North County Leader

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Community Collaboration At Its Best

Guide Dog StoryPictured at Millfield Shopping Centre with the new model dog to be used on Guide Dog charity boxes are Tom O'Neill (Balbriggan Guide Dogs Association), with Seán Corrigan and Johnny McLeer from Balbriggan Men's Shed

Tom O’Neill of the Balbriggan/North County Dublin Guide Dogs Association spoke about an unusual collaboration he had with the Balbriggan Men’s Shed, where local community co-operation saved the day.

Tom told the County Leader about how his involvement with the Men’s Shed came about. He said, “I’m a bit of a hoarder and I don’t like waste. We would normally have about 80 charity boxes at various counter tops at locations across North County Dublin and some of these inevitably get damaged.
Some of the iconic dogs that are mounted on these boxes would have been taken off, broken off or just fell off. I started to collect these various dogs and as time elapsed, I collected about 20 of them and placed them in a box.

“At this stage, I didn’t know what to do with them. It was then that I came across the Men’s Shed in Balbriggan and became friendly with Billy Troy and I approached Billy and the rest of the lads and said that we could turn this into a trophy/presentation type item if we got the right type of wood. The lads agreed and it was then that the mahogany from Gormanston College was gifted to Balbriggan Men’s Shed.”

“While the work is purely for the top of the charity boxes, they could easily double over as trophies, such is the quality of work done by the Men’s Shed. It’s a really lovely example of community co-operation at its best,” said Tom.

Sean Corrigan of Balbriggan Men’s Shed said, “Our job was focused on putting the dog and the timber together. This is another excellent example of collaboration between Balbriggan Men’s Shed and other community organisations. The Men’s Shed got a gift of some mahogany from Gormanston College when they were closing down the school. Out of that, we were able to train the men in the use of a router, so they were able to cut a nice shape around the timber and mount the dog on to that. This was all done at the request of Tom O’Neill of the Balbriggan/North County Dublin Guide Dogs Association. We just loved collaborating with Tom, who does wonderful work in the community.

It was one of our members, Billy Troy, who is doing great work with his great skills and he collaborates with Tom on a regular basis. It was a real pleasure to be able to assist Tom in this way,” he concluded.