The Society is looking forward to the year ahead, and as Chairman of the Society I would like to thank Swords Local community news for their support for letting groups like ourselves publicise upcoming events and Society news. The Society was formed back in 1944 and was known as the FINGAL OLD IRA WELFARE SOCIETY. AS the then name of the Society would suggest, it was founded mainly to help OLD IRA men and their families who had fallen on hard times as a result of unemployment and illness – in some cases due to hardship endured during the struggle for our National Independence which was not won without a stern fight for our freedom in the period between 1916 – 1921 throughout Fingal and at the Battle of Ashbourne. The Society also was involved in seeing that events of the struggle for Independence were suitably commemorated and, to this end, it was decided to hold a memorial mass on Easter Sunday in a different Parish in Fingal and also to hold an Annual mass and parade in Ashbourne in September, this tradition has, happily, been maintained up to this present day. In 1990 it was decided by the committee of the day to change from the Welfare to the Commemorative society and for clarity, to include 1916 – 1921 . So now we jump head to the present since 2016 up till the end of last year the Society has held over 100 events throughout Fingal and Ashbourne and have made our first film Who Shot Sergeant Kirwan directed by Society member Cathal Boland it’s an Award winning Production and available to watch free on YouTube , but we could do our events our make films without the financial support and help from Fingal County council our members and the support of the local community throughout Fingal and Ashbourne. So, the first event this year will be the St Patrick’s Parade in Swords and the Society will also be taking part in Blachardstown’s Parade. So, if you like to get involved with the Society you can contact me on 086 3518927 Paul O’Brien.

In 2022 we held 11 events throughout the year from which a fantastic total amount of €7,602.49 was raised. We would like to thank all who supported us and all the volunteers for their work throughout the year. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Specsavers, Balbriggan for sponsoring the Santa Grotto in Millfield Shopping centre during November and December, of which a total of €1,119.95 was raised. Would you like to support our local Balbriggan/ North County Dublin Branch of Irish Guide Dogs this February? Why not attend the Balbriggan Feis being held in Clann Mhuire GAA Hall, Naul, Co. Dublin on the 11th and 12th February with musician Kevin Warren. Pre-registration through WeFeis is €5 or €8 per family (siblings only) and pre-registration is open on Monday 23rd January until Friday the 3rd of February. Or you can pay on the day for all dances with solos being €5 and Championships, confined and cup competitions being €10. A great time will be had and all proceeds go to our Balbriggan/ North County Dublin Branch of Irish Guide Dogs. You can also support us by using our ‘Tap to Donate’ machine in Specsavers, Millfield Shopping Centre, Balbriggan, where a tap of your card donates €3 to us. Since July 2022 we also have a new machine in Oakes Pharmacy, Skerries. This one is slightly different than Specsavers, as in it allows for a minimum donation of €2 by the tap of a phone but when you tap, it prompts you to open an app and select the amount you would like to donate.We are also involved in the current round of Community Fund at Tesco, Millfield Shopping Centre and we would appreciate if you would vote for us using your blue token. We appreciate all your support. If you are interested in volunteering with us please feel free to contact our Balbriggan/North County Dublin Branch of Irish Guide Dogs
Phone/text: 085 7663107 - Email:GuideDogsBalbriggan@gmail.com or Find us on Facebook: Balbriggan Branch of Guide Dogs

In partnership with the UCC School of Law, The Glucksman Gallery commissioned seven Irish picture book authors to respond to different themes within the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Artists Mary Murphy, Róisín Hahessy, Niamh Sharkey, Peter Donnelly, Fatti Burke, Chris Haughton and Chris Judge created seven new illustrations focusing on family and identity, education, creativity and play, justice and the right to be heard, equality, climate change and the environment, and migrants and refugees. Fingal Libraries is delighted to host the Viewpoints art exhibition from January to June as it tours around each library, culminating on 10th June at Cruinniú na nÓg, Creative Ireland’s annual day of free creative activity for children and young adults. Viewpoints is part of the Art Library initiative, a loan collection of artworks for sharing to community hubs across Ireland, and is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland. The exhibition was launched in Malahide Library on Saturday 28th January at 11.00am and was a fun morning for all the family. Exhibition tour dates: - (28th January – 19th February - Malahide Library) - (20th February – 3rd March - Baldoyle Library) - (6th March – 19th March - Balbriggan Library) - (20th March – 2nd April - Rush Library) - (3rd April – 16th April - Donabate Library) - (17th April – 30th April Swords & Skerries Libraries) - (1st May – 14th May - Howth & Garristown Libraries ) - (15th May – 4th June - Blanchardstown Library) - (5th June – 10th June Cruinniú na nÓg 2023. A fun and interactive programme of creative workshops will take place for children and their families as the exhibition tours each library so watch out for more details!

