Is Gorey facing a housing crisis?

By Dan Walsh at Gorey-Kilmuckridge meeting

The end of March moratorium on evictions, the need to prioritise affordable housing and delayed starting dates for proposed housing projects in the North Wexford and Gorey area may present “massive problems”, according to concerned members discussing housing at today’s meeting of Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District Council held in the Council Chamber in the Civic Buildings.

CLLR JOE SULLIVAN

Cllr Joe Sullivan opened the debate with an observation of something that is coming down the tracks, namely “The 31st of March when there will be a deluge of people coming out of homes because of the moratorium on evictions when they will be coming into the market again to try and get properties.

“We as the County Council must work as hard as we can for any properties that we can get to occupiable state of building or renovation, have them ready by March 31st so that we can put social housing tenants into them and free up properties that are being currently rented by people on social housing lists,” stated Cllr Sullivan, who added “we are going to run into massive, massive problems on the 31st of March.”

Commenting on the housing report, Cllr Sullivan said he was “somewhat dismayed to read that of 20 houses in Ramsfort we are tendering for Q4 of 2023; what that says to me we will not be turning a key a door until very late ’24 or early ’25; I was told at a meeting that Wexford Street would be starting in January  2023 – we have two weeks to go in January 2023 – I am not so sure that will get started. Can we do what we can to move those projects on?”

Cllr Andrew Bolger fully agreed with Cllr Sullivan’s comments, but said he was “alarmed” to find in the report that the Ramsfort site is down for Q4 as it was “my understanding that the tendering was for this year and for construction to start in March 2024?”

Ms. Helen Frayne from the Housing Department at Wexford County Council referred to “tendering documents of a framework of suitable contractors” for the Ramsfort site, it is hoped to have the tendering process towards the end of 2023.”

Cllr Sullivan was uneasy at the reply. He queried “What has gone on with the Ramsfort site since last July? The site was cleaned, some grass and brambles cut, that’s all. Six months has gone by and nothing has happened. It’s not good enough”.

Cllr Anthony Donohoe questioned how it took until Q4 2023 for the Ramsfort site to get to the tender stage? He referred to the situation in the neighbouring county of Wicklow where it appears that hundreds of houses are being provided!

Cllr Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin referred to the Minister’s 30% rule, he felt that 20 houses had been ringfenced for local applicants, but now appears there are only six houses. Cllr Ó Súileabháin had brought the matter before Wexford County Council last week and the CEO confirmed that the Wexford members had signed up to the Minister’s 70-30 rule.

In reply, Ms. Frayne told the meeting that the 70-30 rule was adopted in line with Ministerial request and the CEO’s commitment is under review. She pointed out that “the 70% doesn’t rule out ‘locals’ but indicates that “it can’t state that they will get priority.”

Director of Services, Ms. Liz Hore favoured 100% support for local people. “We will be doing everything we can to review the 70-30 rule,” she stated.

CLLR ANTHONY DONOHOE

Cllr Diarmuid Devereux asked about “confined to local applicants” and asked for a definition. “We need to be really careful here,” he stated. However, Ms. Hore outlined that “we have ways of defining local needs in the planning process.”

Cllr Oliver Walsh had a question about the 16 new houses in Blackwater village and a lack of consultation with the local school and the number of extra places required, but Ms. Hore pointed out that schools are not a matter for Wexford County Council but the Department of Education.

Cllr Willie Kavanagh asked if the Council had any plans to acquire properties for housing in the areas of Glenbrien, Oylegate and The Ballagh? Expressions of interest from property owners would be explored!

Quote of the Day; “We need houses. We don’t need castles,” quipped Cllr Donohoe.

Ordination in Wexford 

The Reverend Ciarán Kavanagh with his wife, Berna Rackard, daughter Elizabeth and son Dave at his Ordination in St. Iberius Church, Wexford.

The Reverend Ciarán Kavanagh was ordained a priest for the Church of Ireland’s Ordained Local Ministry (OLM) in St Iberius Church, Wexford by The Right Reverend Adrian Wilkinson, Bishop of Cashel, Ferns & Ossory on Sunday, January 8th.

