Log in

Black Donkey Brewery ‘scoops’ enterprise award





Black Donkey Brewing took home the Roscommon County Enterprise Award for 2018 on Monday afternoon at the Abbey Hotel. The company, which was founded in 2014 in Ballinlough, claimed the trophy as well as €3,500 in prize-money. There was also a special award for Employment and Growth Potential for Scott Hunter’s NCLS Crane & Lifting Services company, which is based in Scramogue.

  Speaking at the awards ceremony, Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council Cllr. Orla Leyden said the event was designed to “recognise and reward the commitment, dedication and contribution of the micro business sector to the economy of Co. Roscommon”.

  She added that 2018 marked a significant milestone for the National Enterprise Awards, which will be held at the Mansion House, Dublin on May 24th.

  “This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the National Enterprise Awards. Winners from all years are being invited, including Roscommon’s 2001 national winner, Midland Precision Tool and Die Ltd.”.

  Roscommon County Council Director of Services, Martin Lydon, thanked each of the eight finalists: Black Donkey Brewing, Bio-Friendly, Crackncampers, Class Grass, NB Studio, NCLS Crane & Lifting Services, Seams Sew Simple and Westboat Boatbuilders and wished them well in each of their respective businesses. He added that they could be assured of the Local Enterprise Office’s continued assistance.

  Richard Siberry, who along with his wife Michaela, runs Black Donkey Brewing Ltd. was understandably thrilled with the county award.

  “It’s fantastic, there were very strong competitors there and we came in not really expecting anything. We almost didn’t come at all because of the storm over the weekend. We had a lot of shipments that were delayed and I said that if the truck hadn’t arrived by ten o’clock I’d have to stay and load it and miss the event. Thankfully it showed up early and we could make it!”

  The Ballinlough beer company has gone from strength to strength since Richard and Michaela started brewing in 2014, and 2018 promises to be another busy year.

  Richard now hopes that the implementation of legislation to allow the sale of alcohol on the premises will open up further revenue and employment opportunites in Ballinlough.

  “We’re still waiting to see what the Dáil comes up with in terms of what we colloquially call the ‘Tap Room Bill’ (Intoxicating Liquor (Breweries and Distilleries) Bill 2016). It will pass in one shape or form and if we can use it we’d certainly like to strike while the iron is hot because a nice little tourist business in Ballinlough would be great for the community. It would also give us the opportunity to create another job or two, even on a part-time basis”.

  Richard paid tribute to his colleagues and retail partners before expressing his gratitiude for the support of the Local Enterprise Office.

  “It’s been invaluable. LEO got us off the ground with a primary grant back in 2014 and they have been very supportive of our attendance and trade shows and festivals over the last four years. Obviously this award today is fantastic support and recognition that we must be doing something right. The door is always open and we have a great relationship with all the staff over at LEO”.

  Meanwhile, NCLS Crane & Lifting Services picked up €1,500 after winning the special award for Employment and Growth Potential. Scott Hunter established the Scramogue company back in 2015 and said the support from the Local Enterprise Office has been invaluable.

  “It’s brilliant (to win) and I’d definitely recommend anyone in business to get involved because LEO will help you with your business plans, ideas and help you to grow your business. This isn’t the end either, it (the support) will continue on after this”.

  Black Donkey Brewing will now go forward to the National Enterprise Awards which take place in the Mansion House on May 24th with regional judging to take place within the next few weeks at the Hodson Bay Hotel.












Business...at a glance - November 17th



Major recognition for Louise’s Beauty Studio


Congratulations to Louise of Louise’s Beauty Studio in Roscommon town following recognition as one of Ireland’s top Repechage skincare salons!

  The Repechage head office in America recently selected some of their top salons from across Europe and the USA to feature in a short video at a major conference in New York, this coming December – and among them was Louise’s Beauty Studio in Roscommon.

  The salon has stocked Repechage seaweed facials, body treatments and amazing products for over fourteen years.

  Proprietor Louise Conneally-Dowd told the Roscommon People she is “thrilled” with this award.


‘Titanic boss jumps ship’



A contender for headline of the week appeared in the Business Section of the Irish Times which reported on an impressive new ‘signing’ by Westport House and Hotel.

  Under the headline ‘Titanic boss jumps ship for Hotel Westport’ the paper continued: “The boss of one of Belfast’s top tourist attractions is jumping ship to become the new chief executive of Westport House and Hotel in Westport in Co. Mayo next year.”

  Tim Husbands is the man in question. Having overseen the huge success of the Titanic attraction, Mr. Husbands is now heading West. Quite a coup for Westport!


