‘Frontline worker’ honoured at Council AGM

By Dan Walsh

The newly elected Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council is Cllr Ger Carthy, a ‘frontline worker’ from the Rosslare District who defeated Cllr Oliver Walsh (Gorey-Kilmuckridge District) by 22 votes to 9 at the 123rd annual general meeting of Wexford County Council held in two-metre distancing arrangements in ‘the Street’ at County Hall, Carricklawn, today.

CLLR GARRY LAFFAN (Leas-Cathaoirleach) and CLLR GER CARTHY (Cathaoirleach) elected at the annual general meeting of Wexford County Council.

In a moving maiden speech Cllr Carthy paid  tribute to his proposer and seconder and his family before complimenting the local authority and its ‘frontline’ staff who ensured that the community felt safe and looked after their local communities to ensure that vulnerable people were protected at a surreal and unprecedented time.

Cllr Carthy said; “Over the past number of months Wexford County Council rose to an unprecedented and once in a lifetime challenge that the people of this county and this country faced. Now that we are thankfully leaving the dark and scary days of March, April and May and early June moving into the new norm, we as public representatives face new challenges, that is to ensure that all local authorities, including Wexford County Council by a new government that was appointed last Saturday.”

“Covid 19 has caused heartbreak for many families in recent months and I want to express  my deep sympathy to all those who suffered bereavements during this period of restriction and were not able to mourn or indeed celebrate the lives of their loved ones in traditional Irish style.

“Alongside personal tragedies, which families suffered have been economic turmoil caused by measures introduced that were necessary to contain this virus. Many businesses, particularly those in retail and tourism sectors, which is really the backbone of the Wexford economy has suffered a huge blow and large numbers will struggle even to remain viable. Small businesses will require urgent and ongoing support from central government if they are to survive and we are to avoid large scale job losses across County Wexford,” he concluded.

Many tributes were paid to Cllr Carthy from fellow Rosslare District member Cllr Frank Staples, Cllr George Lawlor, who proposed the new chairman, ‘former school colleague’ Cllr Lisa McDonald and Cllr John Fleming who said he was “a frontline worker and had a great following.”

Good wishes were also expressed by Cllrs Mary Farrell, Barbara-Anne Murphy, Kathleen Codd-Nolan, Jim Moore, Michael Whelan (whose father served on the Council with Cllr Carthy’s father), Willie Kavanagh, Fionntán Ó Suilleabháin and John Hegarty told the new chairman; “It is a very proud day for you and your family. Enjoy it and make the most of it.”

Cllr Cathal Byrne thanked Cllr Carthy for “being open and available to offer help and advice to new members.”  Cllr Joe Sullivan reminded him that “it is a huge honour and you can be greatly proud to be the head of a population of 150,000 people. Good wishes were also forthcoming from Cllr Andrew Bolger and Pip Breen.

CEO Tom Enright said it was important to have all 34 members of the Council together again. He paid tribute to outgoing Cathaoirleach, Cllr Michael Sheehan, as did the majority of speakers in the chamber and he thanked the staff of the Council and praised the frontline workers who had brought us through a difficult three months.

All-Ireland hurling medal winner with Wexford in 1996, Garry Laffan defeated ‘recently engaged’ Cllr Bridín Murphy for the Leas-Cathaoirleach position.

CLLR MICHAEL WHELAN (Cathaoirleach New Ross District) CLLR BARBARA-ANNE MURPHY (Cathaoirleach Enniscorthy District) CLLR LEONARD KELLY (mayor of Wexford) CLLR FRANK STAPLES (Rosslare District) and CLLR JOE SULLIVAN (Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District were elected at the annual general meeting of Wexford County Council.

The new Mayor of Wexford Borough Council is Cllr Leonard Kelly who takes over the mayoral chains from Cllr George Lawlor. The Deputy Mayor is Cllr Thomas Forde.

No change in Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District where Cllr Joe Sullivan is Cathaoirleach and Cllr Oliver Walsh takes up the position of Leas-Cathaoirleach.

Female members take the lead in the Enniscorthy District with Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy stepping into the hot seat, a position she last occupied in 2014. Outgoing Cathaoirleach Cllr Kathleen Codd-Nolan is now Leas-Cathaoirleach.

Cllr Michael Whelan is the new Cathaoirleach in New Ross District, a position he last held in 2016-’17, replacing Cllr John Fleming. Leas-Cathaoirleach is Cllr Bridín Murphy from Ballymackessey, Clonroche.

In Rosslare Municipal District outgoing Cathaoirleach moves into the top position with Wexford County Council and his place is taken by Cllr Frank Staples. Cllr Lisa McDonald is Leas-Cathaoirleach.

Also today many glowing tributes were paid to the retiring County Secretary of many years, Pat Collins, who is replaced by David Minogue, who acted as Returning Officer in his new role.