A Diocesan Reader since 2005 Ciarán is the fifth trainee of the new Church of Ireland Ordained Local Ministry (OLM) training course to be ordained priest in this diocese.

Bishop Adrian Wilkinson, leading the service on the day of the Baptism of our Lord, said it was a wonderful privilege and pleasure to be there on a day of joy and celebration as Ciarán is ordained priest in the Church of God.

The preacher at the service, Canon Nicola Halford, Rector of Enniscorthy & Monart Union of Parishes, also spoke of how this was a real day of celebration for Wexford and Kilscoran Union.

“Ciaran already knows and loves you,” she told the congregation. “And you already know and love him. He already knows how to find all nine of your churches. He knows how this community works, how you like to celebrate your joys, how you support each other in sorrow. He already understands the parochial context of ministry in Wexford.He is one of you!”

She wished him a long and fruitful ministry in Wexford where, as an Ordained Local Minister, he will work alongside the Rector, The Reverend Norman McCausland, as part of the ministry team.

Ciarán, a former Irish Army commandant and retired primary school principal, was presented for ordination by his sponsors, his daughter Elizabeth, his son David, his sisters Maeve Dunne and Paula Creeber. His wife, Berna Rackard, sang in the choir.

Lessons were read by Francoise Davison, Victoria Hawkins and The Reverend Ger James (Carlow). The organist was Dr Jeffrey Cox.

Sam says ‘goodbye’ to the RNLI

By Dan Walsh

Sam Kennedy has stepped down as Lifeboat Operations Manager with Courtown RNLI after 37 years of dedicated service and friends and colleagues recently gathered in the lifeboat station to record their appreciation.

SAM KENNEDY

Sam became a search and rescue volunteer in the mid-1980s with the Courtown Inshore Rescue crew and continued as an RNLI member when it was established at Courtown Harbour in 1990.

He became Honorary Secretary in 2003 and continued as Lifeboat Operations Manager for 20 years until his recent well-deserved retirement.

Sam Kennedy’s replacement as Lifeboat Operations Manager with Courtown RNLI is Mark Chambers and everyone is wishing him well in his promotional role.

Changes at Enniscorthy Council

Pictured today at a meeting of Enniscorthy Municipal District Council held in the Presentation Centre were Cllr Jackser Owens, Ger Mackey, District Manager, Cllr Aidan Browne, Cathaoirleach, Cllr Cathal Byrne, Tadhg O’Corcora, Executive Engineer) and Cllr Kathleen Codd-Nolan.

By Dan Walsh at Enniscorthy District Council Meeting

Tributes were paid to District Manager Ger Mackey and Executive Engineer Tadhg O’Corcora, both of whom attended their last meeting of Enniscorthy Municipal District Council held in the Presentation Centre today.

Mr Mackey moves to the Housing Department of Wexford County Council while Mr O’Corcora retires after 40 years’ service to local authorities, 30 years in Wexford and the last eight years in Enniscorthy where he oversaw water services.   

Mr Mackey will be replaced as District Manager by Ms. Claire Lawless with effect from January 23rd, while Mr O’Corcora’s replacement has yet to be announced.

Cathaoirleach Cllr Aidan Browne said “Enniscorthy’s loss is housing’s gain and Mr. Mackey will be a big loss as town manager. He has some good projects up and running and I wish him the best and welcome Claire (Lawless) with all her experience from Arklow.”

Cllr Cathal Byrne thanked Mr Mackey for the projects he brought to Enniscorthy. “Your contribution is very much appreciated,” and he wished him well in housing.

Cllr Jackser Owens recalled the “great banter” he had with Mr. Mackey but declared “your work was serious. I wish you the best of luck. You did a great job for this town and I wish you well in housing.” 

Cllr John O’Rourke described Mr. Mackey as “a mild-mannered gentleman who has been in many different positions. Now you are in housing which is an important position.”

Cllr Kathleen Codd-Nolan has known Mr Mackey for many years. “You are a great community person and able to communicate well. Thanks for all your good work for Enniscorthy town and district and I wish you all the best in housing.”

