The All Ireland Community & Council Awards 2021 presented by IPB Insurance and LAMA took place on Saturday 9th April 2022. The event, which was rescheduled from November 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, was held at the Crowne Plaza Dublin Airport and was hosted by RTÉ broadcaster Marty Morrissey. For the past fifteen years, these awards have celebrated the valuable collaboration between councils and communities and are seen as a benchmark of excellence. Over 160 nominations were received for the awards and following an in-depth judging process, over 100 projects nationwide from 30 counties were shortlisted across 24 categories. Ten Fingal projects were nominated for awards in nine categories including ‘Best Business Working with the Community’, ‘Best Public Park’ and ‘Best CSR Community Programme’. Fingal County Council has had considerable success at the LAMA awards in previous years and this year is no exception as four of our initiatives were recognised with awards in their categories.

The Fingal County Council winners on the night were: Best Business Working with the Community (Sponsored by An Post) Silver Award: Fingal County Council Public Wi-Fi Roadmap - Best CSR Community Programme.

Bronze Award: Weather Station for Schools-Climate Change
Best Heritage Project Winner: Swords Castle Conservation Project – Preserving a National Monument and Heritage Facility for present and future citizens to enjoy
Bronze Award: Clean Up! - Best Waste Management Programme (Sponsored by Eastern-midlands Waste Region). Speaking on the awards, Mayor of Fingal Cllr Seána Ó Rodaigh said: “On behalf of myself and the Elected Members, I wish to congratulate the nominees and those who accepted awards on behalf of Fingal County Council. It is a source of great satisfaction and pleasure to see so many of our initiatives acknowledged for the value and importance they represent for us all. In Fingal, we pride ourselves on our commitment to innovation, best practice and collaboration and these awards are a testament to our ongoing work to support and enhance communities across the county.”

It’s that time of year again, our national fundraiser for ‘Guide Dog Day’ is on the 27th May and since last years ‘#100K4GDD’ was such a success, it is going ahead again. You can sign up as an individual or as part of a team by visiting or if you would like a sponsorship card you can contact us by email at or phone/text 0857663107. You can walk, run, swim or cycle your way through the month of May or why not change it up and do 100 dances for Guide Dog Day or bake 100 cakes? Whatever you decide to do, do please make sure to tag us on our new Instagram @BalbrigganBranchGuide and Twitter @BranchGuide page so we can share and get the word out. If you would like to support us in person or purchase any of our merchandise you can find us in SuperValu Balbriggan on Friday 6th May and in Millfield Shopping Centre the following Friday on the 13th May. You might even meet one of our lovely assistance dogs or puppies in training. We also have our Tap to Donate machine in Specsavers in Millfield Shopping Centre, Balbriggan, where a single tap donates €3. It was just over a year ago on 13th April 2021 that Yarrow left puppy raiser Anne Mulligan and went to Cork HQ for training to become an Assistance Dog. Yarrow’s family keeps in contact with Anne and have been sharing updates. We’re delighted to hear that he is settling in very well and is already making a huge difference. In May 2021 Anne welcomed another puppy into her home, golden Labrador Adel who is now 14 months old and went to Cork HQ on 20th April to start training on the Guide Dog Programme. Would you like to become a Puppy raiser or volunteer with your local branch of Guide Dogs? Further information is available from the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind website or by email .

You can also find out how to contact your local Guide Dogs support branch on Facebook at

A new network of leaders were presented with Certificates of Achievement at the She Leads Fingal Awards recently by AnnMarie Farrelly, Fingal County Council Chief Executive and Cllr Karen Power, Chairperson of Fingal County Council Women’s Caucus.The Awards Ceremony was held at Fingal County Council, County Hall, Main Street, Swords.The programme explored the achievements, challenges and opportunities that women experience in community action. Selected participants - all women in Fingal involved in their local communities - were supported to discover the leadership skills, resources and approaches already successfully used in Fingal. Certificates were awarded to Helen Galgey, Michelle Griffin, Sandra Losty, Carmelle Keane, Ginta Bezdeliga, Hanan Kaaoiss, Akvile Simanskiene and Alison Herlihy.Participants are interested in a wide variety of areas for community change. Sandra Losty is the founder of Recovery Hour, an online self-help community founded during the Covid-19 restrictions to aid people in recovery from addiction. Akvile Simanskiene is a Balbriggan artist creating murals with the community in public spaces. Helen Galgey is a coach and committee member at Baldoyle FC. Alison Herlihy leads a team supporting youth representation at Donabate Portrane Tennis Club. Carmelle Keane leads a mentoring programme for women in local radio at Phoenix FM.A networking event held at the end of the programme saw guests with national influence meet with participants to provide opportunities for mentoring and connection with national and regional networks. Guests included the Mayor of Fingal Seána Ó Rodaigh, Louise O’Reilly TD, National Women’s Council of Ireland, Sport Ireland, and Empower as well as influencers in the worlds of food, film, arts and wellbeing. She Leads Fingal was co-designed with Shelly Gaynor, a disability advisor and former Chair of the Independent Living Movement Ireland, Bridie O’Reilly, an experienced community activist and former Chair of the Older People’s Council of Ireland, and Dr Lucy Michael, an experienced lecturer in community leadership. She Leads Fingal is supported by the Community Development Office of Fingal County Council. A new one-day leadership programme for Fingal women is currently being planned.