Fingal County Council’s Sports Office were delighted to hold the Exercise: Energise “Come and Try” Multi-Sports Day recently for the first time since 2019. Deputy Mayor of Fingal Councillor Cathal Boland and Director of Housing and Community Robert Burns were in attendance at the National Indoor Athletics Arena in Abbottstown to see over 300 teenage girls from eight secondary schools from across Fingal take part in the day. The participants got to try out twelve different fun sports activities ranging from Frisbee Golf, Olympic Handball, Basketball, Uni-hoc, High and Long Jump and Tug O War. The girls are all participants in this school year’s Sports office’s Exercise: Energise Programme which had a record thirteen Fingal Secondary Schools taking part in the initiative this year. The Programme is aimed at girls aged 12-15 years who are not involved in sport or physical activity and has been running for over ten years with financial support from Sports Ireland’s Women in Sport funding stream and from the Fingal Sports Office.

It is estimated that about 1.9 billion drinks bottles and cans are consumed each year in Ireland, in-house and ‘on the go’. The Deposit Return Scheme aims to boost the recycling rate for these drinks containers by charging a small, refundable deposit for each plastic bottle or can. The Scheme will include PET plastic bottles and aluminium and steel cans between 150ml and 3 litres. A deposit of 15c will apply to containers 500mls or less and a deposit of 25c for each container above 500ml.

The Scheme will be operated by Deposit Return Scheme Ireland CLG, trading as Re-turn, who were appointed in May 2022. All producers and retailers are legally obliged to register with Re-turn. Registration is open at re-turn.ie. The Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) encourages people to recycle drink containers. It works by charging anyone who buys a drink a small deposit for the plastic bottle or can that it comes in. Customers get this money back when they return the container to a retailer or other collection point to be recycled. The Deposit Return Scheme is a major project involving the development of complex IT, infrastructure and communication systems, which will be delivered by Re-turn over the course of 2023. The Department of Environment, Climate, and Communications will work closely with Re-turn on the implementation of the Scheme, which will start immediately with the registration of producers and retailers. The planned ‘go-live’ date for consumers is February 2024.

Fingal TD and Minister Joe O’Brien said recently, “I am Delighted with the announcement of over €33 Million from my Department to Upgrade Community Centres, including Skerries Community Association - SCA and Portmarnock Sports and Leisure Club. It is the Largest ever capital investment in Community Centres and will allow them to avail of extensions to existing centres, energy efficiency upgrades and improved access for people with disabilities amongst other works supported. This announcement will help community centres around the country and particularly those in Fingal that were awarded funding. Both Skerries Community Association and Portmarnock Sports & Leisure Club and others have done great work within their communities and this funding will help them continue to do so. Cllr Karen Power - Balbriggan, Balrothery, Loughshinny and Skerries said: “The funding for Skerries Community Centre announced by Joe today is very welcome. The Centre is the beating heart of our community here in Skerries providing a home for many sports and social clubs as well as educational facilities and it is great to see it supported in this way.”

YMCA Dublin was delighted to welcome Carlos Sanvee, World General Secretary of YMCA International, to its offices on Aungier Street this week.Earlier this year, the World YMCA Secretary General announced the Vision 2030 movement, which commits to igniting change, while daily activities through YMCA services continue to transform young people and communities. The visit to Dublin is one of many that the World General Secretary is making in Ireland, to launch the vision for the future. YMCA’s vision is a world where young people, their families and communities flourish in body, mind and spirit. Kathryn O’Mahony, CEO of YMCA Dublin said: “I am delighted to welcome World General Secretary of YMCA International Carlos Sanvee to YMCA Dublin. During Carlos’ time in Ireland he will launch YMCA Ireland’s new strategy for connecting with young people across Ireland. YMCA Dublin’s strategy was launched a few years back and we are excited to be part of a global vision to support our young people and families.” YMCA Dublin has an extensive history of working with young people, adults and their families in communities in need of support. Training and development opportunities have been facilitated for young people through their youth work department, Community Employment Scheme (CE scheme), and its Réidh programme. YMCA Dublin is a community-based charity operating as a social enterprise, providing services for children, young people and families. It is the second oldest YMCA in the world. Built on a social enterprise model, all income YMCA Dublin generates goes directly back into funding local community projects and initiatives, youth work, youth cafe, plus one mentoring, community work, community childcare and community employment. YMCA Dublin works with communities to support individuals, children and young people to develop the skills, experiences, relationships and behaviours for healthy, confident and successful futures. For more information on the work of YMCA Dublin and it’s programmes, please visit YMCA.ie

