Caitriona Balfe: official photo from

Caitriona Balfe: official photo from


Michael Fisher  Northern Standard  Thursday 28th May p.1 and p.2

Caitriona Balfe who is currently filming a second television series of ‘Outlander’ in Scotland was in Dublin last weekend for the Irish Film and Television Academy film and drama awards. The Monaghan actress, who is from Tydavnet, began a very successful career in modelling at the age of 19. She featured in advertising campaigns for many top fashion brands and graced the covers of magazines such as Vogue and Elle. In 2009 Caitriona returned to her initial career choice in drama. She moved from New York to Los Angeles. spending her first year in the city taking acting classes. She appeared in the films Super 8, as the protagonist’s mother, Now You See Me, as Michael Caine’s character’s wife, and Escape Plan as the CIA lawyer that hires Sylvester Stallone’s character. In 2012 she portrayed Alex #34 in The Beauty Inside, a social film divided into six episodes which narrates the story of a man named Alex (Topher Grace) who wakes up in a different body every day. The following year she starred in the music videos for First Fires by British musician Bonobo, and for Chloroform by French band Phoenix. The actress was part of the main cast of the Warner Brothers web series H+: The Digital Series, in which she played Breanna Sheehan, one of the executives of a biotechnology company that develops an implanted computer which allows people to be connected to the Internet 24 hours a day.

In September 2013 Caitriona was cast as the lead character, Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser, on the Starz television series Outlander, based on the novels written by Diana Gabaldon. The series which was filmed in Scotland premiered in August 2014. She plays a mid-20th-century nurse who is transported back in time to the war-torn mid-18th-century Scottish Highlands. Both the series and her performance have received critical acclaim.

In December 2014 Entertainment Weekly named Caitriona Balfe as one of its twelve Breakout Stars of 2014.

In January it was announced that she had been added to the cast of the film Money Monster, directed by Jodie Foster and starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts. She will play the director of Public Relations of a company whose stock bottoms out, causing a man to lose all of his savings and subsequently take hostages on a live TV show.

In March 2015 she received a Saturn Award nomination for Best Actress on Television for her work in Outlander, the second series of which is currently being filmed. The following month she was named one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World”.

Caitriona was one of four to be nominated for Best Actress in a Lead Role Drama in the Irish Film and Television Academy Awards. The award went to Charlie Murphy for her performance in the RTÉ television drama Love/Hate. The Academy also announced that Caitriona would be among four talented new actors and actresses nominated for the Rising Star Award, sponsored by the Irish Film Board. The judges decided that the award should go to actress Sarah Greene for her performance in the film Noble. Last year’s winner was Jamie Dornan and Michael Fassbender won in 2009.

Caitriona was also invited to be a guest presenter at the IFTA awards ceremony last Sunday at the Mansion House in Dublin. Veteran broadcaster Gay Byrne complimented her on her appearance and her voice. The event was broadcast by TV3 and was hosted by Caroline Morahan.

Her parents, former Garda Sergeant Jim Balfe and his wife Anne, told the Northern Standard they were both delighted at the progress Caitriona had made in the world of film and television, and she had worked hard to achieve her objectives. At their home in Mullantimore they showed me a painting by Caitriona. She was then a 16 year-old student at secondary school in Monaghan, and her artwork won first prize in a Garda credit union competition in 1995, an early sign of her tremendous talent.


Bose Factory Carrickmacross  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Bose Factory Carrickmacross Photo: © Michael Fisher


Michael Fisher  Northern Standard  Thursday 28th May p.7

Businesses in Carrickmacross are expecting to feel the impact of the Bose closure over the summer. Some of them have been speaking to the Northern Standard about the effect of the job losses. 

CATHAL O’GORMAN Market Square Shopping Centre

The loss of Bose will be a big blow to Carrick. The company employed many people since they left school. The weekly wages total of up to approximately €120,000 would now be lost to the town and surrounding area.


This will take a lot out of the town and will have ongoing consequences. My uncle provided a courier service for Bose but has now retired. I have a van that was also used for courier work and it is now lying idle for most of the week. I hope a new business can be found for the Bose site in the next few weeks.

