BALROTHERY and Skerries have been the two touchstones in Fingal in the life of one Martin Russell, the new man at the helm of the Skerries Community Association (SCA) who has always been ready to step forward and make his mark on the county he loves.
Growing up in a then very rural Balrothery, Martin was involved in the community from an early age and took a place on the committee of his local cricket club at the tender age of 15. 'In essence, Balrothery was a very small village then and it had a unique situation for a village in that the only church was protestant and the closest catholic church was in Balbriggan even though the population of the village was the other way around with protestants in the minority and catholics in the majority. 'Another unique thing was that cricket was the only sport. You had to go up to Man O'War to get involved in GAA but I stuck to the cricket.' There began a life-long love with the game starting in the local Balrothery club and moving onto Balbriggan and then in 1973 to the Hills Cricket Club where Martin is still a committed member and loyal supporter. Martin said: ' Needless to say, my pride and joy is cricket and the Hills Cricket Club winning the All-Ireland this year was the creme de la creme after 30 years of trying, we managed to win it. 'If we have a good summer's day in Fingal, there is nothing better for me than watching a good game of cricket but with the weather we have had this past few summers, you would need your winter woolies on going out to watch a game.' A residents of Skerries since 1990, Martin began his community involvement in the area with the Mourne View Residents Association where he is rightly proud of managing to secure a community centre for the estate which is still thriving today. He has plenty of positive things to say about his home town. 'I love everything about Skerries. It has everything to offer from theatre to festivals to Skerries Mills which is marvellous – there is always something on there. 'I love the whole ambience of Skerries. It seems there is always something to do here and always a project going on that you can get involved in.' Recently elevated to chairperson of the Skerries Community Association, Martin is committed to working to making the coastal town an even better place to live than it is already. 'In a sense, I hope to ensure that what has begun with the SCA continues and to highlight any problems within Skerries and try to resolve them as well as continuing with the good projects that are already up and running. ' This is the seventh year that Skerries has had the finish of the Rás and that is a big thing for the town. Soundwaves is continuing to do great work in mounting the autumn arts festival and that is a fantastic thing to keep going. 'One of the big issues is the plans to develop the theatre. The theatre is a big part of the town and something that is very much in my pscyhe because I was a stage manager at the Balrothery Inn for years.' When Martin Russell spoke to the Fingal Independent for My Fingal, he was days away from knowing the town's fate in the national Pride of Place awards and he congratulated Skerries Tidy Towns for their sterling efforts in the town.