Quiet fisherman, Joe McGrath landed Ballymore Person of the Year title at last Saturday’s community awards night, much to the delight of his family and fellow anglers from the Trout & Salmon Anger’s Association (TSAA).
Joined by his wife, Evelyn, brother Mick and children Deirdre, Irene, Siobhan, Emily, Brendan and PJ, Joe was overcome when Bugle editors, Rose B O’Donoghue and Tim Hempenstall Ryan announced him the overall winner in recognition of his work on various projects such as the Resource Centre and the Church of the Immaculate Conception. As a member of the fishing club over the past 37 years, Joe recognized the ongoing pollution of the River Liffey and subsequent damage to fish stock and their habitat.
His work helped to secure the Sludge Treatment Plant and thereafter, reduce and monitor pollution levels; he is credited as having attended all club meetings, competitive weigh-ins and always present when river or feeder stream enhancement work was carried out. The River Walk has since been developed and is now a major amenity, owned by the community.
A shy person by nature, Joe was surprised but delighted at the support shown him at the event, which drew a full house, despite Kildare’s game against Tyrone. TD Jack Wall attended, along with Cllrs Ivan Keatley and Fintan Brett, Monsignor John Wilson and members of the Community Development Association.
In a light hearted manner, Rose and Tim introduced award winners Margaret McDonald (the only only award nominees wearing designer shoes), Kevin Keenan and Sean Murphy along with Youth Award Winner, Paschal Thompson and Mick Dowling who received the Des Kennedy Memorial Award for Sporting Achievements in 2011. Mick received his award from Carol Kennedy, daughter of the late Des, who was a member of the Board of Directors of Naas Credit Union, who sponsored the event. Tim acknowledged the support of Naas CU and commiserated with General Manager, Sean Murray, whose father passed away recently.
Floral presentations were made to artist Fiona Barrett who supplied the handwritten scrolls and prints of local scenes presented to the award winners and to Irene Gaffney of Gallery & Gifts who donated the frames and framework and to Rose for her contribution to the Ballymore Bugle.
Jimmy Pearse, Ballymore Person of the Year 2011 then addressed the audience and appealed for more volunteers for a local emergency responders’ programme currently being set up in the area.