New Ross is open and refreshed

By Dan Walsh

The trial run of four weeks of pedestrianisation in New Ross on each Friday, Saturday and Sunday of August has commenced with a pleasant degree of success so far. And, the weather is helping too!

A pleasant summer scene on South Street, New Ross, this afternoon

Many visitors were taking advantage of today’s brilliant sunshine and tasty varieties of food on South Street. There was also some music to sweeten the mood. The trial is to assist local traders deal with the effects of the Covid-19 restrictions on business and trade in the town.

New Ross Municipal District has provided funding for tables and chairs which will be put out for use by any traders and it will also link in with New Ross Summer Sessions which is currently each Saturday and Sunday.
Today’s photo taken in South Street is enriched by the fresh artwork from The Walls Project, and one of five murals to be installed in New Ross celebrating The Norman Way.

Deputy Mythen raises mental health issues

Just before the recent Dáil recess for the summer holidays Enniscorthy-based Deputy Johnny Mythen raised the matter of children being placed in adult mental health units, which is mentioned in the programme for Government and the Sharing the Vision policy. This issue has been highlighted in Wexford over the past few years and as recently as last week.


“Will the Tánaiste commit to looking at the budget allocations regarding access to appropriate inpatient units and out-of-hours services? Has the Government considered the existing shortages in staff levels and the pending problem of retirements in the next five years, to end this bad practice of placing children in adult mental health units?

Replying to Deputy Mythen, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar stated; “Unfortunately, this problem has been going on for a long time and we have struggled to deal with it. In some cases, there might be 16 and 17 year olds in an adult unit, while in other cases a decision is made in consultation with the family to put a child in an adult unit nearer to home rather than a children’s unit far away. Still, it is not a satisfactory practice.

“As long ago as when I was Minister for Health and Kathleen Lynch was Minister of State with responsibility for this area, we worked very hard on this issue and were able to reduce the numbers, though not eliminate them. I am determined that this Government be the one to deal with this once and for all and I will be discussing it with the Minister, Deputy Stephen Donnelly, in the weeks ahead. I thank Deputy Mythen for raising this issue.”

Edited by Dan Walsh

Councillors angry at Irish Water!

By Dan Walsh

Moderate contempt for Irish Water is frequently aired at district meetings, but claims that Irish Water is neglecting rural Wexford was alleged by a number of speakers at yesterday’s (Wednesday) Special Meeting of Wexford County Council held at White’s Hotel, Wexford, under strict Covid-19 pandemic guidelines.

The criticism comes in the perception that Irish Water is failing to provide adequate services in small towns and villages to sustain development such as once off construction or the revival of housing clusters that assist in keeping people resident in communities where they have family roots.

Cllr Oliver Walsh told the meeting something must be done to save rural Ireland and he had issues with Irish Water who recently requested €46,000 for the provision of a fire hydrant in his local GAA Club.

“I have no faith in Irish Water,” said Cllr Diarmuid Devereux. Cllr Michael Whelan wondered if a representative of Irish Water could be invited to the September meeting. Cllr Pat Barden felt “we are going around in circles with Irish Water” and he suggested it may be time for a vote of ‘no confidence’.

“We need to make some sort of serious statement,” he concluded.

A number of councillors added their voices to the debate, Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy, referred to the inability for development in some North Wexford villages due to Irish Water being unable to supply adequate capacity for water supply and wastewater services.

Director of Services, Tony Larkin, stated that 50 villages have facilities and there is no demand. It is not like the Celtic Tiger days and some people have great difficulty in selling houses. “People are living in small villages. It can be done. Development can take place.” He added that Irish Water claims there is spare capacity available.

Mr Larkin emphasised that Wexford County Council is not a water authority. It is not a statutory body. It has no powers and do not get any funding.

More Council support urged for rural villages

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.

JOHNSTOWN CASTLE…one of Wexford’s top visitor attractions.

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?

Moore back in winning ways at Wexford

By Dan Walsh

Adamstown jockey Jonathan Moore was the happiest man in Bettyville Park today as it was his first day back in saddle since Tramore on July 25th and he scored a three and a half lengths victory on Peaches and Cream, (17/2) for Meath trainer Gavin Cromwell in the Slaney Beginners Chase.

Moore missed the Galway Festival due to a six- day whip ban, but he was happy to be part of a 113/1 double for Cromwell. The JP McManus owned Walk Me Home (11/1) under Jody McGarvey in the first division of the Bann Maiden Hurdle was the other Cromwell trained winner of the afternoon.

Philip Rothwell, Tinahely, saddled the shock 25/1 winner of the Barrow Handicap Chase when The Broom Square obliged for owners Eric Newnham and Carol Hogan. Adam Shortt was in the saddle.