JIM HAND Carrickmacross Chamber of Commerce

The Bose workers were great ambassadors for the town. They were a credit to the company with their loyalty, which was highly prized but not often valued enough. They were a highly skilled workforce with excellent industrial relations and no disputes. Both the IDA and Enterprise Ireland are actively looking for a replacement. People need to be patient and hope that something will turn up. The Local Enterprise Office in Monaghan is there to help anyone with a business idea. The Chamber will be supportive and will help in any way it can for any alternative use of the site. A “start your own business” programme is beginning shortly and the C-Tek premises will shortly be on stream in Carrick


Six of the redundant workers at the Bose factory Carrickmacross  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Six of the redundant workers at the Bose factory Carrickmacross Photo: © Michael Fisher


140 Jobs Go as Production Ends after 37 Years

Michael Fisher  Northern Standard Thursday 28th May p.7

It’s the end of the line for production at the Bose factory. It brought great expectations to Carrickmacross when it opened in 1978.  The plant provided final assembly for select home theatre systems and radios for the European market, as well as some remanufacturing for the region. It was chosen by the US company because of the local expertise in furniture making. Bose developed wooden cabinets for their high-fidelity speakers and these were sourced in County Monaghan.

Today at 4.30pm the machines will be silent and 140 workers will clock off for the last time. People like Pat McNally, who was there on Day 1 and spent his working life there.


Pat McNally

They were good employers to work for, Pat McNally told me. You worked hard and you certainly earned your money. The US-based company and helped local people and they would miss Bose. The closure decision was announced without warning in January and was originally to take effect at the beginning of April. But following intervention by union representatives along with government Ministers, the closure was postponed for several weeks to allow time for talks on redundancy terms. Pat McNally said it would take a few weeks for the effects to hit home. It meant that 140 wages were no longer going into the local economy. It would also have a knock-on effect on suppliers and the likes of couriers who had benefited from contracts with Bose.

Five of his six family worked here: four daughters and one son, and his wife spent fifteen years in a job there. He felt there was a great family atmosphere in the factory, where he worked in the receiving goods section. As it was a ‘closed shop’ in those days, he joined the union just before he started (then the ITGWU, now SIPTU) and has been a member ever since. He says it has been a pleasure working in the place, with everyone looking after everyone else. Pat has been one of the main fundraisers for charity helping to raise IR£75,000 for the Childrens Hospital in Crumlin and then taking part in activities to help the Friends of Carrick Cancer. The Bose factory with the help of  very supportive management raised over €1.2 million so far for this charity, a great achievement.

Aidan McMahon from Inniskeen was among nine married couples working for Bose. His wife Sandra who is in quality control was there for 25 years and he was there for 16 years. The couple are in their 40s and have three children to support, two young boys aged three and five, and a fourteen year-old daughter.

Aidan told me Sandra had been successful in obtaining alternative employment in Dundalk, one of only 20 former Bose employees to have found a new job. He also told me that any hope of obtaining assistance for retraining from the EU globalisation fund, as had been suggested by at least one MEP, had now faded as it applied only to companied with over 500 workers. The SIPTU representative Jim McVeigh visited the plant on Monday to reveal the bad news. There was further disappointment for workers when they discovered that if they were successful in obtaining places on higher education courses, their social welfare stamps would be used up, although they had originally been informed that this would not be the case. This arose from a measure in the last budget.

Aidan McGarrell from Magheracloone is 31 and was a Bose employee for eleven years. A married man, he has four children between the ages of three and ten. A very young family to provide for and a mortgage to pay. He was a lead machinist at the plant and joined the US-based company after spending some time working on cars. He described Bose as very good employers and said everyone enjoyed working for them. He thought he had a job almost for life when he started work at the plant.

Jennifer Cassidy from Corcuillog in Carrickmacross joined the factory after leaving the St Louis Convent in the town. She was with Bose for 27 years, working initially on the factory floor and then in the training department. She has three children, a 14 year-old boy who attends a local school, a daughter aged 22 and another son aged 25. Over the years Bose has provided employment for her brothers and sisters, cousins and other relatives. She was annoyed at the way the announcement was handled in January and since then there had been a lot of broken promises about a possible replacement industry.

