Tuesday 17 October 2017

'Briquette man' keeping the home fires burning

Frank Horan drying newly made briquettes at his home in Keneghan, Ballymote.
Frank Horan drying newly made briquettes at his home in Keneghan, Ballymote.

HE'S known as the 'briquette man' of Ballymote.

Not in the conventional sense – Frank Horan makes his own fuel from recycled newspapers.

The retired Achonry National School teacher has been doing so for 30 years now.

Frank said: "I just thought to myself, why throw the papers away, or send them to landfill.

"I got the idea when I saw a briquette making tool in the former Bests Stores (now Dunnes, Wine Street).

"I'm going strong ever since."

Frank first unfolds the papers into separate sheets before soaking them overnight in barrels of harvested rainwater.

The water is drained off before Frank presses the wet paper into individual briquettes.

They are then allowed to dry before use.

At his peak Frank was making 800 briquettes a week.

He had a plentiful supply of newspapers from local shops.

Frank said: "Unsold newspapers now have to go back to the distribution company.

"In the old days the shops just cut the 'mastheads' off and returned them.

"They gave me the newspapers, but that supply has gone."

He now relies on friends and neighbours to bring papers to him.

Frank said: "People are very good to me.

"They know what I do and are always willing to help."

The paper briquettes can be used in open fires, stoves and ranges.

Frank said: "They just burn away."

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