Category Archives: Photos

Ground Broken on St Patrick’s Special School

A momentous day in Enniscorthy as the sod is turned on the site for the new St Patrick’s Special School. Work is set to commence straight away with the building to be completed in April 2020.

Huge credit must go to the whole school community for continuously keeping focus on this, led from the front by Lee Rogers, with whom I have been in close contact working to get this project over the line.

Special thanks to Judith and Shane, students of St Patrick’s, who undertook the hard work of the sod turning and have now handed over the shovels to Wexford company, Mythen Construction to complete this €11m state-of-the-art building which will provide the school that these children and their families deserve.

The progress is a huge credit to Lee Rogers and the school community, according to Minister Kehoe, who said the new school will be a welcome boost to Co Wexford.

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A New Respite House for Wexford: state-of-the art House opened in Wexford today.

Minister for Disabilities Finian McGrath, along with local Minister Paul Kehoe, will today formally open the facility at Windrock , Ard Aoibhinn Services.

“I was delighted to formally open the new respite facility today, which will support people with disabilities and their families.

The four bedroom house is one of eight now opened by the Government nationwide – with four additional facilities to be unveiled in the coming months.

Speaking ahead of the opening, Minister Kehoe said the facility is part of a €10m increase in the disabilities budget this year , aimed at improving respite services in Wexford.

“I have worked hard with Minister McGrath and my government colleagues to ensure Wexford is included in this latest investment,” he added.

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€1,334,798 for County Wexford from the 2018 Town and Village Renewal Scheme

I am delighted to announce €1,334,798 for County Wexford from the 2018 Town and Village Renewal Funding, the largest allocation for any county in Ireland.

I have been working closely with both Minster Michael Ring and Wexford County Council who administer the scheme whose officials – including County manager Tom Enright and Ger Mackey – have been instrumental in delivering on projects.

This scheme is specifically targeted at rural towns and villages with populations of less than 10,000 – it is a major part of the government’s efforts to rebuild rural Ireland and ensure the recovery is felt outside of Dublin.

The towns and villages of rural Ireland are the heart and soul of our rural communities and it is crucial that we revitalise these areas. I know there are towns and villages in Wexford that don’t feel like the recovery has reached home and this scheme will go a long way to bringing the revovery to their doorsteps.

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General Michael Collins and President Arthur Griffith remembered at 96th annual Collins Griffith commemoration at Glasnevin Cemetery

This afternoon, Minister for Defence, Paul Kehoe TD, Mayor of Fingal, Cllr. Anthony Lavin, Chairman of the Collins Griffith Commemoration Society, William Lavelle, and Chairman of the Glasnevin Trust, John Green led proceedings at the 96th annual Collins/Griffith commemoration at Glasnevin Cemetery.

The annual oration at the graveside of Michael Collins was given by former TD, MP and Minister Mr. Austin Currie. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Caledon protest, led by Austin Currie, which is regarded as marking the start of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights movement.

Ms. Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, also spoke at the event to mark the 100th anniversary of Bliain na mBan, when women first earned the right to vote.

The event was marked by the raising of the of the National Flag at the Sigerson Monument by the Defence Forces, and the laying of wreaths at the grave of General Michael Collins by Minister for Defence, Paul Kehoe TD, the grave of Arthur Griffith by Deputy-Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Major-General Kieran Brennan, and the grave of Eamon Duggan by Mayor of Fingal, Cllr. Anthony Lavin.

Speaking at the event Minister Kehoe said:

 “This important occasion allows us to reflect on the outstanding contribution made to the State by two colossal figures of Irish politics.

“As Minister with responsibility for Defence, it gives me particular privilege to honour General Michael Collins, whose legacy includes the unrivalled leadership he displayed as Commander in Chief of the National Army during one of our darkest periods.

“Although less celebrated, Arthur Griffith’s legacy and indeed his role in achieving Irish independence provides a timely reminder to us all of the importance of strength and courage in politics.

At a time of uncertainty caused by Brexit, it should be remembered how Collins and Griffith, through dialogue and constitutional politics, ensured the interests of their people were best served. “ 

Following the wreath laying ceremony and readings, a minute’s silence was held. This was followed by the sounding of the Last Post and Reveille. To close the commemoration, Soprano Anna Brady sang the national anthem without musical accompaniment.

