Former Direct Provision resident launches venture

By Maurice Garvey

A FORMER Direct Provision resident, is set to officially launch his own painting and graffiti removal business in Clondalkin.

Guinea native Alpha Gassama, a founding member of Clondalkin Tidy Towns and a French speaking tour guide with Round Tower Visitor Centre Bru Chronain, has invited the general public to the launch of his company AGC Remedy in Áras Chrónáin, at 6pm on Tuesday, October 22.

Alpha Gassama 02 compressor

Alpha Gassama painted this shop in Clondalkin

Alpha first arrived in Ireland in 2004, and spent close to ten years in the Direct Provision system, which included stints at asylum centres in Cork, Limerick, Mosney and the Towers Hotel in Clondalkin.

In 2013, local politicians and residents, rallied to prevent a deportation order issued to Alpha by the State, recognising his dedication to community initiatives.

Ultimately, the campaign was successful, and then Minister for Justice Alan Shatter rescinded the order, which was a huge sigh of relief for Alpha, who is happy in Clondalkin which he calls his new home.

Now living in a private rental property in Clondalkin, Alpha has been working hard to get his own venture up and running over the last few years, in between his weekly contributions to community endeavours such as Tidy Towns and the visitor centre.

Alpha has the painting genes in his blood, learning the trade from his late father, who would teach him the ropes as he worked on Embassy buildings in his native Guinea.

Despite the massive financial challenges in starting out with a new venture and particularly for car insurance, Alpha managed to get a somewhat acceptable premium, and has already completed a number of high-profile jobs in Clondalkin.

This includes painting some shop fronts and bollards in the village and some high-spec cleaning jobs for the council.

Alpha paid tribute to a self-employment scheme in South Dublin County Council which helped him to start the independent venture.

Speaking about the upcoming launch, he said: “I want to thank my landlady Lenora and Tom Pitt’s family, Robert Dowds (former Labour TD), his wife Bernadine of Brú Chrónáin, Brian of Áras Chrónáin, Clondalkin Tidy Towns, and to all other friends and organisations for the support over the years.”

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