Smart Village strategy for Courtown/Riverchapel

COURTOWN HARBOUR at night (File Pic;

By Dan Walsh at Ashdown Park Hotel, Gorey

A new 64-page report outlining a Smart Village innovative plan for future investment and development in the Courtown and Riverchapel region of North Wexford was unveiled at a well-attended public meeting held in the Ashdown Park Hotel, Gorey, last Monday night.

Linda Sinnott, Chair of Courtown Community Council welcomed everybody to the meeting and told them; “We know mistakes have been made on both sides, but we need to learn from them and move forward. We are delighted to have the support of the local councillors in attendance for our proposal for a new working group to address the challenges within the area. Our community is full of passion, and we all want to see a strong and prosperous future for the area.”

Lorna Fitzpatrick, Trustee of Courtown Community Council and lead author of the report said; “It is clear to me that there are a lot of people who want to see Courtown and Riverchapel grow and prosper. It is essential that this plan is utilised and that it feeds into the development of the area.”

Ms. Fitzpatrick presented some of the key findings of the report; (1), 90.8% of respondents want community facilities within the next 2 years. (2); 89.2% of respondents want investment in health services within the next 2 years; (3); 74% of respondents felt that Environmental and Climate protection were very important to them, and (4); The greatest challenge for the area was identified by respondents as “the lack of planning and investment in services and infrastructure such as healthcare, education, housing and transport.

Cllr Donal Kenny, Cathaoirleach of Gorey Kilmuckridge Municipal District Council congratulated the group and stated; “we are here to listen to you and work with you.”

Cllr Diarmuid Devereux wasn’t surprised that healthcare topped local concerns. “If you want help, you will get it,” he added.

Cllr Fionntán Ó Súilleabhain felt that “tourism is the mainstay of the country” and anticipated a link up with two hotels, Coillte and the neighbouring woods, Active Tribe and the Tara Hill project.

Cllr Andrew Bolger said it was great to get all the information together, “listening is the easy part but delivering is the hard part” in providing the services that a middle-size town need.

Cllr Pip Breen said it was an achievement to get the report finished and he hoped to “get the beach back.”

“You have come to the table with a plan and it is up to the councillors to run with it,” stated Cllr Joe Sullivan.

Senator Malcolm Byrne was impressed by “a most positive meeting”. He believes the key to moving forward is the working group.

Courtown Community Council have mapped The Smart Village Strategy alongside the Local Area Plan for Courtown and Riverchapel 2016-2026 to create a blueprint that identifies the priority areas for development and investment. 

This blueprint will be the focus of the working group, which was proposed by Ms. Sinnott and seconded by Tony Clyne at the launch. 

Courtown Community Council wants to ensure that Courtown and Riverchapel is a thriving community, with booming businesses, protected natural spaces with safe and clean rivers and coasts for both locals and tourists support the local economy. 

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