Champion trainer Willie Mullins always likes a winner in the south east and it came in the Boro Maiden Hurdle when Hybery (13/8 fav) scored by 10 lengths under Paul Townend. The champion jockey made it a quick double in the second race on Twilight Girl, (7/1), a first training winner for Peter Fahey.

Bagenalstown-based John ‘Shark’ Hanlon had a double success when Woodbrook Boy, (3/1 fav.) ridden by Conor Orr, in the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Chase and Ballinboola Steel, (12/1), the mount of Racheal Blackmore, in the second division of the Bann Handicap Hurdle both prevailed.

Racing was run ‘behind closed doors’ as required by the Government’s Covid-19 pandemic guidelines.

The jackpot pool was €141 (not won). Day’s aggregate €98,671. Last year €69,632.

Vandalism strikes at 15th century churchyard

By Dan Walsh

Twelve graves at the 15th century Churchtown graveyard in a reasonably remote location between Tagoat and Rosslare Strand have been smeared with symbols and graffiti in an act of vandalism that has angered the local community.

The ancient 15th century Churchtown graveyard.

The despicable deed involved the distinctive use of green paint in the graveyard that is dominated by the stone-built ruins of a centuries old church and is kept in a clean and respectful condition as a community memorial by Wexford County Council.

Chairman of Wexford County Council, Cllr Ger Carthy condemned the act, adding it was the first time something like this has happened and he asked that those anti-social behaviour tendencies to “stay away from the cemetery or graveyards.”

COMMODORE JOHN BARRY at the Crescent, Wexford

Records relating to Rosslare Churchtown Church of St Mary go back to the 1400’s and it is reputed that the parents of Commodore John Barry, who is immortalised in a bronze statue on Crescent Quay in Wexford town, are buried here, although no stone has been found to date.

This information was discovered by American historian, William Bell Clark, (1889-1968) and is inscribed on a plaque at the graveyard entrance. It reads; “In this Churchyard of Rosslare lies the remains of John and Mary Barry (née Kelly), parents of Commodore John Barry, (1745-1803), Father of the United States Navy.” Barry was born at Ballysampson, a short distance away!

An authority on the history of Rosslare was the late Ibar Murphy, and thanks to support of his son, Brian, whom I met at the churchyard today, I was given access to his personal archived collection of notes.

It was the parish church for Rosslare (St Mary’s Parish.) up to its burning by Cromwell, who also burned the nearby churches of St. Michael, Poulrankin, the church in Ballybrennan and Our Lady’s Island.

A view through the ancient remains of the Churchtown church window

There was a small chapel at the Fort of Rosslare for the dwellers in the Fort village! A small thatched church was built in 1666 in Tagoat to replace it.
The present Pugin church in Tagoat was built in 1846 and that then  became the parish church for Rosslare, Rosslare Harbour,  Kilrane and Tagoat areas.
The parish took the old name of St. Mary which it still has today although Kilrane and Rosslare Harbour is now a separate parish!
Wexford County Council operates and maintains 14 open burial grounds and approximately 135 vested burial grounds throughout the county with an annual budget of €500,000 from Council funds for burial ground maintenance.

Wexford tributes to John Hume

By Dan Walsh

The Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council, Cllr Ger Carthy, this afternoon opened an on-line Book of Condolences to provide opportunity for the public to sympathise with the family of the late John Hume, former SDLP leader and Nobel Laureate.

CLLR GER CARTHY, Chairman Wexford County Council

“John Hume’s contribution to Irish history has been immense and his legacy of bringing peace to the island of Ireland is one that will live long in the memory of people the world over,” said Cllr Carthy, who added; “It is appropriate that Wexford County Council opens this Book of Condolence and in doing so provide a tangible opportunity to the public of County Wexford and further afield to express and record their sympathy.”

In a statement on social media, Mayor Cllr Leonard Kelly states that “to honour this man of peace, as Mayor of Wexford I will be lighting a candle to his memory at 9pm tonight.”

The Book of Condolences is available at this link and will remain open until Friday, 14th August. Members of the public wishing to sign the Book of Condolences can do so at any time by visiting the above link.

€112,500 shared by Wexford towns and villages

By Dan Walsh

106 towns and villages will benefit from €2.8 million in funding with €112,500 being allocated to projects in Wexford under the Town and Villages Renewal Scheme in a package to help communities to shop, socialise and work safely in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Historic FERNS

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, made the announcement today (Bank Holiday Monday).

A cluster of towns and villages in Wexford training and marketing initiative to drive tourism gets €40,000.

