Anglo-Irish Treaty exhibition comes to Wexford

GRAINNE DORAN, County Archivist, and CLLR BARBARA-ANNE MURPHY, Cathaoirleach, Wexford County Council, who performed the official launch, at The Treaty, 1921; Records from the Archives exhibition at Wexford County Council Headquarters.

By Dan Walsh at County Hall, Wexford

The Treaty, 1921; Records from the Archives exhibition, which has completed a three-month stint at Dublin Castle was launched at a pleasant ceremony in County Hall, Wexford, last night (Monday) by the Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council, Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy.

The exhibition marks the centenary of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty on December 6th 1921, and available on public display in ‘the Street’ until June 10th.

Grainne Doran, County Archivist, acted as master of ceremonies and welcomed everybody to the official opening including Deputies Brendan Howlin and Paul Kehoe, Cllrs George Lawlor, Maura Bell, Jim Moore, Jim Codd and Andrew Bolger, other guests and a special welcome to Orlaith McBride, Director of the National Archives in Dublin and Cian Ó Lionnán from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, the Gaeltacht, Sports and Media.

AUDIO ADDITION – CLLR BARBARA-ANNE MURPHY speaking at the exhibition opening.

Tom Enright, Chief Executive, Wexford County Council, said; “Wexford County Council is delighted to be hosting ‘The Treaty 1921’ exhibition as part of its commemorative programme under the Decade of Centenaries for 2022. We hope that visitors will readily engage with the exhibition and increase their understanding of this seminal period in our country’s history. We are also excited to be showcasing to the public some of the relevant documents and images from our own county archive’s collections alongside the main exhibition.”

Orlaith McBride, Director of the National Archives, said; “We are delighted to bring this exhibition to Wexford. The wide and vivid range of documents, images and text presented capture as never before the drama that was the Treaty negotiations in London in 1921 and does so in a way that evokes the personal stories and personalities with all the attendant tensions, hopes and disagreements. It represents a really significant contribution to our understanding of one of the most important few weeks in our country’s history.”

Admission to the exhibition is free. The exhibition is presented by the National Archives in partnership with the Royal Irish Academy, the National Library of Ireland and the Office of Public Works, with records from the collections of the Military Archives and University College Dublin. A virtual exhibition is also available online at http://www.nationalarchives.ie.

Boil Water Notice for 11,187 Enniscorthy consumers

ENNISCORTHY (File Pic)

By Dan Walsh

A Boil Water Notice has been issued by Irish Water and Wexford County Council following consultation with the Health Service Executive (HSE) to protect the health of approximately 11,187 consumers supplied by the Enniscorthy Public Water Supply scheme.

This notice applies to all consumers on the Enniscorthy Public Water supply. 

Irish Water’s Ronan Walsh acknowledged the impact of this notice on the community and regrets the inconvenience to impacted customers, adding: “Public health is Irish Water’s number one priority, and we are working closely with Wexford County Council to restore drinking water quality for all impacted customers in Enniscorthy and to lift the Boil Water Notice as quickly as it is safe to do so, and in consultation with the HSE. 

“We have had very heavy rainfall in the Enniscorthy catchment area over the past few days and our sampling has highlighted a detection of cryptosporidium at Vinegar Hill Water Treatment Plant. We regret the impact that this Boil Water Notice will have on the local community and would like to assure them that we are prioritising works to restore a safe water supply with a view of lifting the notice as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice and are reminded that the water is safe to consume once boiled and cooled. In line with HSE advice on hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.

Updates are available on the Supply and Service Updates section of the Irish Water website, on Twitter @IWCare and via the customer care helpline, open 24/7 on 1800 278 278.

Sparks in Gorey Town Park

By Dan Walsh

Remnants of a campfire and damage to trees at Gorey Town Park over the weekend has led to calls for more committed parental observation over teenagers and young adults staying out until the early hours of the morning.

The latest episode of anti-social behaviour saw five stakes uprooted, a broken tree and ashes where a fire had been lit on the grass.

Small groups are known to converge in the park into the early hours on occasions and while most respect the surroundings damage occurs from time to time.

GOREY TOWN PARK on Monday morning.

Gardai at Gorey Station are investigating the latest incident at the park and Cllr Joe Sullivan will be raising the matter at the June meeting of Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District Council.

“I have been calling on Wexford County Council for public lighting in Gorey Town Park for some time now, but to no avail,” said Cllr Sullivan, who is disappointed at the latest anti-social behaviour in the park which is open for public use, but the project is not fully completed.

It is understood that the scene of the weekend embers may have evaded the CCTV system installed in the park!

Fix the worst roads in the country?