Mr Mackey thanked the members for their kind words. “I enjoyed my time here. I think Enniscorthy is a great town. Enniscorthy should believe in itself and solve problems ourselves,” said Mr Mackey, who added; “I would like to wish Claire (Lawless) all the best in her new position.”

Cathaoirleach Cllr Aidan Browne led the tributes to Mr. O’Corcora whom he has known since election to the Council three and a half years ago. “No problem was too big or too small and I hope you will be replaced fairly quick and enjoy your retirement,” he said.

Cllr Jackser Owens wished Mr O’Corcora “the best of luck” while Cllr Kathleen Codd-Nolan credited him with doing “a lot of good work for Enniscorthy town and district.”

Congratulations on your retirement commented Cllr Cathal Byrne. “You (Mr O’Corcora) were straight forward to deal with. Always returned calls. And I wish you a happy and healthy retirement.”

“You got on with your work diligently. Enjoy your retirement,” stated Cllr John O’Rourke.

Mr O’Corcora acknowledged all the good wishes and said he enjoyed his eight years in Enniscorthy. “We got on as a team. I enjoyed it. It was a great experience and we achieved critical improvements.”

Tributes to music and history legend Liam Gaul

By Dan Walsh

Numerous tributes have marked, the sudden death of accordionist, composer, literary figure, broadcaster, historian and gentleman, to name but a selection, but not all, of the multi-talented and highly respected Wexfordian, Liam Gaul.

LIAM GAUL, December 2021 (Pic; WexfordLocal.com)

Wexford Male Voice Choir have paid tribute. “Liam could always be called upon to recount stories of places the choir had performed and people that had passed through the ranks. We were proud to make a presentation to him in 2016 in the Choir Hall for his many years of service. All of Wexford Male Voice Choir mourn his passing and he will be remembered fondly as a great musician, historian and MC but mostly as a great friend to us throughout his life. We extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends at this very sad time.”

Craobh Loch Garman CCÉ/Wexford Town Comhaltas said; “We are deeply saddened at the passing of legendary son of Wexford Liam Gaul. Liam was for so many years hugely influential in traditional Irish music not only here in Wexford but also right across the island of Ireland. We wish to extend our deepest sympathy to Liam’s family and his many and wide circle of friends.”

Liam Gaul is a native of Wexford town and had a passion for the history of his own place. His origins go back to the long defunct English’s printing works on Wexford Quay where he qualified as a bookbinder.

He was a writer of many books, a regular contributor to historical journals, periodicals and newspapers, and had his own summer radio series on South East Radio. He was Hon. Editor of the Journal of the Wexford Historical Society and a contributor of articles to the legendary Ireland’s Own magazine.

He lectured to historical societies, libraries and local schools. A graduate of the University of Limerick, The National University of Ireland (Maynooth) and the Open University. He is president of Wexford Historical Society.

He was given a Civic Award in 1992 from the Mayor and Wexford Corporation for his contribution to Culture and Education in his native town.

He was also a talented musician and wrote books about music and composers.

More recently Liam was awarded a special medallion for his long service to Irish traditional music by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

Liam Gaul’s long list of publications include Masters of Irish Music, Glory O Glory O; The Life of PJ McCall, A Window on the Past, Wexford-The American Connection, Johnstown Castle; A History (2014), Wings Over Wexford (2017), Famous Wexfordians (2019), Tales, Traditions and Folklore of Wexford, Vols. 1 and 2.

I had a long and successful association with Liam Gaul, so many radio interviews, reviewing his books for The Wexford Echo newspaper, and appreciated his vast knowledge, his passion for the history of his own place, his studious pursuit of research, and the personal satisfaction that he derived from his new work as it hit the bookshelves and his readers began to savour even more Wexford history and heritage.

If something needed to be done, it was treated professionally and presented impeccably. That was Liam Gaul’s way! We will miss a great friend but rejoice in his legacy – an irreplaceable collection of Wexford history and heritage in the everlasting archive of the printed words. Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dilis.

Funeral arrangements private.

Sunday’s point-to-point scene

By Dan Walsh

Two point-to-point meetings today at Clonmel at and Carrigarostig, Co. Cork, and only two Wexford successes, both at the Cork venue, where the going conditions were ‘heavy’.