Mai McCarthy from Carrickmacross was a line operator at Bose for over 12 years. Previously she had worked at Lissadell towels outside the town (now Wrights). She finds it hard to believe that this is her last day. She always felt Bose was a great company to work for and she had enjoyed going in to her daily work. She has three children, a daughter and two sons, all in their 20s and living in Australia because there were no jobs for them in Ireland. She might have to consider emigration herself, if things do not work out.

Fánchea Keenan comes from Lisdoonan. She started on the production line in Bose 25 years ago in October 1989 and was a cell leader. She is married with two grown-up children. A daughter Emma who had cystic fibrosis died in 2011.  She says there was always a massive pride in working for Bose. When her daughter was ill she says the company had been very accommodating and the workers had helped to raise money for a CF charity. Fánchea said the founder of the company Dr Amar Bose had been very loyal to the workers in Carrick and had great respect for them. The team had produced very high quality goods. When they signed on for the firm they never envisaged they would have to look for work elsewhere.

Fánchea told me the Irish plant was being closed even though it was always a profitable operation. The very committed workforce had reached all their targets and even to the end had carried out everything asked of them, she said. But greed had got the better of the US-based management as the company wanted to make more profits. She said the Carrickmacross team had pulled out all the stops whether working overtime when asked to do so or during holiday times. Their orders were always delivered on time. But the management had not taken into account the loyalty of the workforce when it decided to shift production to the Far East.

All the workers expressed their annoyance that although they had been promised several things by politicians from various parties after the closure announcement, including the Arts Minister Heather Humphreys T.D. But they said they had not heard anything since the meeting with public representatives in the Nuremore Hotel in January. At the time Minister Humphreys said she had immediately contacted the office of her Cabinet colleague Richard Bruton and the IDA. But she warned it would be wrong to raise any false hopes for the workers in halting the closure, as the company seemed to have embarked on a cost-saving exercise.

Tomorrow (Friday 29th May), one by one, the workers will enter the premises for the last time to receive their redundancy payments. The plant and machinery inside the factory will be sold off by McKay Auctioneers in a fortnight’s time, leaving the building an empty shell.

Six of the redundant workers at the Bose factory Carrickmacross  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Six of the redundant workers at the Bose factory Carrickmacross Photo: © Michael Fisher


How I reported the closure of the Bose factory in January in The Northern Standard Photo: © Michael Fisher

How I reported the closure of the Bose factory in January in The Northern Standard Photo: © Michael Fisher

Clocking Out at Bose    Michael Fisher Northern Standard Thursday 28th May p.1
Workers at the Bose factory in Carrickmacross are clocking out for the last time today (Thursday), bringing to an end a proud history of 37 years of manufacturing high quality sound systems. The multinational company unexpectedly announced in January they would be closing the plant in April, with a loss of 140 jobs. Following representations to the management at their headquarters in the USA, the timeline was extended until the end of May.

Bose Factory Carrickmacross  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Bose Factory Carrickmacross Photo: © Michael Fisher

Despite attempts by the IDA and Enterprise Ireland to find a suitable replacement, no new investor has so far been found. The plant and machinery at the factory are due to be auctioned in a fortnight’s time and the building will be left as an empty shell. The site is in private ownership, having been purchased by a consortium of business people fourteen years ago. See story p.7.

Bose Factory Carrickmacross  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Bose Factory Carrickmacross Photo: © Michael Fisher


Archdeacon of Clogher and Rector of Clones Canon Helene Steed introduces the ecumenical service in Clones   Photo: © Michael Fisher

Archdeacon of Clogher and Rector of Clones Canon Helene Steed introduces the ecumenical service in Clones Photo: © Michael Fisher

Pentecost Sunday Ecumenical Prayer Service in Clones 

Michael Fisher    Northern Standard  Thursday 28th May p.35

They set off from St Macartan’s Cathedral in Monaghan early on Sunday morning. A small group of pilgrims on a “spiritual footsteps” walk. Others walked from the Church of Ireland in Ballybay. At Newbliss they had refreshments at the Presbyterian church hall, before resuming their journey on foot to Clones.

