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  • Northside West

Local journalist has book praised at Axis launch event

Tuesday, 12th June, 2018 1:00pm

Story by Jack Gleeson
Local journalist has book praised at Axis launch event

Seamus Kelly pictured outside Axis in Ballymun with his new book. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

Local journalist has book praised at Axis launch event

Seamus Kelly pictured outside Axis in Ballymun with his new book. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

THERE was a great turnout for the launch of a new book by veteran local journalist Seamus Kelly at the Axis in Ballymun last week.

It’s Written in Concrete tells the story of Kelly’s one man crusade to get positive news coverage of Ballymun in local and national media.

Kelly produced his own newspaper focussing exclusively on positive news stories in the area from 1998 to 2006. Equipped with only an old computer and an aging printer he developed Ballymun Concrete News from a single-page newsletter into an eight-page tabloid that at its height had a print run of 20,000 and reached an estimated 100,000 readers.

“The most important feature of the newspaper was the emphasis on positive news stories,” Kelly writes in his book.

“These stories represented the real Ballymun, a place that sections of the media portrayed as being ridden with anti-social activity, drug pushing and crime. I wanted to counter this unfair caricature.”

Kelly discovered that uplifting stories were much easier to find in the area than negative ones, and he developed a way to present them in a format that would appeal to the national press.

The emergence of Ballymun Concrete News coincided with the regeneration of the area and Kelly found himself in the heart of one of the country’s most significant rebuilding projects.

His book details how the promise of economic success for Ballymun was scuppered by the collapse of major elements of the plan including a new shopping centre, a business park and the Metro.

At the launch event former Ballymun Garda Chief Superintendent, Karl Heller, praised Kelly for his honest coverage of sensitive issues including the area’s drug problem.

“The book is an accurate reflection of drug problem at the time,” he said, lauding Kelly for his honest coverage and dedication to the local community.

Also attending last week’s launch event were current and former local politicians including Dublin North West TD, Róisín Shortall (SD), Cllr Paul McAuliffe (FF), Cllr Noeleen Reilly (IND) and Bill Tormey.

Music was provided by superb local band DeXtra, who commended and thanked Kelly for the coverage he gave them over the years.

It’s Written in Concrete is now available in Axis Ballymun, SuperValu on Main Street, Eason’s in Omni Park and Clare Hall and Kenny’s in Galway.

It can also be ordered online at www.themanuscriptpublisher.com and from Amazon.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here