The Bleeding Pig Cultural Festival became a victim of COVID19 when the decision was made to postpone the 2020 Festival. The committee had the sad job of contacting the performers who had been engaged for the Festival. It was done with a heavy heart as we knew that these artistes were now facing into a time of uncertainty and unpredictability.One of the aims of the Bleeding Pig Festival is to promote local amateur and professional performers. We have followed up on four of our regular, local and professional performers to see how COVID has affected them.Donabate resident, Laura Shields, is a mezzo soprano. This summer she was due to tour Northern Italy and Germany but these tours were cancelled.The Christmas season now is looking increasingly uncertain.Laura teaches music to local children from home but this had to discontinue as both Laura’s parents are frontline nurses.Recently Laura travelled to Belfast to film, sing and record for the upcoming BBC Proms. Laura faces an uncertain future in her chosen career however it grateful to currently be kept busy studying her Masters of Primary Education and is grateful for the COVID payment but worries about when it will be withdrawn. She is “lucky” as she lives at home. Uilleann Piper Éamonn Galldubh has toured and recorded with many artists including Clannad, Riverdance, and more.He would usually be difficult to catch at this time of the year. This year it is scéal eile. Venues are closed, concerts cancelled and the tourists haven’t come. Government support for the Arts has been haphazard. He was due to tour the UK but that has now been cancelled. Éamonn is a tutor with the local Comhaltas Group Comhaltas Leithinis Donabate Portrane. David Scott is an opera singer from Donabate and is a singing teacher in Clongowes Wood College. In March he went from a busy schedule of juggling rehearsals, performances and singing lessons to considering online courses in coding or web design. His opera Carmen was cancelled, his weddings were all postponed and his usual busy Christmas period is in doubt. The latest restrictions have also put his expected return to teaching in jeopardy. In eight years as a self-employed musician, this is the most difficult period he has encountered. Robert Shaw is a well known local artist. Robert’s paintings are held in corporate and private collections including Dr. Edgar Mitchell, Ryan Tubridy, and others. Robert describes himself as having been in lockdown for the last twenty years! He works in his studio in Donabate and en”” plein air” on the peninsula. He is one of the artists who exhibits on Merrion Square but this was closed until recently. During the lockdown someone suggested that he might do some zoom art sessions for children. These proved so popular that he is considering doing zoom art sessions for children and adults in the community. You can visit him on his website

A survey by one of the life companies has revealed that 9 out of 10 people in Ireland were not aware that financial reviews can be done by video call. Many of those surveyed would be in favour of doing a review this way. Some of the reasons cited were: personal safety - no risk of COVID-19, convenience - no driving or parking to meet, easy to arrange, and time saving - no journey to and from a meeting. The feedback from those that have availed of this service was also very positive.

                                     Why video and not just phone call?

It is often said that communication is about 20% what you say, 30% tone and 50% body language. It is far easier to understand what someone is explaining when you can see them. The reverse is also true, it is easier to gauge the pace of how you’re explaining something when you can see the reactions of those you’re talking to. Also, screen sharing gives the ability to display a variety of graphics, screens or documents from both sides.

So what kind of things can you cover in a review? Most aspects of your current, future and unexpected income and expenditure. Your day to day budgeting, planning ahead for the short, medium and long term. Planning for unexpected events with things like life cover, serious illness cover and income protection (and making sure you are not over paying for existing plans!) Calculating what you may need in planning for retirement, including looking at anything you may already have in place. Overall, keeping you up to date and in control of your finances. It could be the most important video call you make this year!

Dave Kavanagh QFA has been advising people financially for over 25 years. For quotes or information (with no cost or obligation) he can be contacted by emailing or use the contact form on or phone 087-6414570. Combined with his previous role of gym/nutrition adviser, he regularly gives talks and workshops at seminars and events for groups, companies and government departments on financial wellbeing, positivity and motivation.  As heard on RTE 2FM and TV3.

We are pleased to inform our members that we have completed the Health & Safety Plan, as required before our return to Rugby. Our preparations for our return to Rugby continue at the club! Balbriggan RFC was delighted to take delivery of our customised pitchside and mobile sanitising stations today, which were designed and produced by local business Retink Graphics. Thanks to Stefan and all at their staff on a great job as always. Recently we also received our sanitiser and hi-vis vests for our Compliance Officers. We also received a very generous PPE package, courtesy of Irish Rugby. Thanks to them and Leinster Rugby for all their assistance in helping clubs like ours get back on the road to rugby. Thanks too to our volunteers on the Covid Compliance Committee for their hard work getting us to this point.

