Latest Laois News: Laois twins respond to a Meath family’s DIY SOS

Latest Laois News: Laois twins respond to a Meath family’s DIY SOS

Wonderful gesture as Laois twins respond to Meath family’s DIY SOS

When RTÉ put out the call for support to help the Parsons family from Longwood in Co Meath, Gas Networks Ireland was one of many organisations alongside an army of local volunteers and tradespeople that stepped forward.

The Parsons are an amazing young family whose house was just not suitable for their needs.  Four-year-old Josh has a developmental disorder known as Smith-Magennis Syndrome, while his eight-year-old brother Ryan lives with autism and sensory issues. Their mother, Jennifer, has to deal with her own medical issues which will cause her mobility to greatly deteriorate over the next few years. Dad, Jim, is a former military man who retired earlier this year to care for his family full-time. 

As part of RTÉ’s programme DIY SOS: The Big Build, presenter Baz Ashmawy and his team fully renovated the Parsons home, transforming the entire property in just nine days. Gas Networks Ireland funded a new gas boiler for efficient and reliable heating, and a beautiful new garden for the family.

Presenter Baz Ashmawy said: 

“Thank you very much Gas Networks Ireland, you are legends, we wouldn’t have been able to do it without you. You made a big difference to DIYSOS Ireland and a big difference to the Parsons family.”

Edel Morey, Marie Sheehan, Andrew Baldwin, James Baldwin with “DIY SOS: The Big Build” presenter Baz Ashmawy and the Parsons
Client GNI, DIY SOS Pic Orla Murray/Coalesce

Commenting after the RTÉ show aired on Easter Sunday, Gas Networks Ireland’s Social Sustainability Manager Gráinne O’Reilly, said:

“Supporting local communities is very important to Gas Networks Ireland. We were delighted to play a part in transforming the home, and hopefully the lives, of the Parsons family. They are an incredible family and we wish them all the very best in their ‘new’ home.” 

The Baldwins have been with the national utility seven years, having joined as apprentices after completing the Leaving Cert in Ardscoil na Tríonóide in Athy, Co. Kildare. They are now qualified fitters working to connect new homes and businesses to the national gas network.

“Doing a four-year pipe fitting apprenticeship with Gas Networks Ireland was a brilliant experience,” Andrew said.

Baldwins with the Parsons on their return to their house
Client GNI, DIY SOS Pic Orla Murray/Coalesce

“Not only did I get to work with my hands as well as my head, and learn from people who have years of experience, but I also got to work all over Ireland and spend time in both the Munster Technological University in Cork and the Dundalk Institute of Technology,” James added.

Gas Networks Ireland is currently searching for 14 of the country’s top recruits to join its sought-after and highly regarded Apprenticeship Programme commencing this October.

The four-year salaried programme provides mentor-led apprenticeships working on Ireland’s €2.7bn, 14,617km national gas network, which is considered one of the safest and most modern gas networks in the world.

Facilitated in partnership with SOLAS, apprentices receive on-site training with Gas Networks Ireland technical training coaches and attend formal classes in the Educational Training Boards, Meta facility and in appropriate Institutes of Technology.

Andrew Baldwin, Marie Sheehan, James Baldwin and Edel Morey outside the Parsons’s house
Client GNI, DIY SOS Pic Orla Murray/Coalesce

On completion of the Apprenticeship Programme, successful trainees will be awarded a QQI Level 6 Advanced Certificate Craft – the national and international requirement for craftsperson status.

For further information on Gas Networks Ireland’s Apprenticeship Programme and to apply to the Apprenticeship Scheme, please visit; . Closing date for applications is Monday 25 April.

James and Andrew Baldwin with “DIY SOS: The Big Build” presenter Baz Ashmawy
Client GNI, DIY SOS Pic Orla Murray/Coalesce