MICHAEL GOFF had a winner in Cork today.

Calli Black, a faller on her only previous outing, made amends with a front running display and a four lengths victory for Caitriona and Michael Goff, Clodaw, Ferns, with five-pound claimer Dan Nevin up, in the maiden race for five-year-old mares. Runner-up was Femme Magnifique from the Matthew Flynn O’Connor stables at Ballycrystal.

Barry O’Neill and Colin Bowe had a winner with first timer Barrabooka for owner Dermot O’Byrne who had one and a half lengths to spare in the maiden race for five-year-old geldings. Milan AC for the Baltimore Stables and Ellen Doyle at Coolgarrow Lane, Enniscorthy, was runner-up.

Next Sunday’s point-to-point takes place at Ballycrystal, Kiltealy, the first race is at 12.30pm, and good racing is anticipated.

€164,000 drugs seized in Wexford town

Gardaí in Wexford seized approximately €164,000 worth of suspected cocaine and arrested and charged one man following the search of a residence in Wexford town on Thursday as part of Operation Tara.

At approximately 5.30pm, Gardaí conducted a search under warrant where approximately €164,000 worth of suspected cocaine and a small quantity of suspected cannabis was seized.

All the drugs seized will be sent to Forensic Science Ireland for analysis.

A man in his early 40s was taken to Wexford Garda Station and detained under the provisions of Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act, 1996.

He has since been charged and appeared before a special sitting of Kilkenny District Court today (Saturday).

Enniscorthy welcome for Alejandro, (9)

THUMPS US. THANKS EVERYBODY! ALEJANDRO MISZAN appreciates the support shown to him and his family in Enniscorthy tonight.

By Dan Walsh in Enniscorthy

Upwards of 150 vintage cars, trucks, vans and motorcycles brought Enniscorthy to a standstill for a short time tonight (Friday) as they travelled in convoy from The Promenade beside the River Slaney to Old Forge Road, Milehouse, in celebration and to show love and support for Alejandro Miszan, (9), who has returned home to his loving family following the horrific dog attack in November.

Alejandro spent seven weeks in hospital, but was surprisingly discharged on Tuesday, and since he was a lover of cars, vintage enthusiasts from many parts of the county hastily gathered to show their support with a massive turnout of horsepower, flashing lights and atmosphere.

Alejandro, his elder brother Raul, who has been his spokesperson, and his Dad, attended the gathering in The Promenade. There was a strong public presence too, including Independent T.D. Verona Murphy who offered her support to Alejandro who needs ongoing treatment for his facial injuries.

Alejandro said he was delighted to be home in Enniscorthy and appreciated the welcome from neighbours and friends and the car enthusiasts who gave him a night to remember! His only regret; “I don’t like how I look. I wish I had my face back.”

Tonight’s event presented a carnival atmosphere. Loud exhaust music, the beeping of horns, some spinning of wheels and the occasional cloud of smoke, but all in an orderly manner and a wonderful ‘welcome back home to Enniscorthy’ tribute to a brave young local boy who is lucky to be spared his life.

Cars and crowds line up at The Promenade, Enniscorthy, tonight, to welcome home Alejandro Miszan.

Dog victim Alejandro returns home

AJEJANDRO MISZAN (9) savaged by a dog near his home at Enniscorthy has been discharged from hospital, but still needs treatment. (Pic; RTÉ News).

By Dan Walsh at Enniscorthy

Nine-year-old Alejandro Miszan has been discharged from hospital after seven weeks having sustained horrific facial injuries from a dog attack while playing football outside his home at Enniscorthy on November 27th.

Speaking on RTÉ News, Alejandro said he was delighted to be home in Enniscorthy and appreciated the welcome from neighbours and friends. His only regret; “I don’t like how I look. I wish I had my face back.”

WexfordLocal.com reported the shock news as follows following attack; “Enniscorthy is a town in shock today following a frightening incident in which a nine years’ old boy was confronted by an uncontrolled dog and suffered appalling facial injuries in an unprovoked attack while playing with friends in a housing estate.