Oylegate to Rosslare road link moves a step closer

By Dan Walsh

Wexford County Council announced today it is to begin a public consultation process on the proposed N11/N25 Oylegate to Rosslare Harbour Scheme that aims to develop over 30 kilometres of high-quality road network linking the M11 with Rosslare Europort.

Director of Service at Wexford County Council, Eamonn Hore, said; “Rosslare Europort has become increasingly busy over the last few years, resulting in increased pressure on the infrastructure serving the Port and communities across south Wexford. The outcome of Brexit means that Rosslare is of ever-increasing importance as a primary transport link with the continent, and though this increase in trade and tourism will bring welcome economic benefits to both the South East and Ireland in general, it will also result in increasing pressures on road capacity and safety along the N11 and N25 corridors linking to Rosslare Europort.

“We want to hear the views of the public with regards to the proposed scheme options. With the current restrictions on large gatherings in place due to Covid-19, we cannot hold an information session, as we would during normal times. However, the public will be able to express their views and have direct contact with the project team via phone conversations, as well as on-line and email services” he concluded.

Public will have the opportunity to contribute to the scheme development during the consultation process which runs from Monday, July 6th until Monday July 20th. The website www.oilgate2rosslareharbour.ie will provide a centralised location for information and feedback.

Drama in the garden grows in Coolgreany

By Dan Walsh

With social distance restrictions limiting the numbers that can attend indoor events these days some strong inspiration triumphed in Coolgreany and the local drama members are performing  a full length comedy ‘Hooked’ in the unique and pleasant surroundings of the beautiful Ram House Gardens in the village.

Popping up in the garden and ‘Hooked’ on their lines! Carl Nuzum, Niamh Fleming and Norah Finn from Coolgreany Drama. Pic; Thomas Clare

From Thursday July 2nd, and running regularly throughout July and August, Coolgreany Drama is back in action and presenting a major outdoor production of Gillian Grattan’s acclaimed full-length comedy-drama ‘Hooked”. 

Director Sally Stevens told WexfordLocal.com; “Community theatre, along with GAA, is often the social and cultural lifeblood of most rural communities. Following the Covid restrictions, we had to think of innovative ways to ‘keep the show on the road’ within health and safety parameters, so as not to deprive our community of quality theatre and to give people a badly-needed social outlet.”

“We have been rehearsing for ‘Hooked’ with the aid of Zoom and more recently, outdoors, while adhering to social distancing parameters. Following the easing of restrictions, we are now in a position to present our latest production in safe, socially distant and pleasant surroundings with a limited attendance over 18 nights throughout the summer.”

‘Hooked’ is a three-handed comedy drama in which young Dubliner Lydia’s move to a small country village causes tensions and leads to an unexpected chain of events, exposing many secrets and lies bubbling under the surface.

The venue for the play, Ram House Gardens, lovingly tended by Sally’s mother, Lolo Stevens, is spread over two acres and it features in many major gardens of Ireland guides.

‘Hooked’ will be performed on Thursday evenings at 7pm on July 2nd,9th and 16th and August 6th,13th and 20th; and on Saturdays and Sundays at 4pm on July 4th,5th,11th,12th,18th and 19th and August 8th,9th,15th,16th, 22nd and 23rd.  

The venue address is Ram House Gardens, Coolgreany, Gorey Y25KD77. Due to Covid restrictions, unfortunately, toilet facilities will not be available. The play lasts for 90 minutes with no interval. Admission is €12 plus Eventbrite booking fee.

Booking for the July performances is now open online – Google: Eventbrite Hooked or Eventbrite Coolgreany. For further queries about the show phone:  087 2411926.

Wine smuggling smashed at Rosslare

Revenue officers at Rosslare Europort seized over 13,100 litres of wine during routine profiling earlier this week.

The smuggled alcohol, with an estimated retail value of over €247,400 representing a loss to the Exchequer of €148,800, had arrived in a foreign registered truck that had disembarked a ferry from France. 

Investigations are ongoing with a view to prosecution.

These routine operations are part of Revenue’s ongoing work targeting the smuggling and shadow economy activity.

If businesses, or members of the public have any information, they can contact Revenue in confidence on Confidential Phone Number 1800 295 295.

Family time in the sun at Min Ryan Park

By Dan Walsh

Soaring temperatures into the low 20’s prevailed across Wexford today and where better to soak up the sunshine than the new Min Ryan Park at Killeens, on the outskirts of Wexford town.

Covid 19 restrictions are in operation at the park, however, many families are enjoying the facility to return to some kind of normality after months of lockdown.

The park on 18 acres cost in the region of €4 million and was due to be officially opened on April 11th to commemorate the 43rd anniversary of Min Ryan’s death, but the Covid-19 outbreak put paid to those plans.