By Dan Walsh

Wexford Ógra Fianna Fáil have called on Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD to take immediate action to address the state of the road network in the county. 

RUAIRÍ RYAN, Chair Wexford Ógra Fianna Fáil

Chair of Wexford Ógra Ruairí Ryan told WexfordLocal.com; “We as an organisation are calling for this to be addressed seriously by the minister. If you drive anywhere in the county (Wexford) you’ll see how bad this for yourself. The roads are particularly bad where I live around Enniscorthy, being quite dangerous for drivers. It’s affecting road safety for everyone. It’s quite clear to me that Wexford has been forgotten by the Minister in this regard.”

The call comes in the wake of recent published research which show “that Wexford had the worst roads in the country.” 

The Business Post recently reported that a study from the National Audit and Oversight Commission in 2020 found that 31% of primary roads, 44% of secondary roads, and 39.5% of tertiary roads in the country were “structurally distressed” in 2020.

“It is clear that additional funding from central government is now needed to address this ever-growing problem,” concluded Mr Ryan. 

Colin Bowe enjoys a Cork treble

By Dan Walsh

Colin Bowe’s charges were in winning form at Inchydoney, Co. Cork, today where the Kiltealy champion handler saddled three winners bringing his seasonal total to 44 and his 10th national title is only a week away!

Alden and Barry O’Neill were victorious by one length in the maiden race for four-year-olds and O’Neill shared a double with Bowe as Brents Hollow came home five lengths to the good in the maiden race for mares aged five years or older.

Rob James completed the Bowe treble when he virtually led all the way on D’Last Spetz to score by ten lengths in the maiden race for five-year-old geldings.

BARRY O’NEILL in winning form this weekend

Kieva Hynes, (21), from Adamstown, had her very first winner as a rider aboard Local Rogue for owner Edward Power and handler Sean Doyle, by one length, in the maiden race for geldings of six years or older.

There was a two-day point-to-point fixture at Ballingarry, Co. Tipperary, and the maiden race for four-year-old geldings run today (Sunday) was won by newcomer Wrestligwithrae from the Cormac Doyle stable. The winning rider was Luke Murphy, Gorey, and the verdict was one and a half lengths.

Barry Stone was also on the scoresheet. The Cleariestown rider won by four lengths on Woodfield Symphony for Rosemary Connors in the maiden race for seven-year-olds and over.

Action at Balingarry also took place yesterday (Saturday) and two Wexford winners were recorded. On Se Calme was the two lengths winner of the maiden race for four-year-old mares for the Monbeg Farm Partnership, handler Cormac Doyle and rider Harley Dunne.

Colin Bowe and Barry O’Neill won the auction maiden race for four-year-olds with newcomer Atlanta Brave who got the verdict by ‘a head’.

Massive blaze closes Castlebridge village

The scene of a major fire in Castlebridge village this evening.

By Dan Walsh at Castlebridge

Roads through Castlebridge village are closed to traffic this evening as firefighters deal with a massive fire at a premises adjacent to a local pub.

Smoke was noticed billowing from a premises and shortly after 5.30pm the popular licensed premises – The Porter House – was evacuated.

Locals at the scene claim that the licensed premises is under new management and only re-opened for business on Friday following an extensive renovation and refurbishment programme. It is unknown, at this stage, how much damage has been caused to the pub and beer garden, but the adjoining two-storey premises is completely destroyed and roofless.   

Gardaí and several units of the fire service from Wexford Fire Service were joined by a special high-rise unit from Wicklow County Council.

Roads through the village leading to Gorey and Enniscorthy are closed to traffic.

The cost of the damage is estimated to run into big figures and a major investigation into the cause of the outbreak will be vigorously pursued.

Cruinniú na nÓg ‘live’ and ‘in person’ for 2022

By Dan Walsh

Wexford County Council and Creative Ireland have announced that ‘live’ and ‘in person’ events will be returning on Saturday June 11th. Cruinniú na nÓg has become a key date in the calendar for families, children and young people to unleash their creativity and this year will be no different.

Wexford County Council is pleased to be able to work together with Creative Ireland’s strategic partners to increase access to events on June 11th. These include a forest school at Kilmokea House, Pop-Up Dance workshops and performance in New Ross with 2 Many Dance Moves, introductory theatre workshops with Bare Cheek Theatre, Wexford and an online juggling project led by ISACS.

Cllr Barbara Anne Murphy, Cathaoirleach, told WexfordLocal.com; “Wexford County Council is delighted to partner with Creative Ireland to deliver creative and fun events for children of all ages in County Wexford for Cruinniú na nÓg. We relish the opportunity for our children and young people to come together once again in person to enjoy culture and creativity activity on June 11th.”