By Tara Eason

Scouting in Covid is hard but still fun. My name is Tara Eason and this what my brothers and I have done during the Covid crisis: Most packs are doing online meetings. Some every week and some every fortnight. These meetings are done on Zoom and may include badge work, a quiz, a scavenger hunt, jokes, riddles and many other things like that. Sometimes people do presentations of their work. This works by the presenter sharing their screen on Zoom. As part of their meetings Amikokenda Beavers are going back to basics during Covid.The activities are Build a fort, Animal friends,Safety,Identify trees,Cooking and Survival.If you do all these activities you get a badge. To build a fort we did a virtual camp. This is done by every scout setting up a den or a tent and sleeping in it for the night in their own garden or house. They also undertake activities like a Kahoot quiz or a scavenger hunt via Zoom.They have to have a lot of thought put into them. For Animal Friends we could do a project on anything to do with animals. For safety because we are sea scouts we did water safety so we had to read a document and do the fun spot the differences and then we did a kahoot quiz on water safety.The rest is yet to come. Ceadaoin Cubs have undertaken airskills for that they had to make a kite, take a video of it flying and send it to someone I don’t know who and then they had to do some history on the Wright brothers, the people who invented airplanes.Some of the older scouts are doing some boat maintenance so the boats are ready for when we come back. Because they have to do it in small groups to maintain social distancing there’s more boat to cover. They scrape off the barnacles on the bottom, they anti foul the outside which is putting on really strong paint and they paint normally as well. They also clean the boats for the season ahead..

Editors note: Well done to Tara and all the Sea Scouts,Beavers and Cubs

Joan O’Callaghan is 77 years old, lives in Donabate and is a cancer survivor. However this story is not about cancer but about her determined effort to raise money for frontline healthcare workers during this Covid crisis. The mother of three and grandmother of two had been trying to keep fit since three operations on her back and shoulder last year. Joan said “In an effort to keep fit I had been going up and down 24 stairs in my apartment block daily. Having read what Captain Tom did in the U.K. I realised I could probably raise some funds for our frontline healthcare workers here. I liked what Tom Keogh from Keogh Crisps and was doing to say thank you to our wonderful frontline health careworkers so I contacted him.To date with my “one woman challenge” I have gone up and down 29,464 stairs and have raised € 4300.”

Joan says she now has a link on that site and can gauge who has donated because all such people have to do is put the word steps after there name ie: joebloggssteps, then she can see how much has been donated because of her efforts. Meantime the former principal of St Andrews School in Malahide will continue to walk up and down the steps in her apartment block to raise money for those who are putting themselves at risk every day to ensure the health and well being of us all.

Well done Jane, keep up the good work and remember go to and give what you can in support of Jane’s efforts for those who are caring for us all.

The Balbriggan\North County Dublin branch of Irish guide dogs for the blind hope to be back fundraising and doing our normal awareness talks when it is safe to do so and cleared by government for us to do.In the meantime small things you can do for us is hold onto your used postage stamps, old Irish-sterling or foreign coins and notes. All of these we can turn into real money in time.Drop us an email or a text to say you have some and we will arrange to get them from you when it suits everybody.Over the past couple of months as well guide and assistance dogs would not be working in the normal daily way they used to be so down time was had by some guide dogs at least. I am attaching a picture of my guide dog Gatsby who had more than one day off this past couple of months and you can see the joy in his face.During lock down a number of ladies offered to walk our two guide dogs and without hesitation we took up the offer. So thanks to the two Gillian’s, Peggy and to Maebh and her daughter Ruby. Ladies wooffee wooffee on behalf of Gatsby and Qeb.Thank you from Tom and Breege Guide dog owners. Details below on how to contact us and we will be back as we need the money to train more guide dogs for blind people and more assistance dogs for family’s who have a child with Autism. To contact the Balbriggan\ncd branch of guide dogs Tel 085 7663107,

By Dave Kavanagh

Understandably, during these restrictive times when new deaths are a daily feature on the news, as well as much talk about access to regular hospital services, people have given more consideration to the impact that serious illness or a fatality would have on their financial security. The sudden impact that many experienced just by suddenly being off work and having their income impacted, certainly gave food for thought. The most common plans that people can commence to protect against some of these events, are life cover, serious illness cover and income protection. Life cover can pay out a lump sum (or the option of regular payments) to cover the financial loss suffered from a fatality, This may include protecting a mortgage and also having personal cover. Serious illness cover (aka critical illness cover or specified illness cover) also pays out a tax free lump sum on diagnosis of any of the specified illnesses. While there are a multitude of illnesses covered, 5 account for about 95% of claims - Cancer, Heart Disease, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis and Loss of Independence. In Ireland there are approximately 40,000 new cancer cases every year. Income protection will pay a portion of someone’s income if they cannot work due to illness or injury after a short deferred period.We often see that people may have their home and contents insured, their pets insured, their mobile phones insured, their travel plans insured and their laptops insured, without giving proper consideration to how appropriately they insure themselves. As with any important decisions (that may not be considered “fun” activities!) it is crucial that you make the time to consider the properly.

