Controversial Courtown ‘land swap’ on Council agenda

Boats in the bay like ships in the night at Courtown Harbour marina (File Pic; WexfordLocal.com)

By Dan Walsh

Tensions are rising in Courtown where details are emerging that a proposed “land swap” between the site of the old sea-front Bayview Hotel and the much more spacious Wexford County Council carpark is likely to be on the agenda at the March meeting of Wexford County Council for a vote of the full Council members to make a decision that would be a game changer for the future of Courtown as a top seaside destination.

Local businessman Thomas O’Loughlin. who owns the site of the old Bayview Hotel has outlined his plans to apply for planning permission for a 144-room hotel in Courtown. It has been suggested that this hotel would be constructed on the site of the Wexford County Council car park if a proposal for a land swap between the old Bayview Hotel site and the car park is approved and subject to planning permission being granted.

The proposal for the swap falls to a Section 183 decision and needs to go on the Council agenda and be voted on by the members of Wexford County Council before any decision is made.

Meanwhile, Courtown Community Council is calling on Oireachtas and public representatives to postpone a vote on the matter to the April meeting after the launch of the Smart Village Plan. In a statement issued today, the Courtown group said; “The important conversation about the future development of a new hotel in Courtown is one that all of us who live, work and enjoy the area should have the opportunity to have our views heard on.”

Courtown Community Council has been gathering the views from the community since October for the Smart Village Plan. One key area of the Smart Village Plan is the future development of Courtown and Riverchapel. “We will be launching the Smart Village Plan on March 13th and we notified Wexford County Council and the local elected representatives of this launch earlier this month.

“Unfortunately, the timing has now become an issue as it appears the CEO of Wexford County Council, (Mr Tom Enright), has stated the decision on this land swap or leasing will go to the councillors in a meeting in either March or April. “If this takes place in the March meeting, it will be in advance of the launch of the Smart Village Plan,” claims the Community Council, who added; “We have contacted all the local representatives to ask them to postpone a vote on this matter to the April meeting after the launch of the Smart Village Plan. This is such an important decision; it should be given the consideration it is due. You can contact our local representatives to let them know if you feel the vote should be postponed too.”

Meanwhile, the design for a hotel at Courtown has won a silver medal in one of the world’s most prestigious design competitions.

Fergus Flanagan Architects based in Wexford town has been given a Silver Winner Award in the category of Hospitality Architecture Concept in the ADC Annual Design Awards based in New York.

Leakage repairs soon at Ballysilla and Lacken

By Dan Walsh

Uisce Éireann, working in partnership with Wexford County Council, is replacing almost 2km of aged water mains with new modern pipes in the areas of Ballysilla and Lacken. The project, which will commence this week, is part of the National Leakage Reduction Programme.

The works are a critical step in conserving this precious resource and reducing high levels of leakage which have been a significant source of disruption and interruptions for customers.  

This project will also increase pipe flow capacity and maintain supply during peak demand periods for properties along the Airfield Road, in Ballybogan Upper and Mullinagower.

The works will also involve laying new water service connections from the public water main in the road to customers’ property boundaries and connecting it to the customers’ water supply.

Irish Water works,. Picture Clare Keogh

Outlining the benefits the water mains replacement project will bring, Joe Carroll, Regional Delivery Lead at Uisce Éireann, explained to WexfordLocal.com; “Old and damaged water mains are a huge source of leakage and continue to impact communities right across Ireland, causing low pressure and supply disruption. Replacing these old water mains in poor condition will eliminate existing leaks and significantly reduce the amount of clean drinking water lost into the ground.”

Mr. Carroll added; “I would like to thank the local community in advance for their patience and co-operation during the works, we know based on previous experiences that the short-term inconvenience will be overshadowed by the long-term benefits.

“Where water mains are being constructed traffic management will be in place during this time. Local and emergency traffic will be always maintained,” he concluded.

These works are being carried out by Shareridge Civil Engineering in partnership with Wexford County Council on behalf of Uisce Éireann and are due to be completed by the end of March. 