Some of our highlight events happening across the county on the day include Sounding Seams III: Sound Chimes Workshop with Music Generation Wexford and artist Laura Hyland. Laura will take young people on a journey exploring sound with chimes and everyday objects, from glass bottles and metal to wooden blocks and water. This event will take place in the wonderful surroundings of the Irish National Heritage Park and is suitable for young people aged 10 – 18 years old. 

After its big success in last year’s programme, there is a welcome back the Tara Hill Art Trail designed by Gorey School of Art’s Paul Carter and Emma Roche. This self-guided family-friendly event explores the natural landscape of Tara Hill, known for walking trails that play host to a wide range of heritage sites, biodiversity and scenic views overlooking the Gorey district.

NATIONAL OPERA HOUSE, Wexford, will stage some events from Cruinniú na nÓg this summer. Search the programme of events.

Another programme highlight will be the family friendly growing and drawing workshops hosted by Blackbird Cultur-Lab, who will offer families a chance to engage with nature in a unique setting facilitated by Blackbird’s founder, Karla Sánchez and artist David Begley. There are many more free activities in the programme, including stop motion animation in the Gorey Library, musical discoveries at the National Opera House, a singing and ukulele workshop with Music Generation Wexford, historical fiction writing with Caroline Busher, opportunities to create costumes for a biodiversity parade with the Presentation Arts Centre or bring an instrument to the Seomra Traidisiúnta in Gorey and learn to record, light and edit your performance.

The event is jam packed with free activities for all the family. All event information and booking links are available on the national website: https://cruinniu.creativeireland.gov.ie/events/location/wexford/

Cruinniú na nÓg 2022 is a collaboration between the The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, the Creative Ireland Programme, local authorities and RTÉ.

Hoisting the Blue Flags for 2022

By Dan Walsh

Wexford coastal areas have performed well in the An Taisce International Blue Flag and Green Coast Award recipients for 2022. The awards were presented by Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Heritage and Electoral Reform at a ceremony on Curracloe Beach on Friday.

Ballymoney North Beach is one of seven beaches nationally not awarded Blue Flag status in 2021, but the good news is that the popular North Wexford resort is flying the flag this year.

Also included are Courtown, Morriscastle, Rosslare Strand, Ballinesker, Rosslare Strand and Carne, while Kilmore Quay Marina and New Ross ‘Three Sisters’ Marina’ were awarded Blue Flag status 2022, in recognition of consistent excellent standards.

The Green Coast awards for Wexford beaches in 2022 are: Cahore Point Beach, Old Bawn Beach, Culleton’s Gap, St Helen’s Bay, Ballyhealy, Cullenstown Strand, Baginbun Beach, Booley Bay and Grange.

COURTOWN (File Pic).

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Minister Noonan stated that; “This year celebrates 35 years of the Blue Flag as an international programme and during that time the Blue Flag has become an internationally recognised symbol of high standards in water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety. I am pleased to be presenting 95 blue flags and 62 green coast awards today and want to commend the great efforts made by local authorities, An Taisce, coastal communities and volunteers for their work around the country.”

Mr. Ian Diamond, Coastal Awards Manager for An Taisce said; “We were delighted to be welcomed to the Sunny Southeast today for the opportunity to celebrate the beaches and marinas awarded for the 2022 season. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to manage a beach or marina to the excellent standards required by these award programmes. It’s been too long since we’ve had the opportunity to acknowledge these efforts in person, and I would like to thank all in attendance and our hosts Wexford County Council for helping us make today’s event worth the wait.”

The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised eco-labels. The programme aims to raise environmental awareness and promote sound environmental management of beaches, marinas and eco-tourism boats around the world. The 85 Irish beaches and 10 marinas that have achieved this accolade must adhere to specific criteria related to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and site management.

The Green Coast Award recognises beaches for their clean environment, excellent water quality and natural beauty. Green Coast Award sites are exceptional places to visit and enjoy our rich coastal heritage and diversity.

New waste water plant at Kilmore Quay

Turning the sod on the Kilmore Quay Wastewater Treatment Plant; Cllr Ger Carthy, Tom Enright, CEO, Wexford County Council, Paul Kehoe TD, Michael Tinsley, Irish Water, Cllr Jim Moore, Cathaoirleach, Rosslare Municipal District Council, Brendan Howlin TD, Verona Murphy TD, Cllr Frank Staples and Cllr Jim Codd. (Pic; Patrick Browne).

By Dan Walsh

The rain tumbled down as if making a climate statement at Kilmore Quay this morning where the sod was turned for the new Wastewater Treatment Plant and related infrastructure with Irish Water, working in partnership with Wexford County Council.