It is planned to hold an official opening ceremony at a future date.

The park covers 18 acres incorporating an array of attractive features, including a playground, picnic area, dog park, memorial garden, walking track, water features, multi-use events area, play spaces, wildflower meadows and art/sculpture displays. 

The Park will also include a series of rich, bio-diverse eco-systems such as a wetland area, wild flower meadows and native woodland habitats.

Construction of Wexford’s ‘neighbourhood park’ got under way with sod-turning ceremony by Mayor of Wexford, Cllr Tony Dempsey in September 2018.

Cllr. Dempsey paid tribute to Mr. Richard Mulcahy and the Mulcahy family for their philanthropic donation of €200,000 towards development of the park in honour of Richard’s late grandmother, local woman Min Ryan (1885-1977), who hailed from Tomcoole, Barntown, just a few miles from the park location in Killeens.

Gaels remember Ballyhogue’s Johnny Martin

By Dan Walsh

Many fine tributes have been paid to John ‘Johnny’ Martin, ‘Allenrue’, Wilton, Bree, Enniscorthy, who was laid to rest in Bree Cemetery on Wednesday following Requiem Mass in Bree Church in a moving ceremony carried out in accordance with government guidelines regarding public gatherings.

JOHNNY MARTIN

Johnny was a highly respected member of the community with a devoted interest in the welfare of his family and passionate about sport, especially GAA and horse racing.

A native of Knockduff, he married his wife of over 60 years, Kathleen (nee Carr) from Cooltigue, and they set up home and raised a family at Wilton. They never left their native parish of Bree.

Most of Johnny’s working life was with the ESB in the Enniscorthy district until he had an unfortunate accident in 1987 that forced him into retirement. Fortunately, he made a full recovery.

He was a football player of note in his younger days. Johnny Martin was once described as “a good club midfielder who could jump like a stag twist and turn like an eel”

His inter-county football career commenced in 1954 when he was selected on the Wexford junior team that lost to Dublin in the Leinster semi-final. He played with the Wexford senior team in tournaments and the league against such great teams of the time from Kerry, Meath and Louth.

But the highlights of Johnny’s distinguished career were with his native Ballyhogue winning two junior championship medals and three county senior football titles between 1955 and 1964.

Records say that his ‘finest hour’ in the Ballyhogue jersey was against Wexford Sarsfield in the 1962 county final. “His fielding and positional play were brilliant, his distribution excellent, and his determination inspiring.”

Long after his retirement from the playing fields in 1965, Johnny’s passion for football as a spectator was unrivalled and mourners in Bree Church were informed that he “only missed two All-Ireland Senior Football finals in almost 70 years.”

Deepest sympathy is extended to his sorrowing family. Beloved husband of Kathleen and dearly loved father of P.J, Anne and Sean. Predeceased by his son-in-law Paul. Sadly missed by his loving wife, sons, daughter, Sean’s wife Majella, P. J’s partner Clarissa, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, brother-in-law Pat, all the Martin family, relatives and friends. MAY HE REST IN PEACE.

ALDI donates €3,500 to six Wexford charities

Half a dozen Wexford charities have received €3,500 in donations as part of Aldi’s Community Grants Programme over the past year.

At Aldi’s Community Grants Programme are representatives of Wexford SPCA, RNLI Courtown Lifeboat Station, Wexford Women’s Refuge, Wexford Marine Watch, Cottage Autism Network Wexford and Scoil Chroí Ró Naofa, Ballymurn.. Pic;; Patrick Browne

Wexford SPCA, RNLI Courtown Lifeboat Station, Wexford Women’s Refuge, Wexford Marine Watch, Cottage Autism Network Wexford and Scoil Chroí Ró Naofa, Ballymurn, each benefitted from a donation from one or more of Aldi’s seven Wexford stores.

Aldi’s Community Grants programme helps fund local charities and organisations that contribute vital work and services in their local communities.

“Our local store staff are an integral part of the selection process for the donations, meaning they are passionate about the charities chosen in their local community,” said John Curtin, Group Buying Director, Aldi Ireland, who added; “At Aldi supporting the local communities that our stores serve is hugely important. Each charity selected as part of our Community Grants Programme offers fantastic services to those in need. Their dedicated staff and volunteers offer their time and care and now, more than ever, it is vital that we support them.”

Final battle facing 1798 Rebellion Centre

By Dan Walsh

At the June meeting of Enniscorthy Municipal District Council it was revealed that sale had been negotiated with a local businessman, and all remaining exhibits would be totally removed from the National 1798 Rebellion Centre at Enniscorthy, subject to the deal being passed by a full meeting of Wexford County Council.