Dave Kavanagh QFA has been advising people financially for over 25 years. For quotes or information (with no cost or obligation) he can be contacted by emailing or use the contact form on or phone 087-6414570. Combined with his previous role of gym/nutrition adviser, he regularly gives talks and workshops at seminars and events for groups, companies and government departments on financial wellbeing, positivity and motivation. As heard on RTE 2FM and TV3.

The outgoing Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Eoghan O’Brien, has honoured individuals and groups who assisted Fingal County Council through the COVID-19 Community Call Response Forum by presenting them with Certificates of Appreciation. Cllr O’Brien, whose year-long term as Mayor ended last Friday, said that he wanted to finish his year in office by recognising the service that is being provided to the County and citizens of Fingal during the COVID-19 pandemic.“This year we faced a health emergency which was unprecedented in living memory,” said Cllr O’Brien. However, in this historic emergency, a tremendous effort was made to face the many challenges that the emergency created. I was incredibly impressed by how everyone came together immediately and how so many organisations and groups volunteered to help.”He added: “Their sense of community was overwhelming. From the outset of the Community Call Forum at the end March, 105 community partners registered to volunteer to deliver supports in their communities, alongside 55 groups registered with Fingal Public Partnership Network (PPN). During April and May, the Community Call helpline received 436 calls. The majority were for delivery and collection requests while Social Isolation supports, Meals on Wheels requests, Garda queries and other health issues made up the rest of the calls that came into the Community Call helpline in that period.It was humbling to watch the mobilisation of hundreds of people across the county to assist those more vulnerable than themselves,” said Cllr O’Brien. He said, “ I was never as proud to be from Fingal, and it will be one of the abiding memories of my 12-month term as Mayor. You were called upon and you delivered. Because of the COVID-19 restrictions it will not be possible for Fingal County Council to hold a formal ceremony to present the framed certificates so they will be distributed to the recipients in the coming weeks.”

Cllr Dean Mulligan dropped up another large donation of PPE and ancillary supplies recently to Swords Meals on wheels for distribution to our volunteer drivers and our clients to keep everyone safe in these ongoing difficult times, these are part of a very kind donation that Dean received from You & Us insurance (Joe Bell) Local insurance broker of Swords, who is donating €1000 worth of PPE supported by The Plaza Pharmacy. The various items which include masks, hand sanitizer and soap, as well as Swords Meals on Wheels, other local groups will benefit from this kind donation....Thank you Joe Bell and thank you again Dean Mulligan...great support and always appreciated...

THAT’S A WRAP!!! The Ladies have SMASHED IT !!!! The club are justly proud of the Ladies who virtually travelled 3121.56km. Some walked, some ran, and others Cycled to virtually travel the Coastline of Ireland, in aid of#feed-the-heroes #getbehindyourlocalclub.

The ladies answered this call from the Feed the Heroes organiser:
“Since Feed The Heroes was established eight weeks ago, your support has allowed us to provide 156,971 meals to frontline staff through the COVID-19 emergency. We have delivered meals nationwide from Letterkenny to Bantry and from Castlebar to Dublin. Over that time we have spent €950,000 and delivered meals at an average cost of €7 per meal.
Our goal has been simple, to ensure that nutritious meals reach teams on the frontline: ambulance paramedics, COVID-19 swab testers, contact tracers, medical scientists, ICU teams, COVID ward teams, and support staff across hospital and nursing home care settings. It has however been so much more than just a meal, but rather a tangible expression of your support and gratitude.

Despite everyone’s generosity, we’re in danger of not being able to finish what we started. With the situation still on-going and current expenditure running at €170,000 per week, our finances are running critically short. Unless we receive extra funding, we won’t be able to sustain essential service through the end of May. That’s why we’re asking you to contribute one more time and help fund the final 25,000 meals for the incredible professionals that are spending 12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week to keep us safe and allowing us to stay home. “
Congratulations and well done to everyone involved. Swords is proud of you ladies.