Uisce Eireann’s care helpline is open 24/7 on 1800 278 278 and customers can also make contact on Twitter @IWCare with any queries. For updates please visit the Water Supply Updates section of the Uisce Éireann website or set your location on the website www.water.ie

Wexford Mum launches new nappy business

Kate Doyle and her daughter Ava mark the launch of The Nappy Market @thenappymarket

By Dan Walsh

Work at home mum Kate Doyle from Enniscorthy opened The Nappy Market online last December to give Irish parents a choice when it comes to buying nappies.

One million disposable nappies go into landfill in Ireland every day and they take 500 years to break down and Kate hopes making reusable modern cloth nappies more accessible will help reduce the waste.  

“Cloth nappies have moved on considerably from nappy pins and soaking terry towels of the past. The modern cloth nappies available today are easy to use, easy to clean and are an economical choice for families offering a saving over disposables,” claims Kate, who added; “They close with Velcro or snaps and can be washed in a regular washing machine just like clothes. They are as easy to use as disposables. The same nappy will fit a child from birth through to potty training, and can then be reused on a 2nd or 3rd child – significantly cutting down on the waste generated and savings families €1000’s.” 

Statistics tell us that one child will easily need 5,000 disposable nappies between birth and potty-training costing anywhere between €1,000 – €1,500. In comparison a set of cloth nappies would be cost anywhere between €350 – €550 and can be reused on subsequent children.

The Nappy Market was developed from first-hand experience – Kate has been using reusable cloth nappies with her own daughter since she was born in April. 

“As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I did what every expectant parent does – I googled and researched every aspect of what I needed to buy. The best pram, the safest car seat. I did all the antenatal classes, breastfeeding classes – and not once during all that research did I find anything suggesting I might try cloth nappies with my baby rather than disposable. I saw some for sale second-hand on Facebook under the baby category and that’s how I started,” Kate told WexfordLocal.com 

She continued; “I couldn’t believe how easy cloth nappies were to use, and I just didn’t understand how this wasn’t more widely publicised or available. So, I decided someone has to make a start and give parents an easier way to buy nappies along with lots of content and support to using them – that’s why I set up The Nappy Market. The only way to tackle the growing mountain of waste is to offer people an alternative and to lead by example. It took me 3 months to build the website, I did most of it from my phone with one hand while breastfeeding!

“Real nappies are not that common in Ireland, there are a lot of UK retailers but since Brexit sourcing nappies from the UK has become an unfeasible option,” she concluded. 

50,000 babies are born in Ireland every year and they will need nappies for the first two and half years of their life – sometimes longer. There are approximately 150,000 babies using 6-8 nappies in Ireland a day, when you start to work out the maths, the figures are staggering. 

“If you are due a baby in 2023, consider putting modern cloth nappies on your baby budget and visit The Nappy Market that stocks a huge range of reusable nappies, wipes and accessories from over 50 brands offering an option for every budget. Supporting videos and guidance available daily on The Nappy Markets Instagram page. Gift vouchers are also available for those who want to give a green present.  

For further details contact Kate Doyle on 089 2052171 / info@thenappymarket.ie

Gorey water upgrade to benefit 7,000

By Dan Walsh

Uisce Eireann, working in partnership with Wexford County Council has officially announced an upgrade at the Creagh Water Treatment Plant at Gorey that will benefit over 7,000 customers. The works will commence in February.

Uisce Éireann states that “Once completed, the upgrade will provide improved water quality for the community and safeguard the water supply for generations to come. 

The completed upgrade will modernise and improve the water treatment process at the plant, ensuring raw water is treated to the highest of water quality standards as required by the European Union Council Directive.

The project will also benefit over 7,000 customers, ensuring the continued delivery of clean, safe drinking water to the town.

Speaking about the project today, Infrastructure Delivery Project Manager for Uisce Éireann, Hugh Kennedy told WexfordLocal.com; “Uisce Éireann is delighted to be investing in this significant and essential project for the people of Gorey. This important upgrade is needed to ensure continued compliance with drinking water regulations and reduce the risk of water quality issues in the future.”

He added, “The upgrade works carried out as part of this project will also ensure the continued delivery of safe, clean drinking water to residents and businesses in Gorey and the surrounding area. We look forward to working with the local community as we continue to invest in the town’s future.”

