‘Ballymun Concrete News’ was a unique publication that focused on Ballymun and its community. Its ethos was to publish positive and inspirational news relating to Ballymun. It was founded in 1998 as a single page news sheet by journalist and local resident Seamus Kelly, and was financed by advertising from local businesses. By 2000, the one-man operated newspaper had grown to a full colour 8-page monthly tabloid. It had a circulation of over 20,000 and was distributed free of charge to every home in Ballymun.
The digital archive of Ballymun Concrete News has been donated to Dublin City Library and Archive, and consists of 87 editions in total. Collectively, the papers provide a colourful record of ‘good news stories’ from Ballymun from 1998 to 2006. Articles focus on topics such as the Ballymun Regeneration Project, the opening of new community facilities, theatre, music, and sporting events, and the achievements of local residents in all areas of life.
Councillor Andrew Montague (Lord Mayor of Dublin 2011-2012) said: “I associate the Ballymun Concrete News with the regeneration of Ballymun. The peak of the regeneration was a time of great change, and throughout that time, the Ballymun Concrete News told us the story of our own community. With its glossy and colourful format, the Concrete News always had a positive and vibrant feel.
Seamus Kelly was at the heart of our community at that time. He made it his business to attend as many local events and meetings as possible. He always brought his trusty camera and he faithfully recorded whatever happened in both words and pictures.”
Mr Kelly, who lived in Ballymun for 40 years and edited the paper out of his flat in Plunkett Tower, said he was delighted that the City Archives had accepted his donation, and hopes it will inspire other communities to take up the torch and shine a light on the positive side of local life.