The walk was organised by the Knights of St Columbanus to mark the 1400th anniversary of the death of the saint. The pilgrims were joined by a group of around 100 others at the historic Round Tower site, connected with St Tiernach, who founded a monastery there in the sixth century.

It was a fitting location for the annual ecumenical prayer service organised by the Catholic and Protestant dioceses of Clogher to mark Pentecost Sunday. Previous settings have included Devenish Island, Lisnaskea, Errigal Truagh, Glaslough and Inniskeen, all connected with the development of Christianity in Ireland.

The service was introduced by the Archdeacon of Clogher and Rector of the Clones group of parishes, Canon Helene Steed. The opening hymn was Amazing Grace. The singing and music was led by students from Largy College in Clones. The Catholic Bishop of Clogher Dr Liam MacDaid and his Church of Ireland counterpart Right Reverend John McDowell participated in the prayers and readings from scripture. The Parish Priest of Clones Fr Dick Mohan read from St Columbanus on “Cultivating Virtue”.

Two students from Largy College Clones speak about their faith during the ecumenical service  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Two students from Largy College Clones speak about their faith during the ecumenical service Photo: © Michael Fisher

Two students from Largy College, Christy Biji (fifth year) and Harry Cleary (second year) gave reflections on what their faith meant. Following the prayers of intercession and the Lord’s Prayer, the choir sang “Walk in the Light” to bring the service to a conclusion. This was followed by a talk on Saint Columbanus by Fr Billy Swan CC, St Aidan’s Cathedral, Enniscorthy.

Fr Billy Swan CC, St Aidan's Enniscorthy, giving a talk on St Columbanus after the ecumenical service Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Fr Billy Swan CC, St Aidan’s Enniscorthy, giving a talk on St Columbanus after the ecumenical service Photo: © Michael Fisher

He described how in 615 this much revered and travelled Irishman passed away at Bobbio in Italy, far away from the place of his birth along the Carlow/Wexford border in 543. Having studied for years on the beautiful Cleenish Island on Lough Erne, St. Columbanus made his way to Bangor Abbey in Co. Down where he lived as an Abbot under the guidance of St. Comgall. It was in 583, at the then relatively old age of 40 years, that St. Columbanus set out, along with twelve companions, to spread the Christian message across extensive parts of Europe. Fr Swan said the example of Columbanus showed the importance of the need for renewal in people’s faith. Refreshments were served afterwards at the Cassandra Hand centre.

Catholic and Church of Ireland Bishops of Clogher Dr Liam MacDaid and Rt Revd John McDowell at the ecumenical service in Clones  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Catholic and Church of Ireland Bishops of Clogher Dr Liam MacDaid and Rt Revd John McDowell at the ecumenical service in Clones Photo: © Michael Fisher


GAA President Aoghan Ó Fearghail at St Joseph's Boys NS Carrickmacross  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

GAA President Aoghán Ó Fearghail at St Joseph’s Boys NS Carrickmacross Photo: © Michael Fisher


Michael Fisher Northern Standard Thursday 21st May p.2

Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Aogán Ó Fearghail says the Association is not downgrading St Tiarnach’s Park in Clones, while at the same time seeking to redevelop Casement Park in Belfast. During a visit to Carrickmacross on Monday (18th May), the GAA President told the Northern Standard Clones had nothing to fear from Casement. He said Clones (where the Ulster Final has traditionally been played) provided a very vital infrastructure for the GAA over the years. He said the GAA in Ulster was also committed to developing Casement. But the planned development of a 38,000 capacity arena was stalled in December following a court case in Belfast. Planning permission for the expansion of the stadium was denied by the High Court after an objection from a local residents’ group They raised concerns about what kind of impact the larger crowds would have on the area. The GAA President said the Association always respected rules and decisions and would await the outcome of any further planning enquiries. He pointed to the situation at Kingspan Breffni Park, where Cavan take on Monaghan on Sunday in the Ulster Championship. He said ten years ago some people thought the stadium had reached the end of its existence as a GAA venue, but now after redevelopment it was one of the finest such stadiums in the country.


