By Dan Walsh
While attending today’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities many parents may be addled by their children asking about the absence of the local councillor – the one that came to the house a few years ago and Daddy threatened Mammy that if she didn’t vote… – well, they are not on the reviewing stand today, and the young ‘uns are curious!
While the traditional St Patrick’s Day parades and associated festivities return to Co. Wexford for the first time in two years seven elected representatives will be missing their neighbourhood after Wexford County Council agreed at the February meeting to pay their expenses to splash the green in the United States.
It was decided by the Council’s Corporate Policy Group (CPG) to send the sitting Cathaoirleach Cllr Barbara- Anne Murphy and Mayor of Wexford, Cllr Garry Laffan, but also included the previous years’ Cathaoirleach – Cllrs Ger Carthy and Michael Sheehan – and Mayors Cllrs Leonard Kelly (who withdrew and decided to celebrate on Wexford Quay instead) and George Lawlor, all who missed out on any kind of foreign trips due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Five members are in Savannah, Georgia, however, the CPG also decided that the current Deputy Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council, Cllrs Anthony Connick and Lisa McDonald should represent Wexford in New York.
All will to be accompanied by officials and Wexford County Council will foot the bill.
Cllr Tom Forde objected to sending six members to Savannah for St Patrick’s Day. I think the current Cathaoirleach and Mayor would be plenty,” he stated, before adding “I think it would be wrong to send so many on this trip when resources are so tight.”
Cllr John Hegarty said that fostering links with Savannah would show “real economic benefit” for Wexford.
There was a small number against the motion, however, it passed by a large majority. Cllr Cathal Byrne voted against his Fine Gael colleagues, while Cllr Jim Codd felt the decision sent out “the wrong message. It is not sensible. We need to lead by example.”
County Secretary David Minogue pointed out that Wexford would not be the only county to send a delegation from the past three terms. “Those who signed up would be away from their families for a while, which was not easy for some and the trip to Savannah is seven days and New York is four.”
There were no objections towards sending two members to New York and Rosslare district would send two members to Dunkirk in France. Cllr Ger Carthy suggested Cllr Jim Moore (Cathaoirleach) and Leas-Cathaoirleach Cllr Jim Codd, but Cllr Codd refused the offer.
Enniscorthy-based Minister of State James Browne is in the Czech Republic.