Rents rise in Roscommon


Rents rose nationwide by an average of 11.2% in the year to September 2017, according to the latest quarterly Rental Price Report by Daft.ie.

  The average monthly rent nationwide during the third quarter of 2017 was €1,198, the sixth quarter in a row a new all-time high has been set.

  The rate of inflation represents a slight slowdown in inflation from the rate recorded in the second quarter of 2017 (11.8%); the largest on record was the 13.5% increase recorded in late 2016.

In Dublin, the increase in rents in the year to September 2017 was 12.3% and rents in the Capital are now almost 23% higher than their previous peak in 2008, or €330 a month. The annual rate is unchanged from the second quarter and this is largely true of rents in the other major cities.

  In Cork, rents rose by 5.3% in the year to September, while in Galway, rents were 9.8% higher than a year previously. In Limerick city, rents rose by 10.9% during the past twelve months, while in Waterford the increase was 8.5%. Outside the five main cities, rents have risen by 10.8%.

  In Roscommon, rents were on average 7% higher in the third quarter of 2017 than a year previously. The average advertised rent is now €613, up 24% from its lowest point.


Enda takes his ‘best idea’ home to Roscommon


Enda Mahon left school not long after completing the Junior Cert and like many young men at the time decided to go into the booming construction industry. When recession hit, the only option was to emigrate in order to find work. Enda chose Brisbane in Australia and it was there that he came up with a business idea that not only earned him a Young Entrepreneur award in 2015 but also looks set to provide employment back in his native Roscommon.

  “Business was always something in my mind. I went working for local people like Ward and Burke when I left school for a number of years. I worked in England too. Due to the downturn I went to Australia and worked with Murphy Pipe and Civil in Brisbane. I was over there for six years, started as labourer and worked my way up to supervisor,” he said.

  It was while working as a supervisor that Enda saw the potential danger to workers involved in the transportation of pipes.

  He said: “When I became supervisor I stood back and saw that there was danger. The pipes would be transported by trailer and they’d be strapped down and there would be wedges and all that but it’s a danger zone. I stood back and wondered how I could solve the problem.

  “I came up with a system that would secure the pipes on any ISO trailer and it’s operated by remote control. The truck driver doesn’t have to get out of the cab so the pipes can come off without labour. I can create a 30-metre exclusion zone now and you’re saving money and saving time.”

  Enda’s company, ProGrip Systems, is at the product patent stage and has already attracted potential investors. He expects the product to be at the manufacturing stage this year and ready to roll out to the main global pipeline players in places like the US, Australia and Asia.

  However, none of this post-recession success story would be possible without help from local organizations, according to Enda.

  “I was in Australia thinking ‘I want to do this at home’ ‘How can I do it?’ I got talking to a family friend and found LEO on the Internet. I contacted Louise Ward as soon as I came home and had a meeting with her. From there on I got mentoring and practice for doing my pitch. They’ve given me grants and very good contacts. I won the Young Entrepreneur award for Best Idea in 2015 and then I went on to do the New Frontiers programme in Athlone,” he said.

  A grateful Enda also had high praise for James Donlon and WestBic and Nick Allen and the New Frontiers programme in Athlone.

  He said: “There is support for businesses in Roscommon. I’ve hit walls but I’ve got over them. The mountain is still there but I’ll climb it!”

  With the support of everyone involved in the ProGrip project as well as his partner Gisella, daughter Lilly and son Oliver, Enda will be hoping to scale the mountain following the launch of his ‘best idea’ over the next few months.

Nervous wait ends for Leaving Cert students

The nervous wait finally came to an end yesterday (Wednesday) as 554 secondary school students from across County Roscommon received their Leaving Certificate results.

  Gathered in schoolyards across the county, students learnt their faith and following some quick calculations, discovered their options ahead of third level semesters in September.

  Results were good for the most part, with one student in the Convent of Mercy, Roscommon – Katelyn O’Hara – obtaining an astonishing 625 points overall.

  Convent of Mercy Principal, Miriam Hunt, said that 20% of students had received in excess of 500 points and that she and the staff were “thrilled” with the results. Other schools throughout the region also experienced very positive results.

  Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice advised students not to panic if their results weren’t what they had hoped for.

  “Students receiving Leaving Cert results this week shouldn’t panic because there is something out there for everyone, and even if the results are not what the student was hoping for there are plenty of alternative ways to get the third level and other options that they require.”