As part of the upgrade at the Creagh Water Treatment Plant, Uisce Éireann will install an UltraViolet (UV) device as the primary disinfection system, provide additional treatment capacity, upgrade the chlorination system and warning systems to futureproof protection at the plant. The central controls and automation systems will also be upgraded.

The works will be carried out by EPS Limited on behalf of Uisce Éireann and are expected to be completed by early 2024. We will continue to provide updates as the project progresses.

An update on Enniscorthy water services

A tranquil summer scene of the River Slaney in tidal mode at Enniscorthy Bridge (Pic; File at WexfordLocal.com)

By Dan Walsh at Enniscorthy Municipal District Council meeting

Senior Executive Engineer with responsibility for water services in Enniscorthy town and district, Tadhg O’Corcora, presented his final Water Report at the January meeting of Enniscorthy Municipal District Council as he retires after 40 years of local authority service, the last 30 years with Wexford County Council including the last eight years based in Enniscorthy.

Always thorough in his reports and willing to listen to problems and follow up with practical action, Mr O’Corcora leaves Enniscorthy with the water services around Enniscorthy in a progressive and healthy quality and here are excerpts from his last report to members.

“In early June 2022 the Wexford County Council’s Direct Labour Crew commenced construction works for 2.3km of watermain replacement on Phase 2 of Old Dublin Road. The works were substantially completed in October 2022, and they are a few water meters remaining to be installed. These meters and general cleaning up will be completed in the next few weeks.

“Shareridge on behalf of Wexford County Council/Irish Water have prepared the following back yard services alterations plans to reduce leakages in the Enniscorthy watermains network. Shareridge have completed the Back Yard Services works in St. John’s Villas, Pearse Road and Redmond Street with works ongoing in Ross Road since August 2022 and Drumgoold since September 2022. Property owner agreement to carry out the individual connection works has been forthcoming in the majority cases and Shareridge are endeavouring to sign all property owners to enable completion of this vital water conservation works.

“Design of back yard service works for Parnell Avenue, Vinegar Hill Villas, Fr Cullen Terrace and UDC Range at the Shannon are currently being prepared.

“David Walsh Construction will be replacing ball valve hydrant in Friary Hill, Patrick’s Street, Lower Church Street, Irish Street x 2 and outside St Sennan Church in Templeshannon.

“The Find and Fix team have been working in Enniscorthy, Kiltealy, Castledockrell, Bree and Bunclody to carry out enabling works for repair of water mains.

“Irish Water (IW) is examining the increase in treatment capacity of Vinegar Hill Water Treatment Plant. Consultants Nicholas O’Dwyer’s have been appointed to carry out Phase 1A Capital design on a new permanent water supply Intake for Clonhasten to increase by 100% the water abstraction from the River Slaney, Planning permission has been granted for this development with a limit to water abstraction rate of 4,500 cubic meters per day which is an increase of 25% approximately on current abstraction volumes.

A notice of the Planning Authorities decision to grant was issued on 21st December 2022 with four conditions, including site investigation for 1.8km length Rising Main from Clonhasten to Vinegar Hill has been completed.

Irish Water are currently examining if it is feasible to increase yields from both Edermine and Killagoley Groundwater sources with a view to supplementing the existing Enniscorthy Town supply. Work on the provision of 3 no. trial well in Edermine will commence later in January 2023.

Locals dominate at Ballycrystal races

Darragh Brennan, his son James Brennan, rider James Kenny and handler Liam Kenny celebrating in the winners’ enclosure following Gray Rock’s victory in the Winners of Two race at Ballycrystal this afternoon.

By Dan Walsh at Ballycrystal

The going was testing at the Ballinagore Harriers point-to-point races held at Ballycrystal this afternoon, but local stables fared well and there was a good-sized attendance in light rain conditions.

First up was the maiden race for five-year-old mares and “a head” separated Von Hallers for the Monbeg Farm Racing Syndicate and handler Cormac Doyle with Jack Hendrick in the saddle and the Denis Murphy handled Caught A Vibe ridden by Simon Cavanagh after a good gallop in soft conditions.

It was the first runner and first victory of the year for Cormac Doyle, who has 40 horses riding out, and was enjoying his 40th career victory as a handler, and Von Hollers will be heading for the sales ring.

