Another 8 years before M11 traffic reaches Rosslare?

By Dan Walsh at Wexford County Council Meeting

The Oylegate to Rosslare Harbour extension of the M11 was under discussion at the recent Wexford County Council meeting with Cllr Willie Kavanagh, who lives and works in Oylegate, remaking that “it could be another eight years before we see traffic travelling on it.”

CLLR WILLIE KAVANAGH

Cllr Kavanagh also highlighted a scenario that trucks were pulling in on the hard shoulder and staying overnight with no facilities and local concerns are brought to the TII for attention.

Cllr George Lawlor expressed concerns having read that the TII (Transport Infrastructure Ireland) are currently reviewing projects they might not be able to afford nationwide given inflation and rising costs. “I know they have committed to Rosslare Europort access road, but I believe there are major concerns over the road from Oylegate to Rosslare Harbour,” he added.

Eamonn Hore, Wexford County Council’s director of roads stated; “We have no great control over what happens and we will need all our elected members to keep the pressure up” and, he added: “the project is currently at the design and evaluation phase, we have funding to continue and we’ll continue with that.”

On Tuesday, in Dáil Éireann, Deputy Verona Murphy, who attended Monday’s meeting of Wexford County Council, drew the attention of An Taoiseach. Micheál Martin, T.D. to weekend reports in national newspapers concerning a review by the TII (Transport Infrastructure Ireland) of roads infrastructure under Project Ireland 2040 and the National Development Plan.

“One of the roads infrastructure projects that greatly concerns me is the final stretch of the M11 from Oylegate to Rosslare. The Taoiseach knows it is going to the most strategic port in the country and it would complete the eastern corridor from Belfast to Rosslare. Can he assure people that this project will not be long-fingered?

In reply, An Taoiseach told Deputy Murphy “the Government has invested very heavily in Rosslare and will continue to do so. Rosslare is enjoying a significant renaissance in that respect. It is an ill wind that blows nobody good and Brexit has certainly created opportunities for Rosslare. The investment there is positive and we want to maintain that. I accept the point about the M11 and that last phase of the road. There is a national development plan. I will certainly have a look to see what we can do to make sure it progresses.”

Ógra seeks date with Minister Butler

By Dan Walsh

Chairperson of Wexford Ógra Fianna Fáil, Ruairí Ryan has submitted correspondence supported by many county councillors’ seeking a meeting with the Waterford-based Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler T.D.

Minister Butler is invited to visit Co. Wexford to discuss the problems with mental health services with young people and to see the effects the lack of services is having in the Wexford community. 

MINISTER MARY BUTLER

“The pandemic has had a massive effect on many people both young and old’s mental health and wellbeing. Missing out on two years of meeting friends, family and even interacting with people on a regular basis, especially for young people experiencing emotional based anxiety issues, the need for support addressing emotional based anxiety issues is greater than ever. In Co. Wexford we require more mental health support as we leave the pandemic and progress towards normality.”

Anyone wishing to get involved should use the email; wexfordografiannafail@gmail.com. 

Courtown looks to holiday season

By Dan Walsh

As the lucrative holiday season fast approaches pressure is being applied for swift action from Wexford County Council relating to the hoarding in Courtown, which is blocking off one side of the Main Street, allegedly blocking a footpath in breach of EU and UN Disability Laws.

The issue was high on the agenda at the recent public meeting called by Courtown Community Council with public representatives held in Ballycanew Resource Centre, but the issue gained further traction at last Monday’s monthly meeting of Wexford County Council where Cllr Fionntán Ó Súilleabhain called for the matter to be addressed on behalf of the Courtown community. Cllr Ó Súilleabhain described the Bayview site as “an eyesore” and referred to the negative impact it has as Courtown embarks on a new season as the one of the South East’s premier holiday resorts.

Chief Executive Officer, Tom Enright confirmed that the developer has been asked to take down the hoarding and prepare site as temporary carpark pending planning for development.

COURTOWN MAIN STREET looking busy in the night light. (Fil Pic).

At the Courtown Community Committee it was alleged that “the village has been held to ransom for 15 years by one developer. The derelict Bayview site has been there for three years. Vacant site/derelict site fines should be imposed. Can a CPO, compulsory purchase order, be used? CPO the site and then sell it on to a developer who will develop it sympathetic to the character of the village and mindful of community needs.”

It is believed locally that a CPO on the Bayview site is certainly an option for elected representatives to pursue, however, it also believed locally that short term measures are needed immediately. “At least clean up the site, make it safe and draw back the hoarding. The responsibility is on the site owner and the matter should be brought to the attention of Wexford County Council to force the matter, mentioning they have the full support of local representatives,” stated a spokesperson. 