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By Siobhan O’Neill White

Thinking of organising an Easter egg hunt for your little ones? It doesn’t have to be EGG-stravagant
but with a little effort, you can make it really fun!We like to create riddles for our children to solve, to find the eggs and treats we have dotted around the house and garden. And if it rains, don’t worry because you can do it all indoors! All you need is chocolate and imagination! Here are a few ideas for riddles and hiding places:• In the place you sit down, look for chocolate upside down (under the sofa!) • Where you lay your sleepy head, find a yummy treat instead (inside their pillowcases) • Inside the pots and pans, rummage around with your hands (choc eggs in pots/pans) • Where we block the daylight out, is a treat for you to scout (behind the curtains) • School is out for 2 whole weeks but check your schoolbag for scrummy treats • Where dirty clothes are made clean, look near the washing machine! (laundry basket)Dealz have easter eggs from €1.50, ideal for egg hunts. They also have Easter decorations to pop up around the house. Dunnes Stores have fab Easter decorations too, such as pastel coloured wreaths. The Works stores have ‘Colour your own’ Easter egg hunt bags and Easter eggs kits, which are ideal for rainy days for keeping kids busy whilst using their imagination. Dealz, The Works and Dunnes are all in Ilac SC if you fancy a trip to get ‘Easter’ ready! As we are still dealing with Covid, we may not be able to get together with family this year. If you are unable to see someone you love, All Ireland Foods delivers wonderful chocolate hampers, which would cheer up anyone stuck at home with Covid over Easter! And if you are getting over Covid or suffering with colds and coughs, which are so common at this time of year, check out Salt Cave and Salt Cave Paradise in Balbriggan. Our daughter is asthmatic,and we take her there to inhale the salt in the air. It is so good for clearing out her sinuses. It’s helpful for anyone who has sinus issues or is getting over a cold. There are toys for the children to play with and massage chairs for the adults to lay back in and relax. We’ve been hit by Covid recently and found this helpful for recovery.As always, stay safe this Easter and if you need inspiration for activities at home, or places for a family day out, check out


Fingal County Council`s Community Office, were delighted to be joined by Cllr Mary McCamley, deputising for Mayor of Fingal and Chief Executive AnnMarie Farrelly, in Millennium Park Blanchardstown to Celebrate International Women’s day on March 8thand Shine a light on Gender Bias and Safety Issues for Women. Also in attendance at the commemorative tree planting and symbolic walk event were local councillors and Director of Housing and Community Robert Burns with participants lighting the way as they walked in solidarity with women.Speaking at the event Cllr Mary McCamley said “While International Women’s day is an opportunity to Celebrate Women it’s also an opportunity to highlight challenges and issues that effect their lives.” Cllr McCamley spoke of the struggles of all girls and women in Ukraine at the moment and asked that they be remembered during the walk saying the walk was an opportunity to shine a light on issues and challenges women in society face so, “lets shine a light for women going forward”.Chief Executive AnnMarie Farrelly echoed Cllr McCamley’s sentiments for the women of Ukraine and said: “I am delighted to be here to mark this day with all of you and it is great to see so many local residents and groups along with so many local councillors which shows their commitment to their local constituents.” Over 100 people registered for the ‘Shine a Light’ event and many more people engaged in all of our International Women’s day events this week which is great to see. The Community Development team has been working hard on getting back out and engaging with local communities and groups and developing community initiatives. We look forward to opportunities for working with communities in the coming months.”

Staff at the HSE Contact Management Programme, in Dublin, celebrated its diverse and multicultural team through Holi, the Hindu festival of colours on our St Patrick’s Day . This year Holi was observed on sundown of Thursday, March 17th ending at sundown on Friday, March 18th.

