The new motorway reaffirms the vision of 1798
The Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council, Cllr Michael Sheehan, has said the opening of the new M11 motorway between Gorey and Enniscorthy has 'reaffirmed the vision of 1798 in the forging of a dynamic, energetic, vibrant and thriving county'.
He made his comments at the official opening ceremony of the new road on Thursday.
However, he almost didn't get to make his address as MC, and Chairperson of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), Cormac O'Rourke thought Cllr Sheehan wasn't present but quickly corrected himself when he realised his error.
It prompted Cllr Sheehan to comment: 'That has to be the strangest introduction I have ever gotten in my life.'
It was a light-hearted moment on a day that was full of positivity.
Describing the event as one of great historic significance Cllr Sheehan said: 'Here we stand in a field in which our forefathers once would have toiled.
Using their ingenuity, their labour, and their hopes to combine their talents to forge a better life for their families, their community, and their county, and ultimately, their country.'
'The opening of the extension today is a testimony to our past and our future,' he said.
'It is more than reducing a commute; it is a road to a better Wexford, a road to a better south east, and road to a prosperous Enniscorthy,' he added.
He said the new road will point Enniscorthy in the right direction for the next generation under the leadership of his colleagues on Enniscorthy Municipal District Council and its chairperson, Cllr Kathleen Codd-Nolan.
'This is a chance for Enniscorthy and this area to rejuvenate its town centre [and] a chance to redefine itself and make a bold statement once again as it did in 1916,' he said.
He highlighted the fact the new road will bring Enniscorthy and County Wexford 30 minutes closer to the centre of Dublin and that 'one hour up the road there is a market of one million people'.
'This represents a new beginning for Enniscorthy and for the county,' he said.
Cllr Sheehan also highlighted other developments taking place in the town including the new technology park and the significance of Rosslare Europort.
'We must invest in Rosslare Europort and deliver a technical university as well as ensuring that we have a modern airport in Waterford,' said Cllr Sheehan.
He complimented everyone involved with the project and also praised the landowners and members of the local community 'for their patience and engagement' in delivering the project.
'Their ability to see the bigger picture and commitment to the needs of the many trumping the needs of the few, made this passage of this project achievable,' said Cllr Sheehan.
He finished by saying he looked forward to welcoming everyone to New Ross - for the opening of the New Ross bypass - and said: 'The future belongs to us now, so let's make the most of it.'