Wexford Garda Youth Awards 2022 launched

By Dan Walsh

An Garda Síochána in Wexford in association with Wexford County Council are delighted to launch the 6th Annual Wexford Garda Youth Awards for 2022.   

The awards acknowledge the achievements of young people who are making a difference in their communities and the endeavours of young people who have faced and overcome challenges in their lives within the Wexford Garda Division.

Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council, Cllr. Barbara-Anne Murphy said; “Wexford County Council is delighted to be associated with this event and is privileged to be able to support this worthwhile community initiative.  The Garda Youth Awards recognise that a lot of great work is being done by many talented and dedicated young people in communities throughout County Wexford.”

CLLR MICHAEL WHELAN welcomes the Garda Youth Awards 2022.

Cllr. Michael Whelan, Chairman of the Joint Policing Committee said; “Wexford County Council enjoys a very close and strong working relationship with An Garda Síochána, especially through the Joint Policing Committee. The Awards are an important opportunity to celebrate our exceptional young people and the contribution they make in their communities.”

In launching this year’s Awards, Inspector Graham Rowley of Wexford Garda Station, remarked; “Once again, I am delighted to launch the Wexford Garda Youth Awards for 2022. Following national representation and success in last year’s awards, it is clear that there is an abundance of amazing young people, making regular, positive contributions to our community.  I would encourage you to take this opportunity to nominate suitable young people, for consideration and recognition in their respective field.  This past year has presented unprecedented challenges for our community, we wish to recognise the sacrifices made by young people, as they contribute to their community, both at a local level, and also in wider areas.”

Awards will be presented in four categories:

Individual Award – Making a positive contribution to their community, making it a better place to live.

Group Award – Group of two or more, making a positive contribution to their community, making it a better place to live.

Special Achievement Award – Overcome difficult circumstances, defied all the odds and whose commitment deserves recognition.

Community Safety Award – Through a crime prevention or safety initiative/innovation, have made their community a safer place to live.

Anyone can nominate a young person between the age of 13 and 21 years for an award. This year, due to Covid 19, nominations will be completed through an online process, which is available through the following link:

https://www.wexfordcoco.ie/community/supports-grants-and-awards/garda-youth-awards

The closing date for nominations is Monday, June 10th. It is anticipated that the awards ceremony will take place in September 2022. The Awards will be organised in adherence with all Government Covid 19 guidelines.

For further information please contact Inspector Graham Rowley at wexford_ds@garda.ie , 053 9165280 or through your local Garda Station. 

Final farewell to Michael Sills in Murrintown

By Dan Walsh

Long time member and President of the London Wexford Association, Michael Sills, Willesden, London, and Kates Cross, will be laid to rest in the family plot in Murrintown Cemetery on Thursday following 10.30am Mass in St. Catherine’s Church. He passed away on Sunday, April 3rd at his home in London.

Born on February 28, 1946, Michael was a native of Murrintown, resided in Willesden, London. Michael travelled to London at the age of 22 and worked in the cosmetic industry. In 1972 Michael married his wife Bridget in St Mary Magadline Church in Willesden, London and had two children Damian and Joanna.

He first joined the London Wexford Association in 1969 taking up the role of Registrar, years later he became Treasurer and then served many years as Chairman to lead the association to great success.

MICHAEL SILLS …funeral in Murrintown on Thursday.

Michael was renowned for being generous with his time and commitments to many Irish organisations throughout his life and never missed an opportunity to foster positive political, sporting and cultural interaction between the Irish community in London and Wexford natives at a time when travel was difficult and communications were slow.

Michael was a modest man and picked up a few awards in his time. In 2009, he was declared ‘Rehab Wexford Person of the Year’ at a black-tie ball held in the Riverside Park Hotel, Enniscorthy. The award was in recognition of his contribution to the work of the London Wexford Association. “The Wexford Association will be really delighted with this,” he humbly responded.

He was a kind and honourable man who lived a life fulfilled and his final dream will be realised when he takes his eternal rest in the soil of his birthplace reunited with his family, neighbours and friends.  

FAMILY NOTICE; MICHAEL SILLS, Willesden, London and Kates Cross, Murrintown. Son of the late Robbie and Dolly. Beloved husband of the late Breda. Father of Damien and Joanna. Brother of Anita, Patrick and the late Victor. Sadly missed by his family, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, daughter-in-law Anna, brother-in-law Chris (Joe), extended family, relatives and friends. R.I.P.

Funeral Mass shall take place at 10.30am on Thursday, May 12th, at St. Catherine’s Church, Murrintown. Burial afterwards in the adjoining cemetery.

