During his presentation Ger O’Donoghue gave telling details about how Wexford and Enniscorthy, and other counties are being sucked dry…
He set out his 3 main priorities as:
1. South East University
2. Rosslare Harbour
3. IDA Investment
Ger’s Local Election Campaign Message:
As a candidate for RENUA, I am working on behalf of the people of Wexford to ensure that these issues are put to the fore:
Education – We have a high standard of education in our primary and second level schools. Unfortunately, these young people are let down by not having a University 3rd level campus within the county. The vast majority of Wexford’s 3rd level students are compelled move out of the county to live and study, and many never return. We miss out on the economic benefit of student spend, it also results in a brain drain and in low rates of IDA job investment.
IDA companies want to establish themselves in places with 3rd level universities to have easy access to well-educated graduates and all important loan funding for research and development. Without a University Campus, Wexford will continue to experience low priority treatment by the IDA. An opportunity arose to use the St. Senan’s facility for a University campus but this did not receive enough support from our local politicians, due to the prospect of developing an IT facility in Wexford. This IT plan subsequently fell through, leaving Co. Wexford high and dry yet again.
Apprenticeships to trades are another vital area of post-second level education. It may shock you to learn that none of the apprenticeship providers are located in Co. Wexford.
Job creation – Job creation links with the previous point on 3rd level education. IDA jobs are well paid, skilled jobs which graduates seek. The IDA has a poor record of job creation in the South East and Co. Wexford is the worst affected among the South East counties. My priority for job creation will be to overturn official government/IDA policy which states that Wexford is not a priority but rather that Waterford is the gateway for job creation in the southeast.
Until recently, reference to Co. Wexford wasn’t even included on the IDA website, yet our local politicians continue to stand idle while Co. Wexford is being neglected by the IDA.
Bringing skilled, highly paid jobs to the County, also helps to create more jobs in service industries, such as restaurants, cafes, leisure industry and local shops. A walk through Enniscorthy will show many recently closed shops and many premises left idle due to lack of foot-fall. It is tragic to see this decline of our once vibrant local town. Highly skilled, motivated and ambitious Wexford people have to travel every day to work in neighbouring counties because of the serious lack of job opportunities within our own county. Evidence of this is shown by the number of make-shift car parks close to motorways to facilitate car-pooling to Dublin or elsewhere on a daily basis. This has to change.
Rosslare Port – Rosslare Port has been underfunded for the past 30 years while Dublin Port has received continual intense funding, resulting in Dublin Port handling the nearly 85% of unitised freight for the country. The percentage of Irish freight which goes through Rosslare is reducing every year, because there has been very little investment in the Port.
This also has to change. With the onset of Brexit and potential problems with travelling through Britain to reach Europe, it is unbelievable that the government has not invested in the facilities at Rosslare Harbour. In fact, not only has Rosslare seen little investment, we also had the blow of Irish Ferries deciding to cut their ferry routes to Europe, in favour of their routes from Dublin.
Mental Health – Enniscorthy town was the main loser when it came to the closure of St. Senan’s hospital. The county in general suffered but Enniscorthy felt the effects most severely. Many patients must now travel outside the county to access mental health services. This is not acceptable considering that Co. Wexford has one of the highest rates of suicide in the country.
To conclude, it is clear that Co. Wexford has and is continuing to be neglected by National Government strategies. This is being allowed to happen by the inaction of our locally elected TD’s and Councillors. It would be madness for the people of Enniscorthy, and Co. Wexford as a whole to continue to vote for the same people over and over again, but expect different results.
– Are we happy that our ambitious young people have to leave the county in their thousands to access education and jobs?
– Are we happy that our Europort is not receiving substantial investment?
– Are we happy that shops are closing on our main-streets?
– Are we happy to allow our county sleepwalk into obscurity and neglect?
I am angry about these things, and I want to change them.
I believe this clear vision for Co. Wexford sets me apart from other candidates in the upcoming Local Elections.