Thursday 22 August 2019

From our archives

Edermine airstrip plans are put on hold

July 1994

Plans for a Slaneyside airstrip at Edermine have run into unexpected turbulence, which means that final approval has been delayed.

County councillors have postponed a decision until September, to the suprise and disappointment of officials and the project's promoters.

'We've done our part,' said a perplexed Jim McAuley, who has been heading up the group of businessmen working to install the airstrip. 'Private enterprise has come up with the goods - the funds have been pledged - so there is no problem from that point of view.'

Senior councillors from outside the Enniscorthy district - including Michael D'Arcy, Lorcan Allen, and Hugh Byrne - expressed their misgivings at Monday's meeting of the County Council, where the matter was considered.

'I think that an airstrip would be a very positive development for the county,' commented former Council Chairman, Jim Walsh. 'The IDA has advised us that the site is not particularly attractive in terms of industry.'

The 90 acres at Edermine have been at the centre of controversy since the early 1980s, when they were bought by the Council in the hope of attracting a factory. The property is currently worth about £9,000 per year to its owners - in rent for grazing sheep. Part of the land is liable to flooding during the winter.

The latest snag has arisen despite the fact that the airstrip lease would be limited to 54 months. The promoters have also assured the local authority that they would immediately leave if any factory developer required them to do so.

Wexford actors land parts in major film

July 1988

Two Wexford actors have landed parts in a major British film which is being directed by David Hare, the writer/director responsible for 'Plenty' with Meryl Streep.

Actor/author Billy Roche, who has just finished a six-week run of Brian Friel's 'Aristocrats' in London, and young Wexford actor Gary O'Brien are to play alongside each other in 'Strapless', the latest film from the renowned British director.

For Billy Roche, author of 'Tumbling Down' and 'The Boker Poker Club', it will be his third major acting role in a few months. Two weeks ago, he was featured in an episode of ITV's 'The Bill', which will be shown on television next month.

'I haven't gone looking for the parts. They've just landed in my lap. But I'm prepared to roll with it,' said Billy, who was at home in Wexford this week to work on a new play for the Bush Theatre in London, where 'A Handful of Stars' opened to rave reviews.

The film part came through casting agent Patsy Pollack, who produced 'Cal', and Billy is now on standby for a two-week shoot in August.

Gary O'Brien, who was a resounding success as Jimmy Brady in 'A Handful of Stars' in London, was first offered a small part in 'Strapless'.

But when he arrived back in Wexford last week for a short break, he received an urgent telephone call at his parents' home, asking him to return for a second audition.

Another actor had dropped out, and Gary ended up being offered the bigger part.

'Patsy Pollack was raving about Gary. She seems him as a very promising actor,' said Billy, who hopes to return to full-time writing in September.

Fishing trawler picks up WW2 sea mine

July 1979

While fishing north-east of Rosslare lighthouse last week, the Rosslare Harbour trawler, St. Bernadette, picked up a second world war mine in her net.

The net was badly torn and most of the fish it contained were lost. Skipper Brendan Walsh and his two crewmen, Richard Duggan and Christopher Elsey, managed to haul the net with the mine still entangled on board. One side of the mine was rusted away and the explosive had been washed out through the hole.

The fishermen conveyed the mine to an area where the seabed is rough and rocky and never used by fishing vessels, and dumped it overboard there.

The mine is believed to be one sunk by the British coaster Carlingford by machine gun fire in 1941. In the same year, two mines were sunk in Rosslare Harbour by the fisheries protection vessel, Fort Rannock. As far as is known, they still lie on the seabed.

In December 1941, yet another mine struck Tuskar Rock lighthouse and exploded, killing lightkeeper Patrick Scanlon and injuring keeper William Cahill, who has since died. The third keeper, Peter Roddy, was brought ashore next day by Rosslare Harbour lifeboat.

During the war, Rosslare port was protected against mines by a boon. On one occasion, the pier around it had to be evacuated when the beach around it was strewn with eleven mines.

Judge threatens to close courthouse

July 1996

The Judge who closed Ballycullane courthouse is now threatening to do the same in New Ross - because of a three-and-a-half year wait for completion of building work there.

District Justice Sean Magee called the failure of Wexford County Council to complete work on rooms in the courthouse 'inexcusable' when he delivered a public rebuke at the start of his court on Tuesday.

'In the past, I have had to take strong measures in relation to the disgraceful condition of courts provided to us by the local authorities,' he warned.

The Justice recalled that two years ago, he refused to sit in Ballycullane, which has since been closed. He said he could now also refuse to sit in New Ross.

Ironically, the Justice said that the New Ross cout building had the structural potential to have the best accommodation in his jurisdiction, which includes Wexford, most of Wicklow, and part of Carlow. It has 'an excellent consulting room and a family law room with seperate entrances'.

But while major work had been done on the courtroom itself and on the building, 'the consulting room and family law room cannot be used because the work is not finished'.

'I am in this district three and a half years and the work has not been finished yet. I would like to know why,' he said.

'The Council knows I can refuse to sit here. It is up to the Council now.'

Ring road is almost ready for opening

July 1988

Wexford's new multi-million pound ring road should be open to traffic next month.

County Engineer Phil Callery said this week that work is proceeding very satisfactorily and traffic would be using the new road, linking Ferrycarrig with the Rosslare Road, before the planned completion date.

Wexford County Council agreed this week to invite the Minister for The Environment to officially open the new road in November, by which time all the necessary tidying up will be done.

Election had to give way for 'Tea and Sex'

July 1995

Wexford Corporation members had to give way for 'Tea and Sex' after Monday night's Mayoral Election in the Arts Centre.

Councillors were mingling and chatting with spectators after the election of Mayor Peter Roche, when Arts Centre administrator, Patrick Sutton, advised them to 'shush'.

His concern was that 'Tea and Sex and Shakespearre', a play by Thomas Kiloy, was about to start upstairs and the noise was in danger of interfering with the production.

The request went down like lead balloon with councillors, who felt miffed about the scheduling of the play for the same night as the mayoral election, which of course is only held once a year.

Mr Sutton pointed out though that the play had been booked in more than two months eariler, before a date was actually set for the election.

Wexford People

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