BiaSol: Create Taste, Reduce Waste

Guinness is probably the most popular beer exported from Ireland, but back home, it competes with more than 75 small, independently operated craft breweries. St. James Gate produces 50.7 million barrels of beer every year. But these ‘microbreweries’ can’t compete with that. They don’t need to. These beers are appealing to beer enthusiasts who enjoy discovering new flavours of craft beer brewed by knowledgeable and dedicated professionals. Despite its growth, Ireland’s beer sector is creating an increasing amount of food waste. For beer, grain is needed, but once the brewing process is over, the wet and steaming grain is discarded. The grain at this stage is referred to as ‘spent grain,’ but it is still perfectly edible.

In the United States, companies are recycling waste grain into food, but here in Ireland no one is doing it. Siblings Niamh and Ruairi Dooley from Ballykeeran, Athlone have joined forces to start a new food business called BiaSol, which aims to turn spent grain waste from breweries back into food. There has been a lot of research into the benefits of spent grain. I had the pleasure of meeting the brother-and-sister team at their Ferbane Business Park headquarters.

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Helen Sandison: The Seam-Less Journey

When Helen Sandison of Mullingar based Sensory Clothing moved over to Kerry from the UK in 2007 with her husband Rudi, she couldn’t understand why her two-year-old child kept telling her that he didn’t like his clothes, especially his socks. It became normal for him to hide behind their sofa and then pop out with his clothes off. However, like most first-time parents – Helen just thought that it was something that he would eventually grow out of. A year later, her second child arrived, and she found herself juggling the needs of a new baby while battling with a toddler over his dislike of clothes. “I did wonder whether I had been pandering to my son, but nevertheless I took him to the doctor’s because I knew there was something wrong. You could call it a mother’s intuition. My son was tested for Autism (ASD) but we were told that he simply had some little quirks and wasn’t on the Autism Spectrum itself. I just had to cope with his meltdowns over the clothing.” It turned out that Helen’s son has a neurological condition called Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) which is often misdiagnosed as ASD because many children with ASD have sensory issues or difficulties. However, as in the case of Helen’s child, SPD was a standalone condition.

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Jack Has The Code To Success

Parents across the world have at some point bought their child a computer game. The hours of contented game playing bliss that children gain is often considered to be worth the high price tag. But what if I told you that a computer game was the catalyst for an 8-year-old boy to learn to program? That then at 16, he would create and then patent a piece of futuristic screen technology that could be straight out of a Hollywood Sci-Fi movie? This is the story of a truly remarkable young man, Jack O’Regan Kenny.

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TEG: Passionately Embracing Community Spirit

This global pandemic is capable of destroying the sense of community within a company. As individuals, we need to feel that we are being cared for and belong to something bigger than ourselves. I met with Tommy Kelly a very successful local entrepreneur, someone who is deeply committed to the concept of community.

Kelly founded a specialist engineering services company called TEG almost 20 years ago. You might know TEG from its sponsorship of Cusack Park. Based in Forest Park, Mullingar, the company employs over 100 people, the vast majority of whom are local. TEG trades in over 30 countries worldwide and some of the biggest companies from the aviation, pharmaceutical, and biopharmaceutical industries are its clients. TEG is privately owned and managed by both Kelly and his business partner John Hunt.

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IMR: The Hidden Power of Mullingar

In 1967, Mullingar was developing and advancing enough to attract the Netherlands-based tobacco business of Douwe Egberts Van Nelle. Eager to dabble with manufacturing, the town embraced the new factory development on the Dublin road with open arms. It was an economic romance that paid off for nearly 50 years. Hundreds of quality jobs in roll-your-own tobacco directly supported local families and businesses for generations. In 1998, Douwe Egberts Van Nelle was bought by Britain’s second-largest cigarette company, Imperial Tobacco Group PLC. But Mullingar’s successful marriage of convenience with the profitable tobacco industry never reached its golden anniversary. The health implications from smoking were becoming unacceptable and the European Union intervened with legislation. Imperial Tobacco exited the town in 2016 and 87 local jobs disappeared with them in a puff of smoke.

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