Following the announcement that most Covid-19 restrictions were being lifted, Fingal County Council have been quick to confirm that they are ready to welcome a return of the annual St Patrick’s Day Parades to the streets of Fingal after a two-year absence. The Council has outlined that while official parades are set to take place in Swords, Blanchardstown and Balbriggan, community groups in Rush, Lusk and Skerries will also host celebrations on 17 March via the Council’s Festival and Events Funding Scheme. The theme this year is “Essential Workers”, chosen to thank the thousands of frontline staff for their tremendous hard work and dedication throughout the pandemic. The Council is also looking to make it a truly green parade by making it a carbon neutral event. Announcing the parades, Mayor of Fingal Cllr Seána Ó Rodaigh said: “The annual St Patrick’s Day parades held across the County have always been a highlight on the events calendar, so I am absolutely thrilled that we are able to get the crowds back once again where they can enjoy a full day of music, song and dance. “Reducing carbon emissions is very much at the heart of our thinking and to that end we want to be the first local authority in Ireland to go non-combustion engine in our parades. That’s why we are asking that only electric or hybrid vehicles be used on the routes, along with anyone who is choosing to run, scoot, cycle, or walk. “Táim ag súil go mór le gach duine a fheiceáil ag ceiliúradh don chéad uair le cúpla bliain anuas. Ocáid iontach a bheidh ann!” Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, AnnMarie Farrelly, said: “After such a long wait, this is a fantastic opportunity for Fingal residents to come together to celebrate. It’s also a time for the many local groups and businesses we have to get involved in creating a wonderful atmosphere at what is always one of the most popular events of the year.” The Council is inviting local businesses, organisations, youth clubs, sports clubs, schools and other groups from across the County to participate in these parades and help make this year’s celebrations truly memorable.Groups are being encouraged to incorporate the “Essential Workers” theme as part of their parade effort. Anyone interested in taking part in any of the parades should contact Davis Events at or register via Participation is free and applications close on 17 February.

Are you interested in volunteering? Do you have a few hours to spare a week? ‘Remember us’ are holding a Volunteer Recruitment Evening on: Friday 25th March 7.30 – 9pm at the ‘Remember Us’ Base, Unit 5 Balbriggan Retail Park, Dublin Rd. Balbriggan K32K002 . We have opportunities for: activity assistants .The Days and times we are looking for volnteers are - Monday mornings 10am – 1pm Monday afternoons 4pm – 6pm .Tuesday afternoons 4pm-6pm Wednesday afternoons 4pm – 6pm Thursday mornings 10am – 1pm and Thursday afternoons 4pm –6pm - Friday night’s 7 – 9 Saturday’s various times depending on what we are doing. We also require cleaners on a few days per week and helpers for fundraisng events , at various times during the year. Why not come along and have a chat with us, see our state of the art base and see some of our members in action.In the meantime, check out our website If you have any queries’ please contact Nora or Anne on 0860457003 or email .

Operation Transformation Leader and Swords resident Katie Jones along with the Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Seána Ó Rodaigh, joined enthusiastic walkers on Saturday January 16th in Holywell Park to complete a 3k walk organised by Fingal County Council Sport Office in conjunction with Operation Transformation. The annual walk is supported by Sport Ireland in association with the RTE TV show and provides an opportunity for people to get more physically active. Mayor of Fingal Cllr Seána Ó Rodaigh said: “This was a perfect opportunity for people to kick start their ‘get fit’ New Year resolutions with a short fun walk and to hopefully use it to start exercising on a regular basis. It was fantastic to have Katie here today to show her our support as she embarks on her journey on Operation Transformation” Holywell park has seen a number of upgrades in the last few years, including the addition of fitness equipment and provides an ideal location to get those steps in around the 800m path. If you want to continue walking or running in 2022 many GAA clubs are taking part in the ‘Ireland Lights Up’ initiative by turning on their floodlights and opening their walking tracks to the community for exercise. Fingal’s many parks and 88km of coastline provide great locations to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle and there are also 6 adult parkrun events (5km) and 5 junior parkrun events (2km) in Fingal offering free weekly timed runs, for information see For more information on getting physically active check Fingal County Council Sports Office on social media or

Fingal County Council has announced that Robert Burns has taken up the role of Director for Housing and Community Development from 24 January. Robert joins the council’s executive team at a time when Fingal has committed over €390 million to deliver a significant housing programme under the Government’s Housing for All initiative. He is taking over the role from Liam Burke who has been the Acting Director of Fingal’s Housing and Community Development team following the departure of Margaret Geraghty last May to the Housing Delivery Co-ordination Office at the Local Government Management Agency. Welcoming the appointment, Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, AnnMarie Farrelly said: “We are delighted to be able to bring someone of Robert’s calibre to Fingal. Having his extensive experience and expertise on board will be invaluable to help drive the county to reach its ambitions around housing provision as well as developing the many community assets that benefit everyone who lives, works or visits here. On starting his new role, Mr Burns said: “This is an exciting time to be at the helm of one of the key departments within Fingal and I’m looking forward to playing a leading role in helping to build upon the excellent work already underway.“I will be particularly keen to work with local communities and stakeholder groups to help ensure there is not only good quality housing built across the county, but that we can also deliver a strong regeneration and development programme which can transform and improve neighbourhoods for residents and visitors alike.” Currently Fingal manages and maintains a stock of around 6,000 homes and is working on the development of landbanks at Church Fields in Dublin 15, Ballymastone in Donabate and Hayestown in Rush. A graduate of Queens University Belfast, Robert has extensive experience as an engineering consultant and also worked at Irish Rail where he specialised in the project management of infrastructure projects. Robert has a keen interest in the fields of housing, sustainable development, transportation, community development, town and village renewal and climate action.