Council attempt to ‘gag’ elected members

By Dan Walsh at Wexford County Council Meeting

The ongoing tension between Wexford County Council and the media appears to continue unabated and the issues switched from advertising and broadcast press coverage to a ‘censorship ban’ on the elected members and controlling what they can and can’t say to the followers who voted for them.

Members of Wexford County Council are unwilling to sign up to a draft social media charter for elected members and many strong views of protest were voiced when the matter came before members at yesterday’s (Monday) monthly meeting of Wexford County Council held at Carricklawn County Council Headquarters. Cathaoirleach Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy was in the chair.

WEXFORD COUNTY COUNCIL HEADQUARTERS

The Council had issues on several occasions in the past when elected members have expressed opinions on the workings of the Council and it was felt that “the Council may benefit from more definitive regulation in the practical application of social media.”

It was agreed that the Council’s Protocol Committee put specific guidance in place “to deter members from posting to social media while whilst Council meetings were taking place.”

On October 21 2021 at a further meeting of the Protocol Committee, it was agreed that the Code of Conduct be extended to address the abuse of Wexford County Council and staff and elected members online.

Cllr Jim Codd was quickly into the debate and observed that recently the Council meetings were obsessed with dealings with the media and making national newspaper headlines and now it is about managing social media and there was a call for social media training for members!

Cllr Pat Barden was quick to pick up on the suggestion of social media training for members and he enquired if this training could be undertaken by a professional media group, and he asked if there were any such companies in the county? or by members of the Council and he also wondered where and when is this training likely to take place?

Cllr Ger Carty said he was “not interested in narratives controlled by anybody”, pointed out in no uncertain terms that he is elected by the people and he argued “this cannot continue.”

Cllr Leonard Kelly told the meeting “I have no interest in signing this.”

Cllr Lisa McDonald stated there were very few laws to protect people online and the draft laws: “I wouldn’t sign as it asks us to delete negative comments and is too much to ask of any public representative, especially those with many accounts. She also added as someone who has had a huge amount of online abuse that we have to respect opinions of others even if we disagree as long as they are not overly harmful to us. “Senator Malcolm Byrne’s Bill on online harms has been introduced to the oireachtasliaison and we should await that before going any further.”

Cllr Joe Sullivan was “uncomfortable” and said defamation and other laws were out there to deal with such issues and he added; “I believe this is not the direction the Council should be going.”

Cllr Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin had issues with ‘personal abuse’ online. Cllr Maura Bell via Zoom said she was not for signing.

Cllr Davy Hynes was far from impressed and referred to “a one-way street” approach. “They are warning us about saying certain things,” he stated.

Cllr Willie Kavanagh was determined to refer the text to the Protocol Committee. Cllr John Hegarty agreed and talked about attempts to establish a culture with a ‘tweek and change’ approach. Cllr Pip Breen saw a “need for the charter”, Cllr Michael Whelan wanted ‘the bits that suits’ left in; and Cllr Pat Barden kept asking about the details for the training course.

Communications Officer David Minogue said the findings of the Protocol Committee were about “respect for the public, the members and the staff”.

Apparently, the matter is parked for now, however, it appears that no other Council in the land has gone down this route and the catalyst for the debate is the Oneline Bullying Bill which could be light years away!

No vote was taken and it was clear that the Government party members (Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael) were bouncing a ball that is being bounced in a bigger court with another agenda in Government Buildings.

Ballindaggin Boil Water Notice is lifted…after 12 weeks!

By Dan Walsh

Following consultation with the Health Service Executive, Irish Water and Wexford County Council the boil water notice issued on the Ballindaggin Public Water Supply Scheme on March 9th last has been lifted with immediate effect.

Customers have been notified following the completion of remedial works on this supply and receipt of satisfactory monitoring results, the boil water notice which has been in place is now lifted with immediate effect. This decision follows consultation undertaken with the Health Service Executive.

Speaking about the lifting notice, Irish Water’s Pat Duggan said; “We would like to thank the community of Ballindaggin for their patience and co-operation as we worked to lift the notice as soon as it was safe to do so. All consumers on the Ballindaggin Public Water Supply Scheme can now resume normal use of the water supply for drinking, food preparation and brushing teeth.”

Irish Water and the Wexford County Council – Health Service Executive, Water Local Liaison Group will continue to meet and review ongoing process control, monitoring and testing of the drinking water supply.

The Irish Water Customer Contact Centre (1800 278 278) is available to answer customer queries in relation to the lifting of this notice. Further information is available on the website at www.water.ie

Wexford winners keep rolling along

By Dan Walsh

Champions Barry O’Neill and Colin Bowe maintained their winning partnership at today’s point-to-point races at Bartlemy, Co. Cork when Thomas Mor, running in the colours of Mary Fitzpatrick, came home four lengths to the good in the maiden race for five-year-old geldings.

