By Dan Walsh
Concern for rural villages and seeking ways of rejuvenating some villages that have seen better days was one of the topics that occupied members’ minds at today’s Special Meeting of Wexford County Council held under Government Covid-19 guidelines at White’s Hotel, Wexford. Cllr Ger Carthy, Cathaoirleach, and Cllr Garry Laffan, Leas-Cathaoirleach shared Chair duties.
Cllr Jim Codd called for more support for the coastal and marine sector drawing on inspiration from Rosslare to Bannow Island who were “a musical, cultured, linguistic people” and had great potential from a tourism viewpoint.
Cllr Michael Whelan felt that villages like Arthurstown, Ramsgrange, Duncannon and Ballyhack were near Waterford city and brought closer by the Ballyhack ferry service and were in need for more support and promotion.
Executive Engineer Diarmuid Houston referred to problems at the Ballyhack wastewater treatment system and he felt that was a Council priority. “Let’s put the facilities in first,” he said.
Some councillors were unhappy with the omission of some villages in the plan. Cllr Anthony Donohoe noted that Tara Hill, Ballymoney, Askamore and Kilrush were not mentioned; Cllr John Hegarty missed Screen, and Cllr Kathleen Codd-Nolan claimed that Caim was a busy village with a shop, a pub, a school and other services and deserved more support from the Council.
Cllr John Fleming referred to Killane, Rathnure and Ballywilliam and praised the Local Link bus service for assisting rural isolated people
Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy expressed concerns that “we are not allowing people to live in the country and the rural way of life is disappearing.”
Cllr Diarmuid Devereux felt that rural villages were the most important item to discuss with fewer children starting school and GAA and other sports clubs struggling to get young members.
Cllr Pip Breen believed “rural villages are dying from the lack of school places.”
Cllr Lisa McDonald noted it is very clear that Ireland is changing. “Life is going to change. The retail strategy is going to change. What people need is good Broadband and be near the motorway with good connectivity to major centres.”
And Cllr Cathal Byrne wondered what happened to the letter ‘u’ in the Council spelling of his native Ballyhog’u’e?