  Deputy Fitzmaurice urged students to avail of help and advice before making decisions on their future: “While the results of the Leaving Cert are very important it is not the be all and end all, and there is plenty of career advice and help out there for young people on how to plan for the future.”


€330,000 in funding for local food and artisan markets – Feighan

Fine Gael TD Frank Feighan has encouraged organisers of food and artisan markets in Roscommon to apply for new Government funding.

  “I welcome the announcement of this total funding of €330,000 by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney and Minister of State Ann Phelan,” he said.

  The funding is being made available under the CEDRA Rural Innovation and Development Fund for both community based markets for food/artisan produce along with existing social farming operations.

  These two schemes are being advertised nationally in local papers.

  “This funding programme will provide a great boost for community based markets across Roscommon,” said Deputy Feighan.

  “The scheme is open to all rural towns and villages with populations of up to 10,000 and offers potential funding of between €5,000-10,000 for development of existing or start-up local food and artisan markets. 

  “Those who are producing food and artisan products within their local communities deserve our support.

  “This is the type of project which supports rural development in a very practical way, as it helps stimulate commercial and retail activity in rural high streets.

  “It also helps to develop a strong sense of community involvement and achievement. Almost 200,000 people are employed in tourism and 8,000 additional jobs will be created in 2015. “

  Application forms and fuller schemes details can be found on the Department of Agriculture’s website (Agriculture.gov.ie).

  The closing date is August 14.


Roscommon businesses looking forward to Connacht final weekend

The President of Roscommon Chamber of Commerce, Declan Molloy, says the businesses of the town and surrounding areas are looking forward to a busy weekend.

  Hyde Park will host the Minor and Senior Connacht Football Finals this Sunday and it is expected that up to 20,000 football fans will be in town.

  This offers local businesses the opportunity to showcase what’s best about Roscommon town and surrounding areas.

  Mr. Molloy said that hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, fast food outlets and pubs should all benefit from the influx of people over the weekend.

  Mr Molloy went on to say how important it is to the local economy that Hyde Park is developed as a premium venue for GAA games in the area.

  “Due to our location it will mean we can attract more matches, such as the likes of All-Ireland ‘Qualifiers’ when a neutral venue is required – and neutral supporters from neighbouring counties can easily access the grounds. A developed Hyde Park will be good for generations to come.”

  Chairman of Roscommon Town Vintners Mr Larry Brennan said that having the Connacht Final in Roscommon town was a huge and very welcome boost for local pubs.

  “Not only will the pubs benefit but the whole hospitality sector including hotels, restaurants, shops, takeaways, B&Bs etc. will all benefit substantially from the town’s hosting of such a large event as a Connacht Final,” he said.

  “Many other towns on the Sligo and Mayo routes stand to benefit substantially also. It underlines the importance that the development of Hyde Park is to the entire business community of the county,” Mr. Brennan concluded.  

  Mr. Molloy thanked everyone involved in organising the fixture in Roscommon this weekend.

  “Hopefully the sun will shine. My message to the public is come early and enjoy the atmosphere that ‘Connacht Final Day’ brings to the area.” 

Taoiseach visits WDC in Ballaghaderreen

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, recently visited the Western Development Commission office in Ballaghaderreen to meet the team behind the organisation.

  At the meeting with Mr. Kenny a clear case for the need for continued progress in finding sustainable solutions for the Western Region’s growth was made. It was emphasised that an enlightened, innovative approach to developing the region’s economy in the coming years was also important in the national interest.

  In addition recent developments, areas such as policy, access to finance, renewable energy, the creative economy, tourism and life sciences were discussed.

  Earlier in the day the Commission’s Chairperson and CEO had a two-hour meeting with one of the Taoiseach’s special advisors, Mr. Andrew McDowell, during which ambitious plans for an enhanced role for the WDC were discussed.

  Chairperson Paddy McGuinness said: “The WDC very much appreciates An Taoiseach making himself available to meet with the staff and discuss the challenge facing us all to accelerate the region’s growth in the coming years”.

  CEO Ian Brannigan stated: “The WDC staff were delighted to meet with the Taoiseach and outline to him the contribution made by the commission in supporting over 2,200 jobs in the region in recent times”.

  Furthermore he stated: “We believe we reinforced the case of having a strong Western Region fully contribute to the national growth story. Critically the WDC’s expertise, insight and investment in regional enterprise growth, best works when it is led by the region directly.”

  A presentation was made to the Taoiseach of a cycling shirt signifying the ‘Yeats2015’ WDC supported 150th commemoration of the birth of the iconic poet WB Yeats.

Subscribe to this RSS feed