Rob James mount Orinoco Flow for the Gordon Elliott stable fell three from the finish in the first race, but the combination was compensated in the second race – the maiden race for five-year-old geldings – by the dozen lengths success of Wingmen. Elliott’s representative Simon McGonigle said afterwards that Wingmen will now go to the sales.

Rob James, who lives close to the Kiltealy track, had a second success on the day aboard Great Pepper for handler Donnchadh Doyle in the concluding maiden race for five-year-olds and upwards confined. Doyle said afterwards that the plan is to go for a ‘winners’ race in a couple of weeks’ time. James is now on the 20-winner mark for the current season.

The Winners of Two race only attracted four runners, but we saw an impressive winner in Gray Rock for the Kenny family from Craanford; owner, Noreen, handler Liam, and rider James. It was a close finish – only three quarters of a length in it – with Denis Murphy’s Garcon Dargent and Jack Hendrick getting closest in the runner-up frame.

William Murphy from Ballycurragh Stud, just across the Wexford-Carlow border at Rathoe, enjoyed a double success. First up was Miss Drussell ridden by Pa King in the maiden race for six-year-olds and upwards mares by an easy twenty lengths.

Half an hour later and the aptly named Pour Me A Double gave Murphy the double with his wife, Moira McElligott in the saddle and bringing her within one winner of losing her riding allowance. A veterinary surgeon who represented Ireland in the European Boxing Championships McElligott is currently on the 20-career winner mark. This was the maiden race for six-year-olds and upwards geldings and the verdict was two and a half lengths.

In other point-to-point news popular rider Harley Dunne will be out of action for a number of weeks due to a shoulder injury sustained in a fall at Turtulla, Clonmel, on Sunday week.

Wexford GAA history under the lights

WEXFORD AND KILKENNY IN HURLING ACTION AT CHADWICK’S WEXFORD PARK UNDER LIGHTS (Pic; Official Wexford GAA).

By Dan Walsh

History was made at Chadwicks Wexford Park yesterday (Saturday) with the first ever hurling match held under floodlights and the festive occasion was even more special for the almost 13,000 in attendance as Wexford defeated Kilkenny, 1-25 to 2-18, in a Walsh Cup tie.

It cost slightly less than €1 million to erect the floodlights, a massive achievement by Wexford GAA County Board and other stakeholders, a welcome development that will enhance the stadium and make it a more attractive venue to host more inter-county games.

Last night’s ceremony was a ticket sell-out, the anticipation of a special occasion was palpable, fireworks lit up the town, Cllr. George Lawlor, Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council put his lungs to the maximum as be belted out Cuchulain’s Song, Mick D’Arcy from Corner Boy sang Amhrán na bhFiann, and with the flick of a switch and a cheerful round of applause Wexford Park was illuminated like never before.

The game itself had a 6 o’clock throw-in. Conor McDonald wrote himself into the history books – the first point under lights in Wexford Park. Ther was only a point between the teams at half-time. A goal in injury time from Richie Lawlor sealed a Wexford victory and Conor Hearne added a point.

WEXFORD 1-25 KILKENNY 2-18 the final score.

WEXFORD: James Lawlor; Shane Reck, Liam Ryan, Conor Devitt; Simon Donohoe, Damien Reck (0-01), Ian Carty (0-01); Diarmuid O’Keeffe (0-02), Richie Lawlor (1-01); Mikie Dwyer (0-01), Conor Hearne (0-03), Charlie McGuckin (0-01); Oisín Pepper (0-02), Conor McDonald (0-05), Lee Chin (0-03, 0-01 free, 0-01 ’65). Subs: Ross Banville (0-3fs) for Chin (ht), Conor Foley for Donohoe (44), Kevin Foley for Dwyer (49), Corey Byrne-Dunbar (0-01) for Pepper (49), Conall Clancy (0-01) for O’Keeffe (54), David Clarke for Carty (69), Kyle Scallan for Damien Reck (72).

