independent

Wednesday 13 December 2017

TEAM WEXFORD

New ambassadors appointed for country

FOUR OF Wexford's finest have been honoured by their county by being dubbed Wexford's first ambassadors.

International soccer hero Kevin Doyle and rugby star Gordon D'Arcy represent the sporting world, while authors Colm Tóibín and Eoin Colfer were selected to represent the literary realm for the inaugural Ambassador Programme.

All four 'Model' citizens were in the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin on Thursday for the launch of the programme, which was hosted by Minister Brendan Howlin and attended by a host of other well known Wexicans.

The idea behind the Ambassadors programme is to honour the county's high achievers for their contribution to Wexford's cultural and sporting development. It also acknowledges the ambassadors' own pride in their county and how conscious they are of its aspirations as they promote the county in all of its endeavours.

On Thursday, hundreds of other proud Wexford people applauded the achievements of the inaugural ambassadors.

Among those present were other very well known faces from author Billy Roche and musician Pierce Turner to actress Charlie Murphy, who recently wowed audiences at the Abbey with her portrayal of Eliza Doolittle.

They all enjoyed punnets of fresh Wexford strawberries and listened to musical stylings from Don Sadler and Bill Doyle as they talked up their home county and extolled its many virtues.

Speaking at the event, Wexford County Council chairman Michael Kinsella noted his appreciation for the civic pride demonstrated by the four inaugural ambassadors.

' This Ambassador programme honours citizens of our most successful and world-renowned county and our first four ambassadors each exemplify all that is great about Wexford.

'Across the world in sport and literature these great Wexford men have achieved enormous success and each of them has really helped to highlight Wexford on the world map many times. These Wexford natives who are professional, hugely successful, globally respected and yet very much associated with their home county are the ideal representatives for the county and all it has to offer,' he said.

He noted that there is a long list of nominees whom the county council will continue to honour over the coming years.

The Ambassador Programme also carries a theme and this year's theme is 'Belonging: promoting the county as a place to visit and the power of local identity through writing, creative literature and sport.'

Commenting at the event, Fáilte Ireland head of operations Gary Breen said: 'It is fantastic to have the great and the good of Wexford talking about the pride they hold for their home county and to spread that word in locations otherwise unreachable to highlight all that Wexford has to offer.'

Remarking on his home overlooking the sea, close to where he was brought up, Colm Tóibín said: 'It's perfect in every way and when I'm away it fills my dreams.'

Council chairman Michael Kinsella also announced a brand new €5,000 bursary to nurture young talent in Co. Wexford.

' This bursary will be available to support young Wexford talent in their international endeavours, be that literature, culture or sport. We hope this will result in many more great men and women from Wexford being recognised internationally,' he said.

The Ambassador Programme is part of a series of initiatives being rolled out by the county.

Last month the brand new Wexford Tourism website visitwexford.ie was launched alongside a doing business in Wexford site wexford.ie. The Ambassadors programme will also be promoted via the new Ambassador website at wexfordambassador.ie.

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