Today marks the 96th Collins/Griffith commemoration organised by the Collins/Griffith Commemoration Society. Chairman of the Collins/Griffith Commemoration Society William Lavelle said:

“For 96 years our Society has been organising a public commemoration at the gravesides of General Michael Collins and President Arthur Griffith, two heroes whose legacy was the establishment of an independent Ireland. As we approach the Centenary of their deaths in 2022, we are proud to honour this legacy and to celebrate the constitutional tradition and state they bequeathed us.”

To mark the ‘Decade of Commemorations’ the annual commemorations have been scaled-up in the recent years to include the active participation of the Irish Defence Forces. To that end, as part of the Defence Force’s participation, the Sliabh na mBan armoured car was also in attendance. The Sliabh na mBan formed part of the General Michael Collins’ convoy which was ambushed on 22nd August, 1922, at Béal na mBláth in West Cork, resulting in the tragic death of General Collins.

Commenting on the day’s events Chairman of the Glasnevin Trust, John Green stated:

“The Collins Griffith commemoration is one of the oldest continuous commemorations in Glasnevin and indeed in this State. The poignancy of Collins’ funeral taking place within two weeks of his oration at Griffith’s grave is never lost. Collins and Griffith were not immediate bedfellows, Collins was suspicious of Griffith’s motives early on, but they became extraordinary colleagues and firm friends after de Valera threw them together as plenipotentiaries in the Treaty talks. This commemoration recognises two giants of our struggle for independence; two legends brought together by that struggle and united annually in this observance.”

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New ambulance station for Enniscorthy

Paramedics in Enniscorthy have finally been given access to a new state of the art ambulance station, following a €200,000 investment from the HSE.

According to Minister Paul Kehoe, the station on the Old Dublin Road will have time critical access to the Motorway at Scarawalsh.

It will ensure that all areas of the country are covered by the ambulance service – with the investment also future proofing ambulance cover for years to come.

Minister Kehoe, who has worked along side Independent councillor Ger Carthy to deliver on the investment, said it a major boost for Enniscorthy.

“This upgrade is vitally important for the entire county, “Minister Kehoe said. It means now that the people of Enniscorthy and beyond are given adequate cover and that we finally have infrastructure that is state of the art and fit for purpose.”

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Kehoe asks Education Minister to set up meeting between NDFA and Wexford sub-contractors

Minister Paul Kehoe has asked Education Minister Richard Bruton to set up a meeting between the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) and the Wexford sub-contractors affected by the situation surrounding Loreto secondary school.

Minister Kehoe has today visited sub-contractors on the site in Wexford town at lunchtime today.

He has also confirmed that Minister Bruton met other sub-contractors affected by the collapse of Carillion and the liquidation of the Sammon Group in Carlow today.

Minister Kehoe has also asked his Cabinet colleague to set up a meeting between sub-contractors and the NDFA, the statutory body that advises the State on funding public investment projects.

“The liquidation of the Sammon Group and Carillion Construction has had a knock-on effect beyond the school projects that they were building.  It is unfortunate and regrettable that suppliers and sub-contractors have also been affected,” Minister Kehoe said after meeting the sub-contractors.

“For all of those involved this is a very difficult time, with many smaller employers being left out of pocket as a result of the collapse of these two companies.  Due to the arrangements in this particular case the Department of Education was not party to any of the contracts with subcontractors.

I have directly raised by concerns about the impact on sub-contractors with my colleague, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, TD, and asked that the legislation in this area is reviewed so that better protections can be considered.  The situation that has developed is one that is outside of the control both of Government and the subcontractors who have been affected by the collapse of these companies.

“That is why I have asked Minister Bruton to set up a meeting between the NDFA and the sub-contractors involved.”

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Late Wexford soldier receives special honour for his service

A Wexford soldier with a coveted career in the Defence Forces has been handed a special honour.

Post 9 of the Irish United Nations Veterans Association in Athlone, Co Westmeath has been named after the late Mick McCarth, a soldier from Drinagh in Wexford.

The Mick McCarth House was officially opened by Minister with responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe.

Mr McCarth’s family and senior military management were present for the opening.

