By Dan Walsh at New Ross Fire Station
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien T.D. performed the official opening of the new €1.8 million New Ross Fire Station in the Hewitsland area of the town yesterday (Friday).
Minister O’Brien acknowledged the great work done by New Ross Fire Service which covers an extensive region in the south-west of the county from Ballywilliam to Hook Head and from Great Island to Clongeen.
Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council, Cllr George Lawlor, and Cathaoirleach of New Ross Municipal District Council, Cllr Michael Sheehan, addressed the gathering and both were on the same hymn sheet with congratulations on a new station, appreciation of the great work done by the fire service, and kind regards to present and retired members for sacrificing quality family time while giving up their leisure time 24 hours -365 days a year on a part-time basis for maintenance of a top class fire service.
Tom Enright, CEO, Wexford County Council told the large, invited audience of retired and serving firefighters that Wexford County Fire Service operates five retained fire stations in Co. Wexford at Wexford, Gorey, Enniscorthy, New Ross and Bunclody.
He outlined that New Ross attends approximately 180 incidents per year including domestic and chimney fires, road traffic collisions, medical calls to assist the National Ambulance Service, agricultural fires and forestry and gorse fires.
Chief Fire Officer, Paul L’Estrange, acted as master of ceremonies and the attendance included Chief Superintendent Anthony Pettit representing An Garda Siochána and Cllr Ger Carthy on behalf of the National Ambulance Service.
Minister James Browne, Deputy Paul Kehoe, Senator Malcolm Byrne and Cllrs John Fleming, Michael Whelan, Anthony Connick and Joe Sullivan from Gorey district. Also present was Director of Services Carolyne Godkin and former Wexford County Council engineer John Carley.
Mr. L’Estrange told the gathering at the outset that the firefighters were on-call and outlined what could happen if an emergency occurred – the engines and the staff would activate their duties, fortunately, nothing happened, and after Monsignor Joseph McGrath and Rev. Ian Cruickshank performed a blessing ceremony it was time for the tea and sandwiches.
New Ross Fire Brigade have operated out of Michael Street in the town for the past 36 years, and the plan now is to use this site for the National Ambulance Service. Before Michael Street the service was stationed in the Fish House on the Quay.
A news announcement in October 2020 read; “It will be a state of the art three-bay fire station with 14 parking spaces, a training yard, tower, lecture room and offices.” The tender was allocated to local construction company Kevin Thorpe Ltd, Adamstown.
The sod turning took place in May 2021.