New Ross painting of four Norman themed murals on landmark locations around New Ross town centre is granted €25,000.

€25,000 has been made available to promote Gorey’s retail experience through marketing, installation of new street furniture and public realm works and purchase equipment for outdoor events.

€22,500 has been granted for E-commerce website to support the businesses in Bunclody town and Ferns village.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Humphreys said; “It is vitally important that we increase footfall in rural towns and villages by supporting them to adapt to this ‘new normal’ as a result of COVID-19. This funding will benefit communities by altering the streetscapes so that people can shop, work and socialise safely.

“I have increased the funding for the Town and Village Renewal Scheme as part of the €17 million rural package that my Department secured under the July Jobs Stimulus. This means that even more towns and villages will benefit from supports. It is vitally important that we increase footfall in rural towns and villages by supporting them to adapt to this ‘new normal’ as a result of Covid-19.”

“Local Authorities throughout the country have been developing creative and innovative proposals to increase footfall and assist businesses in our rural towns and villages.

This tranche of funding announced today is part of an enhanced €25 million Town and Village Scheme which will continue to rejuvenate rural communities across Ireland.

Further approvals under this hugely popular scheme will follow in a series of funding rounds that will be announced in the coming weeks. I expect that up to 500 towns and villages will be supported this year under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme,” concluded Minister Humphreys.

Council plan to lease Enniscorthy Courthouse

By Dan Walsh

The recently renovated 18th century heritage building, Enniscorthy Courthouse, will be leased by Wexford County Council to Dublin city-based Opus Services for ten years at an annual rent of €59,160. There is provision for adjusted lower rent until the company grows its number of employees.

This information was provided at the recent meeting of Enniscorthy Municipal District Council held under Covid-19 guidelines at Kilcannon Garden Centre by Director of Services, Tony Larkin.

“Opus expects to expand its workforce in the short to medium term and the plan is that they will relocate its larger workforce to a new unit at Enniscorthy Technology Park, “ said Mr Larkin, who added: “The proposal is to bring a section 183 notice to the next Council meeting.” Members in attendance agreed.

Opus Fund Services Ltd was founded in 2006 and is an award-winning independently owned and operated full service global fund administrator.

The company has outgrown its existing rented accommodation at Templeshannon, and the Council identified the Courthouse building as suitable for the company in its growing stage.

HISTORY; Enniscorthy is a detached three-bay two-storey courthouse, built 1820, on a T-shaped plan centred on single-bay (three-bay deep) double-height projecting breakfront with single-bay single-storey flat-roofed projecting porch; five-bay two-storey rear (east) elevation.

Refenestrated in 1998, and closed in 2004, it reopened following a €1 million renovation programme in September 2019 as a temporary home for Council staff while the long-awaited work on the modernisation of Enniscorthy Municipal District Offices in Market Square commenced.

Wednesday Wexford races ‘behind closed doors’

By Dan Walsh

The first race meeting at Bettyville Park since St. Patrick’s Day when proceedings were held ‘behind closed doors’ takes place on Wednesday, which is excellent news, but the bad news is that the Covid-19 government guidelines are still existent, and the stands will have to remain empty.

Jumping the penultimate fence in front of the stands at Bettyville Park.

There is a strong entry of 156 for the six races, which now becomes seven as the Bann Maiden Hurdle has been divided, champion trainer Willie Mullins has a number of entries and could feature amongst the winners, but a number of local trainers are also on the card and in with a shout of winning.

Punters can follow the action live on Racing UK or courtesy of their local bookmaker.

The programme is as follows;

1pm; The Boro Maiden Hurdle of €10,000. About 2 miles. (12 runners).
1.30pm; The Nore Handicap Hurdle of €10,000 (Rated 80-102). About 2 miles, 4 furlongs. (12 runners).
2pm; The Bann Handicap Hurdle (Division One) of €9,000 (Rated 80-95). About 3 miles. (12 runners).

2.30pm; The Bann Handicap Hurdle (Division Two) of €9,000 (Rated 80-95). About 3 miles (12 runners)
3pm; The Slaney Beginners Steeplechase of €11,000. About 2 miles, 4 furlongs, (8 runners).
3.30pm; The Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Steeplechase of €13,000. About 2 miles, 4 furlongs. (8 runners).
4pm; The Barrow Handicap Steeplechase of €11,000 (Rated 0-109). About 2 miles. (9 runners).

Wexford Racecourse fixtures on the revised race calendar for the remainder of 2020 are as follows; August 29th, Saturday afternoon. September 5th, Saturday afternoon. October 25th, Sunday afternoon. October 26th, Monday afternoon.