The facilities in the house will be used for ex-soldiers to meet and socialise and to find out relevant information about pensions and social welfare entitlements.

Minister Kehoe paid tribute to Mr McCarth’s service and committed to the Defence Forces.

“Michael Mc Carth, known as “Mick” was the first President of Post 9,” Minister Kehoe said.

“Indeed, Mick passed away while holding the Office of President in 2010.  Mick came from Drinagh, near Wexford Town so is from the same county as myself.  He joined the army in 1946 and won several All-Army Individual gymnastic, Vicars Machine Gun and Gustaf Machine Gun awards during his service,” he added.

“Mick trained in the Curragh and served in Custume Barracks in the 6 Infantry Battalion and the Command Training Depot, Western Command,” Minister Kehoe said.

“Mick was with the first Irish Group to serve in the Congo and he also served three tours in Cyprus.  Mick retired in the rank of Brigade Sergeant Major (BSM) and was one of the founder members of Post 9, IUNVA Athlone in 2009.  Mick Mc Carth was clearly a man who gave outstanding service to the Defence Forces and it is fitting that we gather here today to officially open the house named in his memory.”

Minister Kehoe also paid tribute to the members of Post 9 and the wider veterans associations.

I am acutely conscious of the tremendous work done by this Post and the other 20 Posts in IUNVA in looking after Ex UN Veterans who have fallen on hard times.   I’m also aware of your great work in visiting Veterans in local hospitals and Hospices.  I know you also render honours at the funerals of Ex UN Veterans.   Thank you for your service.”

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Minister Kevin Boxer Moran touring Wexford

Today , Minister with responsibility for flooding , Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, accompanied me on a tour of Wexford to visit a number of locations in need of investment.

The visit included:

-Enniscorthy: Where there is a commitment of €45 million in ring-fenced funding for the flood defence scheme. This scheme today went out on formal display at the Athenaeum.

-New Ross: Minister Moran insisted the council won’t be found wanting when it comes to the shortfall in funding for the boardwalk.

-Rosslare: Discussions took place with the local community about the need to enhance coastal measures in order to protect the local economy.

-Our Lady’s Island: The need for investment in protection measures for the lake was the sole item on the agenda.

In all cases , the minister pledged to provide financial support.

Separately, I also briefed Minister Moran, who oversees the OPW, on the situation in Wexford.

Just short of €10 million has been ringfenced for Wexford flood defence measures – new money secured by the government earlier this year.

Flooding has caused huge hardship to people across the county.

I will continue to press for the delivery of these projects and, as always, I will update you on developments.

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Eight Wexford schools hchosen to participate in the pilot Creative Schools scheme.

Eight Wexford schools have been chosen to participate in the pilot Creative Schools scheme from this September.

This scheme, under the control of my ministerial colleague Josepha Madigan, will give school goers increased access to creative activities.

The schools are:

Scoil Naomh Maodhóg, Scoil Mhuire and Kiltealy National school in Enniscorthy, Ballycullane NS and Bunscoil Rís Edmund Rice Senior Primary In New Ross, Bunscoil Loreto and Creagh college in Gorey and Loreto Secondary school in Wexford town.

Through the programme, the Arts Council is engaging with children and young people enabling their creativity and linking them in with the arts and creative infrastructure in their locality and nationally.

This pilot initiative will develop and celebrate the arts and creativity in our schools. It will establish a range of collaborative opportunities for schools and will develop and strengthen the relationships between schools and the broader cultural and community infrastructure here in Wexford and further afield.

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Australian Ambassador to Ireland visits Wexford

I had the privilege of hosting a visit by the Australian ambassador to Ireland, Richard Andrews.
In light of the difficult challenges posed by Brexit, it is vital that we do all we can to promote and drum up investment for Wexford.

Ambassador Andrews visited St Joseph’s national school in Bree where he received a fantastic welcome from students and staff.

We then travelled to Wexford for talks on trade with council officials before the turning of the sod on Town and Village renewal projects in Our Lady’s island.

I showed Ambassador Andrews the great work done by the team at Wheelocks farm before he appeared as guest of honour at the Enniscorthy strawberry fair.

Throughout the trip, Ambassador Andrews remarked on the hard work and community spirit being shown across the county.

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