The National 1798 Rebellion Centre at Enniscorthy

It is understood that the decision has nothing whatsoever to do with the historical significance of the place, but the Centre has been a total failure as an economic entity, and the Council is no longer prepared to carry the losses. “Visitor numbers have been disappointing for a long time,” a Council official told WexfordLocal.com

It is understood that the new owner plans to develop an exhibition centre and a café.

Cllr Cathal Byrne suggested that the sale should be dependent on guarantees that the existing exhibition be suitably relocated and continue to be exhibited. “I could not support the sale without reassurances about where the exhibition is going,” he concluded.

Cllr John O’Rourke raised concerns about the 1798 artefacts. “The people of Wexford gave donations and they are all catalogued below in Johnstown Castle,” he added.

Cllr O’Rourke also recalled that people had raised finances countywide and beyond to have their names up on the wall in the 1798 Centre – an obvious reference to the Senate which convened in Johnstown Castle during the 1998 bicentenary commemorations.

Cllr Jackser Owens suggested moving location to “the bottom of Vinegar Hill” and Cathaoirlech Cllr Kathleen Codd-Nolan said “people from other countries really loved it.”

There is local disquiet about the decision. Several petitions have appeared on social media- some sources saying that 4,000 signatures have been recorded to date – and  Deputy James Browne has called for the National 1798 Centre to remain open unless an alternative equivalent exhibition space in Enniscorthy is located.

“The decision to close the 1798 Centre needs to be postponed. It appears the decision has been rushed with little consultation with county councillors and the public,”

“The 1798 centre needs to remain open unless an alternative equivalent exhibition space can be found. One possibility is to find a location for a new centre in the Templeshannon area, which has been neglected in the past”, Deputy Browne concluded.

Posting on social media this week, Johnny Mythen TD, said “Once again we see the National 1798 Centre, facing closure. Once more our history is thrown to the ‘disregard bin’. In 2018, Deputy Mythen, then a councillor, was one of the few who voted against the sale of the Rebellion Centre at meetings of both Enniscorthy Municipal District Council and Wexford County Council. It must be acknowledged that public opposition was very low-key at the time!

At a meeting in April 2018 Wexford County Council received a mandate from members for the sale of the National 1798 Rebellion Centre at Enniscorthy to a local businessman for the limited purpose of operations as a distillery and visitor centre.

It was agreed that the purpose built centre, established on a green field site adjacent to the old CBS monastery in 1998, would continue in its present form throughout the summer months and a number of events were scheduled to take place there marking the 220th anniversary of the 1798 rebellion.

A meeting of Enniscorthy Municipal District Council agreed the sale of the property measuring 0.63 hectares for €325,000, and the proposed deal passed to the County Council members for full approval.

A clause in the sale agreement emphasised that the Council will have first refusal to purchase the property at the original sale price if the purchaser decides to sell within the first five years.

€5.54m cannabis seized at Rosslare

Revenue officers seized 277kgs of herbal cannabis worth €5.54 million at Rosslare Europport during a routine search last Saturday morning.

The drugs were discovered when an unaccompanied trailer that had arrived into Rosslare from Bilbao, Spain was selected for examination.

The subsequent search, with the assistance of Revenue’s mobile x-ray scanner, led to the discovery of the drugs concealed within a load of melons and oranges.

These routine operations are part of Revenue’s ongoing work targeting drug smuggling and shadow economy activity. If businesses, or members of the public have any information, they can contact Revenue in confidence on Confidential Phone Number 1800 295 295.

Council backs footfall plan for Enniscorthy

By Dan Walsh

Market Square and adjoining streets, Rafter St and Slaney St., and Templeshannon from the old bridge as far as the entrance to the swimming pool, is to be  pedestrianised from 7pm to 11.30pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday with Monday, June 29th as the most likely commencement date.

The temporary measure is likely to last for six to eight weeks and is currently being risk assessed to ensure that public safety is a priority.

Members unanimously backed the plan at the June meeting of Enniscorthy Municipal District Council presented in the Municipal Manager’s Report (Mr Ger Mackey) which stated that consultation with the Chamber of Commerce and the establishment of a Steering Committee made up of business representatives made the recommendations to assist the local hospitality sector recover from Covid-19 restrictions.

It is regarded as the best option for the town as “it does not hamper the day retail trade and will give a huge advantage to the hospitality sector during this challenging period.”

Rafter Steet and Slaney Street will be pedestrianised every day probably from 10.30am.

Mr Mackey told the meeting that the measures will “generate a family friendly atmosphere around the town.” Businesses will be facilitated with street furniture and stalls outside their premises and acoustic music will be allowed. Gardai will maintain a visible presence during the evenings of pedestrianisation.

ROAD CLOSURE; A five-day programme of street resurfacing commenced this morning at Templeshannon (R744) and will be completed next Friday.