe Autumn Show and Sale, at Ballinasloe Livestock Mart.
Photo by Sean Ward
002 Supreme Champion Weanling Heifer
Supreme Champion Weanling Heifer

L-R: Matt Stratford (Corrib Oil) sponsor, presenting the Ballinasloe Livestock Mart Cup to Dylan Delaney for winning the Supreme Champion Heifer Weanling section of the Ballinasloe Autumn Show and Sale, at Ballinasloe Livestock Mart also pictured is Damian O’Brien for Ballinasloe Livestock Mart.

Photo By Sean Ward

Supreme Champion  Weanling Bull
Weighted 580kg and owned by Kevin Glynn, Fohenagh, Ballinasloe and Sold to Quinn International at the Ballinasloe Autumn Show and Sale.
Photo by Sean Ward
Supreme Champion weanling Heifer.
Owned by Dylan Delaney, North brook, Kilconnell, Ballinasloe which weighted 475kg and sold to Vincent Tuohy, Whitegate, Co the Ballinasloe Autumn Show and Sale
Photo by Sean Ward
L-R: Francis Kenny, John Kelly  and Sean Dolan at the Ballinasloe livestock Mart Autumn Show and Sale
Photo by Sean Ward
L-R: Willie Kelly Clonfad, Aidan Kelly, Taughmaconnell and Joe Fallon, Ballinasloe at Ballinasloe Livestock Mart Autumn Show and Sale
Photo by Sean Ward

Swimming Community Games National Finals‏


Photo 1 – U13 girls relay team who represented county Galway in the Swimming Community Games National Finals.
Photo 2 – James Mooney Bronze medal winner in the U12 boys breaststroke at the Swimming Community Games NatIMG_2940ional Finals.
Photo 3 – Rowan Harley who represented county Galway in the U14 freestyle at the Swimming Community Games National Finals.
Ballinasloe swimming club would like to congratulate all of our swimmers who competed in the Swimming Community Games National Finals in Athlone last weekend.
The boys competed on Saturday August 15th.  James Mooney put in an outstanding performance in the U12 Boys Breaststroke where he finished in 3rd place & won a National Bronze medal.  This was a brilliant achievement amongst such stiff competition.  
Rowan Harley competed in the U14 Boys Freestyle where he also performed splendidly making it into the semi-finals in the U14 Boys Freestyle.  
Well done to our U13 girls relay team who represented Galway county on Sunday August 16th.  This relay team was made up of Tara McKeon, Ruth Dolan, Ava McKeon, Caoimhe Kennedy & Ailbhe Hanrahan.  The girls had 3 fantastic swims, they won their first heat and went on to qualify out of the semi-final & made it into the final where they finished in 6th place overall.  This was a tremendous achievement for this talented bunch of 10 & 11 year old as they are all out of age and will all be u13 again next year, where all going well, they will be serious contenders to win a medal in this event.IMG_2942
Tara McKeon also competed in the U12 Freestyle, she won her 1st heat and came 3rd in the semi-final and narrowly missed out on a place in the final in a close race, as only 2 swimmers went forward from the semi-finals to the final with only 6 swimmers qualifying for each final.
Ruth Dolan competed in the U12 Backstroke, she too won her first 1st heat and made it into the semi-finals in another close race.
The competition in the Nationals is unbelievably tough with only one swimmer getting through to the Nationals from each county.  We are very proud of all of our swimmers from Ballinasloe Swimming Club who worked so hard to win their place to represent Galway County in the Nationals.
Huge congratulations to all who were involved,

Starcamp summer camp strikes again!


The Starcamp summer camp returned to the Town Hall Theatre for yet another year, supplying a fun filled week of drama, dance and singing for the local kids of Ballinasloe. The nationwide camp offers endless opportunities in all aspects of performing which allows children to transform into the most confident and self-assured young people. This years camp saw a fantastic turn out of 30 children, all leaving with a smile from ear to ear eagerly telling their parents of their exciting day at camp. Being Ireland’s only Nationwide Performing Drama Summer Camp, it has been well recogniseS1100113d all over the country winning numerous awards and appearing on shows such as The Dragons Den, Ireland AM and The Late Late Toy Show. For further information check out their website at We hope to see the return of Starcamp again next summer with even more children getting the opportunity to attend.

Have a great weekend,


USI urges students families to secure accommodation ASAP

Repro Free: 11/08/2015  Aoife ní Shúilleabháin is pictured with USI Vice President for Campaigns Daniel Waugh, USI President Kevin Donoghue and deputy President Annie Hoey during a leaflet drop to promote USI’s free rooms listing website ‘’ and urging families to get ahead of the curve on student accommodation by seeking and securing places for the semester ahead. The USI’s warning comes just ahead of Leaving Certificate results tomorrow and next Monday’s CAO offers, and amidst a growing crisis for accommodation in the nation’s major cities and college towns. Picture Andres Poveda

Photo: Aoife ní Shúilleabháin is pictured with USI Vice President for Campaigns Daniel Waugh, USI President Kevin Donoghue and deputy President Annie Hoey during a leaflet drop to promote USI’s free rooms listing website ‘’ and urging families to get ahead of the curve on student accommodation by seeking and securing places for the semester ahead.

USI President Kevin Donoghue has urged families to get ahead of the curve on student accommodation by seeking and securing places for the semester ahead.

Speaking during a leaflet drop to promote USI’s free rooms listing website ‘’, Donoghue explained:

“The earlier you secure your bed for the year, the more chance you have of getting good accommodation close to your college.  It stands to reason that good places closer to your chosen college will fill up first – after that you may need to make compromises on quality, price and the commute to college.”

USI’s warning comes just ahead of Leaving Certificate results tomorrow and next Monday’s CAO offers, and amidst a growing crisis for accommodation in the nation’s major cities and college towns.

“There’s simply not enough student accommodation in our big towns,” said Donoghue.

“Student numbers are rising, with more and more students having to turn to the already pressurised private rental market.  Government support for people to rent a room to students is welcome, and we’re promoting the fact of the up-to €12,000 tax free allowance for people prepared to rent their rooms to relieve the crisis.”

USI is also warning that student supports need to be examined in light of accommodation issues.

“The student assistance fund and the adjacency rates for grants are not sufficient to deal with the issues we will be facing in a few months time. Increased student supports are absolutely needed to alleviate the accommodation issue.

Colin Byrne, a student looking for accommodation had this to say. Due to an increased number of multinational companies in the area accommodation prices are increasing to a point which students are unable to afford. This causes students to have to take residence miles from Maynooth, interfering with study and college experience.”

Students from rural areas finding it increasingly difficult to stay in college.

Students from rural areas entering college for the first time will find it increasingly difficult to complete their studies the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have warned.

President of USI Kevin Donoghue said “College is becoming more expensive all the time. The financial situation that many student families face means that the academic part of college is often not the most challenging. If you are coming to Dublin from the west coast of Ireland renting is your only option and for more and more families that is no option at all.

Donoghue, from Co. Mayo, went on to explain how important the fund is to students “The SAF provides much needed support in small doses. Sometimes families are unable to help with the basics such as heating and this fund is bridging a gap.”

USI Welfare Office Aoife Ní Shúilleabháin further noted that “Rising rents, fees and stagnant supports make it increasingly difficult for students and their parents to keep up with the cost of college. The Student Assistance Fund (SAF) allocation has decreased for the last few years and the demand has only increased.”