Kim Ward, Carrickmacross   Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Kim Ward, Carrickmacross
Photo: © Michael Fisher

Running from Heaven to Hell & Back  Northern Standard  Carrickmacross News  Thursday 21st May

Kim Ward 

I’m 18 and I’ve lived in Carrickmacross all my life. My family are all from Carrickmacross, Donaghmoyne or the surrounding areas. I’ve always been drawn to working with children. I lost a close family friend  Lee when I was very young and recently lost his brother Ryan after a very brave battle against a rare disease. My beautiful godchild who is five also has Spina Bifida.  All of which has helped fuel my need to help childrens’ charities.

I completed a fundraiser as part of my 18th birthday celebrations for the Children’s University Hospital , Temple Street in Dublin, raising €3,000 and collecting over 70 toys for the children across the wards, because Ryan attended Temple Street and my godchild Ellen is still an outpatient.

I’m in the middle of completing my end of year exams for Nursing Studies in Cavan Institute and hope to study Children’s Nursing in Britain this September, depending on results.  I then hope to specialise in oncology nursing.

My inspiration for my career path first came when I saw Aoibheann’s Pink Tie on Secret Millionaire. It was set up in 2010 by Jimmy Norman and Mick Rochford after the passing of Jimmy’s beautiful daughter Aoibheann at the age of seven. In the words of Jimmy, ‘Aoibheann fought a very courageous battle against cancer’.

I watched a video not so long ago which interviews children who have cancer. They were all asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. Something one of the children said never stops playing in my mind: ‘I don’t know what I wanna be when I grow up, but I just wanna grow up’.

This is when I set out to complete both a mentally and physically enduring fundraiser for St John’s Ward in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin in Dublin and Aoibheann’s Pink Tie. Next month I’m completing the 10km Women’s Mini Marathon, a 10,000ft Skydive and the 12km Hell & Back, all in under three weeks. Every week four  parents in Ireland are told ‘your child has cancer’. That’s four families whose lives are put on hold while they begin to fight for their child’s life!

St John’s Ward in Crumlin is the national medical care centre for every child with cancer across Ireland. They provide the medical expertise and exceptional care needed for children faced with this cruel disease. The continuous funding has allowed for single isolation rooms for every patient. It has also meant that every patient has an en-suite and another bed for a parent or family member to stay for what can be days, weeks and even months.

Aoibheann’s Pink Tie is there for any kind of practical support for children and their families with cancer. Jimmy Norman wants the charity to allow parents to ‘breathe and go look after their children’. They provide Chemo Ducks for the children which is a cuddly toy with a ‘freddie’, pyjamas and a bandana similar to them which gives children the chance to understand their treatment in a child-friendly way.

They are also credited for providing children with Hickman Dry suits. A child can have a Hickman line (‘freddie’) in for years meaning they are not allowed to have baths or go swimming. These suits provides the children with the opportunity to do both. Costing €300 each for these specialised suits, Aoibheann’s Pink Tie supplies them to any child on St John’s Ward. Financial support is also provided by APT helping families pay for items such as mortgage bills, accommodation fees, and car park fees. Their support is endless!

Through this I’ve not only wanted to complete these events, I wanted to go out there and see what St Johns Ward and Aoibheann’s Pink Tie has meant for the children and their families who are going through these battles. I contacted  Susan Brown from Castleblayney whose beautiful two year-old son Ceejay was diagnosed with leukaemia in September. She explained to me her appreciation towards both charities saying: ‘When a child is fighting cancer they need to know they have a team fighting with them and for them. With St John’s ward and Aoibheann’s Pink Tie we know Ceejay has an army fighting for him every step of the way’.

These three events will put me through my paces but it doesn’t even compare to a day in the life of a child with cancer. Thank you to all who have supported so far including Vanity Nightclub who have covered all registration fees and to Sparkle Beauty Clinic for their continued support.

All donations welcome. Find the event on facebook or simply donate online at by typing in ‘Running from Heaven to Hell & Back’. Sponsorship cards are also available and we’re on the lookout for anyone who’d like to join our team for the Mini Marathon or Hell & Back. Contact me at

Because children can’t fight cancer alone!