Mission Statement

enabling positive change in attitudes and behaviours through education, training and personal development programmes

Board of Management

Paraic Lawless, Chairperson

Former School Principal

Michael Downes,

FÁS Representative

Maureen Waters, Treasurer

Local Business Person

Eithne Ni Dhonnchadha,

Adult Education Officer Co. Galway VEC

Gerry Stronge,

Local Business Person

Sean Tully,

Community Representative

Aiden Lonergan, 

Garda Community Policing

Ursula Fernee

Regional Manager of The Probation Service

Oliver King,

Area Juvenile Liaison Officer

Brendan Barrett,

HSE Counsellor

History of Canal House.

  • Ballinasloe Training Workshop started in 1977 with volunteers led by John Kilcommins and Brendan Dillistone, Dubarry Shoes, the  first chairperson, and with Reverend Kingston who provided the Church of Ireland Hall situated in Dunlo Hill for activities.
  • The purpose of the time in 1977 was started by John Kilcommins  and volunteers to help people before the court or at risk in the community.  The purpose the project was to help people before the court or at risk in the community.  It gave these young people training and a work habit, clocking in, keeping time and holding a position for at least six months which was later extended to twelve months.  During that time they developed the job skills and social skills required for a part time or full time job.
  • It was set up to benefit both the person and the community, by giving these young people practical working skills and also providing products that the local community could buy.
  • The first phase of the project was in Dunlo Hill Church where a project was developed with Dubarry Shoes where the trainees at the time stitched shoes and worked with inter-lacing leather uppers for shoes.
  • In 1978 the Committee were looking for a suitable premises to buy and they decided to buy the old Canal House building, which was purchased by the Department of Justice at a cost of approximately £21, 000 punts.
  • The same year ANCO became involved and provided training allowances for the trainees. As Canal House was badly in need of repair, it was renovated under a CYPT scheme by FAS.  Materials were purchased by the Department of Justice. A foreman was appointed and the trainees did the renovations. Tom Forde was supervisor at this time.
  • The project responded to needs that arose around the area. The concrete products and the printing initiatives emerged from this and Canal House became known for its products and its printing.
  • In 1980 Mr. Tom Hussey T.D. Junior Minister for Health represented the Minister for Justice in the official opening for Canal House, Ballinasloe Training Workshop.  Jimmy Hodgins was employed as manager of the project.
  • In 1980, County Galway VEC became involved with providing three part time instructors who provided the necessary skills in desktop publishing, social skills, leather crafts and woodwork.
  • Precast Production was introduced as a means of providing income to the Centre.
  • The Department of Justice was committed to grant aid 95% of the funding for Canal House, but the Precast Concrete provided 50% of this funding due to income from the work of the trainees. Therefore there was not total reliance for funding on the Department of Justice at this time due to this commercial enterprise.
  • For the first time in Ireland, Driving Lessons were introduced to the centre  in 1987. An ex Garda instructor Noel Finneran was appointed by the Galway VEC on a part-time basis.
  • As Canal House grew, consultations began with the Manager Mr Jimmy Hodgins and with  instructors and the findings were brought before the Board of Management. In 2005 funding was approved by The Department of Justice for a building extension.  The approximate amount approved at this time was €650,000.  The building of the new development began some time soon after and was completed in 2009.
  • In 2009 Padraig Lyons was appointed new coordinator of Ballinasloe Training Workshop, now known in the community as Canal House.  It was identified that counselling supports needed to be put in place.  Appropriate networking with Statutory Bodies was necessary to support the needs being presented. 
  • In 2010 Canal House received its Charter from Junior Minister Sean Haughey in Dublin as an approved registered FETAC centre.
  • New restorative practice projects were developed with the local community through the Tidy Towns and other initiatives and new in-house group sessions on addiction awareness, challenging behaviour and other support programmes were put in place.
  • Links were also made with Colleges and Universities to access courses for trainees interested in moving on from Canal House.
  • In 2012 we are launching this new development and celebrating thirty five years in existence in Ballinasloe.