The works had already commenced on the new sewerage scheme and wastewater treatment infrastructure for the village, however due to Covid restrictions, the ceremonial aspects of the works were put on hold, until today. 

Cllr Jim Moore, Cathaoirleach of the Rosslare Municipal District stated; “I am delighted to see this most welcome infrastructure which will give a huge impetus to the development of Kilmore Quay in terms of environment, industry, community, housing, and tourism. I would like to thank all concerned for their efforts in reaching this important milestone for Kilmore Quay and the surrounding district and region. It comes at an opportune time with the Wexford County Development Plan under consideration as well as the Local Economic Development Plans for the District.”

Irish Water’s Michael Tinsley said; “It is really fantastic to be here in Kilmore Quay this morning. Irish Water is really looking forward to delivering this important project to benefit the local community for the generations to come. This project will improve water quality around the quay and wider harbour area, enhance the amenity value of the coastal waters and ensure compliance with national and EU regulations relating to the treatment of urban wastewater.

“All new infrastructure has been sized to accommodate future population growth and will play an integral part in the development of Kilmore Quay. We look forward to working with the local community to deliver this essential project with our partners in Wexford County Council and Jon Sisk & Sons Ltd. Irish Water has a strong track record of completing projects on time and on budget once we get boots on the ground.

“Indeed, we have good news in this regard not too far away from here. We turned the sod on the Duncannon, Arthurstown and Ballyhack project in June 2021. Later this summer, the Wastewater Treatment Plant located in Arthurstown will begin operation, with the overall project being on course to be fully completed by the end of 2022, ahead of schedule. 

Will Merriman, Managing Director, Ireland Civils, Sisk added; “Sisk is delighted to be selected for this vital new wastewater treatment project, that will significantly improve water quality in Kilmore Quay. Sisk is also in the process of completing a similar wastewater treatment project at Arthurstown. We look forward to continuing our successful relationship with Irish Water and Wexford County Council, creating a positive legacy for all stakeholders and the local community of Kilmore Quay.”

The proposed scheme will involve the design and construction of the following works, a new wastewater treatment plant that will serve existing and future populations. New below ground pumping stations with above ground kiosks along with pipelines to transfer sewage from the pumping stations to the wastewater treatment plant. A new treated wastewater pipeline to discharge treated wastewater from the new wastewater treatment plant to the existing discharge pipe. Testing and commissioning of the works once complete.

Gorey housing crisis deepens

By Dan Walsh at Gorey Civic Centre

Cllr Joe Sullivan spoke out strongly against what he termed “lack of action from the housing department” and told last Tuesday’s monthly meeting of Gorey Kilmuckridge Municipal District Council of the housing situation being “in a sorry state” with only nine houses available since January and no prospect of any more in the near future?”

Cllr Sullivan questioned the situation at St. Waleran’s, stated that there are 12 houses idle in Tober Mhuire View and claimed the list gets longer and frustrated by lack of action from the housing department. He added that there are “failures in outrageous circumstances” and North Wexford is facing “serious problems.

Cllr Willie Kavanagh recalled attending a photo shoot in The Ballagh three years ago and told the houses would be ready in a year! He blamed Irish Water for holding up progress at The Ballagh.

CLLR JOE SULLIVAN at the new housing development at Tober Mhuire View on Scholar’s Way, Gorey,; 12 units are ready but have yet to be occupied.

Helen Frayne from Wexford County Council housing department told the meeting that four houses (out of a scheme of 16) would be ready next week in Blackwater. She outlined delays in relation to Tober Mhuire View in Gorey.

Cllr Anthony Donohoe addressed the St. Joseph’s site on Wexford St., Gorey, and he hoped “there would never be a house on it and it would be the worst decision ever made and it should be a car park.”

Cllr Andrew Bolger had a query about an affordable housing site at Ramsfort Park and asked about modular housing as a means of speeding up matters.

“Gorey is in crisis. We need houses,and it is an emotional issue” noted Cllr Mary Farrell. Cllr Diarmuid Devereux said “We need to be honest with the signals we send out and not be building up people’s hopes. We need to be realistic and tell people there are no houses!”

Cllr Kavanagh returned to the debate and suggested that vacant houses could be put back in use quicker.

Cllr Sullivan wondered if we (the Council) could be given any hope? “There are 900 on the housing list and there is nothing to tell us?” Cathaoirleach Cllr Pip Breen ended the debate, which became heated at times, by admitting “there are no houses.”

Cllr Anthony Donohoe had questions about progress at the St. Waleran’s site. “We have that site for three years and if some of the big builders had been brought in, we would have families living on that site today?” Liz Hore, Director of Services, is to bring an update to the June meeting.