KILKENNY: Aidan Tallis; Mikey Butler, Evan Cody, Niall Rowe; David Blanchfield, Pádraic Moylan, Pádraig Walsh; Paddy Deegan (0-02), Shane Murphy (0-01); Paul Cody (0-02), Cian Kenny (0-02), Tom Phelan (1-03); Gearóid Dunne, John Donnelly (0-01), Niall Brassil (0-05, 0-05fs). Subs: Cillian Buckley for Blanchfield (41), Cillian Doyle for Murphy (43), Shane Walsh (0-01, 0-01f) for Dunne (49), Niall Brennan for Kenny (52), Des Dunne for Moylan (54), Ian Byrne (0-1) for Phelan (58), Billy Sheehan (1-0) for Brassil (59), Colum Prendiville for P. Cody (66), Niall Mullins for Donnelly (68).

Referee: Seán Stack (Dublin).

All roads to Ballycrystal on Sunday

By Dan Walsh

Only one point-to-point fixture this weekend and it is the Ballinagore Harriers meeting at Ballycrystal, just outside Kiltealy with Mount Leinster and the Blackstairs as the perfect backdrop, tomorrow (Sunday).

Point-to-point at picturesque Ballycrystal tomorrow (Sunday).

Sixty-eight entries for six races, saturated with runners from local stables, and the first race is off at 12.30pm.

The going will be heavy. The official going is forecast as “yielding, yielding to soft, soft at the bottom end of the track.”

The weather forecast for the area on Sunday. Light rain and maximum temperatures 10 degrees Celsius. Competitive racing is anticipated, and the organisers would appreciate a strong attendance.

Traffic restrictions around Wexford Park

Wexford Garda Division have announced traffic restrictions around Wexford Park tomorrow (Saturday) where a crowd in the region of 12,500 will gather for ceremonies linked to the switch-on of the new floodlights and the Walsh Cup hurling game at 6pm featuring Wexford and Kilkenny.

The pikeman in Wexford’s Bullring. (File Pic; WexfordLocal.com)

Gardaí say that traffic restrictions will be in place around Wexford Park from 3pm to 8.30pm and anyone attending the event should note the following;

Road closures will be in place for the event so avoid the area if possible.

Car Parking available at the four matchday car parks. Visit Official Wexford GAA for more information.

Do not park on footpaths, public green spaces or in front of resident’s access. Vehicles causing serious obstruction for wheelchair users, pedestrians, residents, cyclists or other road users will be towed.

Large crowd expected so plan your journey and allow time for traffic and parking. Congestion is inevitable so be patient.

Respect residents and public property.

Roof blows off at Vinegar Hill toilet

Part of the roof has blown away in the new visitor toilet unit at Vinegar Hill.

By Dan Walsh at Vinegar Hill

The controversial new visitor toilet unit at Vinegar Hill is making the local headlines again! It has been closed on health and safety grounds after part of the roof was blown away recently.

The news was shared with the members at last Monday’s meeting of Enniscorthy Municipal District Council when disclosed to members by District Manager, Ger Mackey.

The provision of a toilet on Vinegar Hill was the brainchild of Cllr Jackser Owens who campaigned vigorously for the facility to assist elderly visitors to the famous 1798, battlefield site landmark overlooking Enniscorthy and visible from across the county.

The Council was slow to grant the facility with arguments against the proposal siting too few visitors, the requirement for full-time staff to maintain hygiene standards, and, of course, the cost!

The unit was identified for a defined site, but local objections meant it ended up on a different site, it was a modern construction costing in the region of €10,000 and it was opened to the public in August.

It was “the butt of a joke” soon after when a prankster placed a lock on the door and not even the workers could gain access. However, the matter was quickly resolved, and normal service resumed.

Recently, it was discovered that part of the roof had blown off and was located some distance away in the bushes. No witnesses or no accuracy as to when it happened, and the Council had no choice but to lock it up as “a matter of health and safety.”

The Vinegar Hill toilet saga is legendary in Enniscorthy town, but this appears to be the last straw. Like plans for the cable car from the Turret Rocks to Enniscorthy Castle it is likely that it will be consigned to the “tried that and it didn’t work” category.

Meanwhile, this year is the 225th anniversary of the 1798 Rebellion and commemoration plans are taking place for some special occasions – especially on June 21st next – and the County Heritage Officer has been invited to the February meeting of the Council to discuss future tourism plans for Vinegar Hill.