The incident occurred about 4.30pm the Old Forge Road housing estate, near the Milehouse area of the town. Local sources told WexfordLocal.com that five friends were playing together when a pitbull cross set upon them in an aggressive manner and launched a horror attack. The children ran, three in one direction and two in another direction, however, one boy was grabbed by the dog and suffered dreadful injuries. The other children escaped injury but were said to be ‘traumatised’

Emergency services were quickly on the scene and attended by paramedics before being taken to Bellefield GAA Grounds from where the injured boy was flown to Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin by Irish Coast Guard helicopter R117 where he underwent emergency surgery.

His brother Raul said: “All the doctors and nurses came out and hugged him and said goodbye to him. When we came home all the neighbours were here and all my family were here to welcome him home in the best way.”

The concerns about the control of dogs and the need for more Dog Wardens in Co. Wexford has been raised at a number of meetings of Wexford County Council by Gorey-based Cllr Joe Sullivan, the latest being at last Monday’s January meeting of the Council.

Following the attack on Alejandro, then Taoiseach Micheál Martin tasked Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to lead a review on dog control which has resulted in a working group being established to examine dog laws and enforcement.

The group will look at issues including fines under the Control of Dogs Act, enforcement at local authority level, the provision of dog wardens, microchipping, promoting responsible dog ownership and licences. The Working Group will meet over the coming days.

Alejandro’s family say he still has a long road of treatment ahead but they are thankful for all the support they have received.

New €12m hub opens in Wexford town

Scene from the opening of the €12 million Global Logics Park at Drinagh today. (Pic; Courtesy of Verone Murphy T.D.)

By Dan Walsh

A company of international repute and founded 60 years ago, Nolan Transport, originally from New Ross, officially opened a new 35-acre, €12 million Global Logistics Park at Drinagh on the Rosslare Road, south of Wexford town, creating 30 new jobs in the process, today (Wednesday).

The world has seen unprecedented demand for warehousing facilities caused by changes in customer needs and disruption in the supply chain stemming from Brexit and Covid. Recognising these disruptions and changes, Nolan Transport is putting itself and Wexford forward as a global leader for transportation and logistics services to its customers both locally and internationally.

Nolan Transport, founded by Jimmy and his wife Joan (christened Johanna) in 1963, celebrates 60 years in business this year. Starting in 1963 with a single truck and only the two of them working the business, today it has grown to provide the supply chain services of Transportation, Warehousing, Customs and Systems to its customers.

The company prides itself on being one of Co. Wexford’s leading employers with over 1,000 people and operating over 2,000 trailers and 700 trucks of owner asset-based fleet.

With its main hub already operating out of New Ross, today the Nolan family opened the “Johanna 1 Building” named in honour of their dear mother Joan who sadly passed away suddenly on December 16th,2022. It has been specifically designed to facilitate its customer’s needs and is already in high demand with its global customers seeking out high-end warehousing requirements.

The new €12 million 150,000 cubic metres high-bay warehouse facility is the first of five planned warehouses in the company’s €50 million vision for the park over the next few years.

In addition to its two Co. Wexford locations, the company operates offices internationally in the UK, France and Spain, and is about to open its new office in Holland with further expansion plans into other European locations planned over the next five years.

Noel Nolan, Director of the Warehousing Division, said: “We are delighted to have exchanged contracts with a number of international brands already. We are ideally positioned to unlock opportunities to deliver high-quality and sustainable warehousing solutions, deliver more jobs and deliver more economic benefits for Wexford and the wider region all the while, working even more closely with Rosslare Europort with its new direct to Europe and its UK ferry operators.”

Many tributes have been lauded on the company. Deputy Verona Murphy described the Nolan’s as “long-life neighbours and long-life friends, and an entire family who have worked extremely hard for decades to bring their business to the top of the haulage and logistics industry in Ireland and beyond.”

Cllr George Lawlor, Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council said it was “a real honour to be in attendance today at the official opening of Nolan Transport A truly remarkable facility created by a remarkable family.”

The development was also praised by the Chief Executive Officer of Wexford County Council, Tom Enright, who spoke from the podium during today’s impressive opening ceremony that brought welcome news of excellent business and future employment prospects to Co. Wexford.