BARRY O’NEILL and COLIN BOWE discussing another victory.

Mark Scallan is having a great season as a handler and his charge Bonnie Derreen, owned by David Byrne, came good in the second division of the maiden race for mares, aged five years or older, by two lengths. This was another fine success for rider Tiernan Power Roche from Tomhaggard who had ‘a big race’ winner in the La Touche Cup at the Punchestown Festival recently.

Bertie Finn, (18), from Monageer rode his fourth winner when Mangan Sue obliged in a close finish – a neck – for Courtown owner/handler Pat Doyle in the Mares Winner of One race.      

A double up North yesterday and victory in the first race at Bartlemy today (Sunday) brings the Killanne rider Rob James onto the 270-career winner mark. He was aboard Doh Betty for John ‘Shark’ Hanlon in the maiden race for four-year-old mares and won by two and a half lengths.

Rob James on the double

By Dan Walsh

The final fixture of the 2021-22 Northern Ireland point-to-point season took place at Broughshane in Antrim yesterday (Saturday) and Wexford rider Rob James made the road trip worthwhile with two winners bringing his seasonal total to 24 weeks with only a handful of fixtures before the season ends.

ROB JAMES… a double yesterday.

James was aboard Some Man for David Christie in the Open Race and the distance was two and a half lengths. In the final race, for geldings aged six and over, James scored by two lengths on Royal Juniper by two lengths. The Killanne rider will be runner-up to Barry O’Neill in the National Point-to-Point Riders’ Championship having enjoyed a great season with the Scottish Grand National in April being the highlight.

Matthew Flynn O’Connor who trains at Ballycrystal, Kiltealy, had his seventh success of the season, his best in five years of training, when A Man Of Her Own won the mares maiden race (five years and over) for rider Brian Lawless.

The northern region riders’ championship title was won by Barry O’Neill with 17 winners for the season.

Kilrush at Carnew and Athlone next week

By Dan Walsh

Kilrush Drama Group’s production of Class by Iseult Golden and David Horan and directed by Pat Whelan and featuring Michael Dunbar, Catherine Stafford and James Whelan will be performed in the RTÉ All—Ireland Open Drama Finals on Wednesday May 11th in the Dean Crowe Theatre in Athlone.

Following last week’s performance in the National Opera House in Wexford there will be two performances in St. Bridget’s Hall Carnew on the Sunday and Monday, May 8th and 9th.

Michael Dunbar, Catherine Stafford and James Whelan in Class heading for the RTÉ All-Ireland drama finals in Athlone next week.

THE TEAM; Pat Whelan (Director) spent a number of years acting and like many amateur participants gave a contribution to lighting, set design, sound and general dogsbody. When he got the opportunity to direct in 2005 it became his passion. Pat treasures the National awards he won, including awards for Best Lighting at the All-Ireland Confined Finals in 2009, Best Director at the RTE All-Ireland Finals in Athlone 2013, Best Director again in the All-Ireland Finals of 2016 and for the design of the Best Set for ‘Lost in Yonkers’, also in the 2016 Finals.

Michael Dunbar started his acting career with Enniscorthy Theatre Group and was part of the group when they won the Open All Ireland finals in 1996 with ‘Boor Beast in the Rain, with Moonshine in 1997 and with the Cripple of Inishmaan 1999. The group were British All Winners in the Drama finals from 1997 to 1999. 

Michael has directed many of Carnew Musical Society’s musicals since 1996 and is a long-time member of Kilrush Drama Group, Michael won Best Actor award for his role in KDG’s Steward of Christendom in the Open Drama All Ireland in 2019.

Catherine Stafford played many roles with Kilrush Drama Group, including the role of Rita Shanahan in The Salvage Shop in 2020,she also played the the role of Valerie in the Weir. Catherine has been a long-time member of Carnew Musical Society and won an AIMS Best Supporting Actress Award for her role as Katy Brown in Carnew Musical Society’s production of Calamity Jane. 

James Whelan is a schoolteacher by day, who caught the acting bug while in Australia, after a chance encounter led him to working as an extra on a couple of films and TV shows, including Home & Away. On his return to Ireland James trained at the Bow Street Academy in Dublin. He is currently studying with voice and acting coach Helena Walsh and hopes to pursue a career in acting. 

Kilrush Drama Group sent best wishes to both Kilmuckridge (All-Ireland winners) and Camross Drama Groups participating in the Confined All-Ireland Drama Finals in Ballyshannon recently.

Near neighbours Bunclody/Kilmyshal Drama group who have also qualified for the Open All-Ireland Drama Finals in Athlone and take to the stage tomorrow night (May 7th).