On the 30th of October 2022 Project Fashion Academy hosted their annual ‘Young Designer of the Year Awards’ in the City North Hotel and Conference Centre, Gormanston, Co. Meath. The event this year was in support of a very worthy charity, Make a Wish Ireland who rely entirely on the generosity and support of individuals and events run by businesses like Project Fashion. Make-A-Wish Ireland has one simple aim – to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, to bring hope, strength, and happiness and this year they are celebrating 30 years of granting wishes. Paul and Paula Keeley, Founders of Project Fashion, Swords, Co. Dublin, came up with an idea in 2019 to create a platform to inspire their many students and raise money for charity. The awards this year were again a phenomenal success raising over eleven thousand euro for Make a Wish Ireland. The fantastic partners of this year’s show were The City North Hotel and Conference Centre, Flynn Park Outdoor Adventures in Balbriggan and WOW Balloons who’s support ensured fundraising success! The show itself was hosted by the fabulous Glenda Gilson who was joined by four inspirational celebrity judges, Orla-Morris Toolen (this year’s RTE Junk Kouture Presenter), Helen Steele (Fashion Designer extraordinaire with current collections in Dunnes Stores), Emer O’Neill (RTE’s Homework Hub Presenter, Activist and Children’s Author) and Katie O’Connor (This years Miss Dublin and an All-Ireland Champion Dancer). This year’s show was even bigger and better than the last and according to event director Sabrina Morris, “There were even more sponsors this year who Project Fashion said were at the core of making the event the great success it was, and they included Videographer Majestic 360, KB Designs, Hickey’s, Heaven Ashbourne, Dessert Diamonds, PEELO, Bly Amour, Helen Steele Fashion, Andrew Collins Photography, Film Equipment Hire, Eurospar Kinsealy, The Flower Yard, Pigsback.ie, One4all, The Bridal Outlet, and Designworks Photography. If any fashion creatives, individuals, or businesses would like to get involved with next years Project Fashion’s ‘Young Designer of the Year Awards 2023’ please get in touch by emailing pfashionmarketing@gmail.com.

A major, new national campaign has been launched to get as many people exercising and participating in physical activity as possible in our biggest urban cities. The new Sport Ireland Active Cities’ project calls on everyone across Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, and Waterford to come together to create more opportunities for participation in sport and physical activity through collaboration, partnership, and planning. Sport Ireland officially unveils Active Cities, a project based on the World Health Organisation’s Global Action Plan on Physical Activity (GAPPA) Framework, which focuses on increasing physical activity amongst those who are least active in society. Active Cities prioritises physical activity and sport for all and is underpinned by four key pillars - Active Systems, Active Environments, Active Societies, and Active People. To date €3.4m has been invested to engage with communities across the five cities, creating change for those who are economically, socially or educationally disadvantaged or those who have a disability. When it comes to being physically active, only 42% of adults and only 13% of children met the recommended national guidelines as per the 2021 Irish Sports Monitor. With over 33% of the population living across the 5 cities, physical inactivity is negatively impacting the health, economy, environment, and community of our cities. Active Cities is about creating opportunities so that all citizens can lead healthier lifestyles in the context of sport and physical activity. The vision of Active Cities is to engage, increase and maintain the number of citizens regardless of age or ability participating in sport and physical activity in their city. Collaborative and partnership-based by nature, Active Cities is being led locally by the eight (8) LSPs across Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. Highlighting the importance of raising awareness Sport Ireland CEO, Dr Una May added: “Sport Ireland are proud to support a wonderful initiative such as Active Cities. Communication and promotion will be central to the success and impact of Active Cities. Research has highlighted the importance of identifying and connecting with trusted local community leaders, willing to promote opportunities within their locality. This initiative will provide a fantastic opportunity for Active Cities to generate a sense of community and togetherness, while bringing sport and physical activity to people’s lives”.

TIER Mobility, has announced that 120 new e-bikes will be deployed by the end of November across its Fingal shared e-bike scheme. TIER has also completed the expansion of its business area to cover the whole of Fingal, letting users pick up an e-bike from Balbriggan to Howth. TIER Mobility is the world’s leading shared micro-mobility provider, with a mission to Change Mobility for Good. By providing people with a range of shared, light electric vehicles, from e-scooters to e-bikes and e-mopeds, powered by a proprietary Energy Network, TIER helps cities reduce their dependence on cars. Founded in 2018 by Lawrence Leuschner, Matthias Laug and Julian Blessin, TIER is headquartered in Berlin and currently operates in 250+ cities across 22 countries in Europe and the Middle East. With a focus on providing the safest, most equitable and most sustainable mobility solution, TIER has been climate neutral since 2020. Since the scheme was launched in June of this year, Fingal residents have cycled over 2,500 hours on TIER e-bikes, and the average trip distance is over 4.5km, a much further distance than the majority of towns and cities that TIER operates in.Peadar Golden, Ireland Country Manager, TIER commented: “The response we have received since launching our shared e-bike service in Fingal has been phenomenal. The journey times and distances we see are both beyond what we expected, and with more bikes in more areas Fingal residents will be able to leave the car at home more often” David Storey, Director of Environment, Climate Action and Active Travel for Fingal County Council welcomed the expansion. “We’re very pleased to be expanding the TIER offering across Fingal to over 300 eBikes. We are also pleased to see that the TIER bikes are working in addition to existing push bike fleets, effectively doubling the number of options available in the county. Fingal residents and visitors have been enjoying this low carbon, convenient and affordable Active Travel option since it arrived earlier this year and we expect to see lots more people give TIER eBikes a try in the coming weeks as their numbers increase.”