Ger Walsh Column 14/07/16 : the chronicle.ie

Ger Walsh Column 14/07/16

| July 14, 2016

Mayor      1    cmyk

Enda should take his holidays and not return

Over the last couple of months one of the great topics of conversation in political circles has centred on how long the current government will last. Given that it is a new type of administration no one really knows but many were prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt suggesting that it could even go three years.

But the more favoured view was that the summer/autumn of 2018 would be the date of the next general election given the current administration a two and a half year term.

However, there are others, including senior Fine Gael figures in the county who have been saying from day one that it would be lucky to last a year.

Given the events of the last couple of weeks the twelve month lifespan looks increasingly as if it is the more accurate view.

The decision of most of the non Fine Gael ministers to depart from Cabinet collective responsibility and ignore the Attorney General’s advice to support a bill which she said was unconstitutional really deals a body blow to this government.

It gives the impression that Ross and Co., whatever their view on the actual issue in question, are really only playing at being in government.

To suggest that they are having their cake and eating it would be to put it very mildly indeed.

If people around the Cabinet table do not see it as their duty to uphold the Constitution then they have no business being there at all. If it is the case that they believe the AG is completely wrong about this matter and they are right in terms of the constitutionality of the Bill then they should have sought her dismissal.

But at the moment it seems more like a pretend government than a real administration and if this continues the sooner the people get an opportunity to vote again the better because there isn’t a hope in hell that the flaky mudguard of this government will be up for taking any difficult decisions in the months ahead..

Then there is the position of the Taoiseach. He has, of course, already indicated that he does not intend to fight the next general election and once any leader makes such a statement then they do become a bit of a lame duck.

In Enda Kenny’s case he was already a bit lame ever before he said this so he really now is one of the walking wounded.

His recent appearances in the Dail give the impression of a shattered man who is not in control.

After fourteen years at the helm of his party and just short of five and a half years as Taoiseach he would be doing everyone a favour if he did not come back after his summer holidays.

There is no guarantee that any new Fine Gael leader would be able to bring a b it of cohesion to this government but a younger more energetic leader with new ideas and a fresh mandate from his party might just give the government a greater sense of purpose.

 

 

  New Mayor’s family occasion

It was rather ironic that Wexford’s new mayor, Frank Staples, should speak about his own depression and make the provision of improved Mental Health services a top priority for his term when he was elected recently.

Frank got the job as a result of the vacancy created by the tragic death of Fianna Fail councillor Fergie Kehoe earlier this year.

There has been an outpouring of support for the new Mayor since his election with everyone willing his health to stay strong as he navigates his way through a busy political year.

The election itself saw one of the biggest crowds in years gather at the Arts Centre with  the Fine Gael organisation celebrating their first Borough District Mayor and half the parish of Ballymore/Mayglass coming to town for the night Even the local Parish Priest, Fr. Murty Byrne, was on hand to give his blessing to the occasion

But pride of place on the night went to two of the new Mayor’s aunst, who are aged ninety and eighty and his mother-in-law. What a proud night for them.

 

When festivals clash

Festivals play an important role in helping to attracting visitors to the county. Even if people do not come specifically for a particular event they will come back if during their stay in the county they enjoy the activities at a particular festival.

There has been a lot of effort put into the organisation of various festivals around the county in recent years and by and large they have been successful.

In the main they are organised with the support of the Co. Council. However, there  is a need to have a streamlined calendar for these events.

Given that there are fifty two weekends in the year it should be possible to ensure that two major festivals do not clash.

There was an unfortunate such clash recently when the National Farmers Market and Strawberry Festival in Enniscorthy took place at the same time as the Maritime

Festival in Wexford town.

The Enniscorthy event seems to have lost out somewhat as a result but efforts should be made in the future to ensure that such a clash is avoided.

 

Even simple things can prove difficult to achieve

Sometimes its amazing how difficult it is to get simple issues, which can make a major difference to a lot of people, acted on. An example is the provision of proper bus stops and shelters at various locations.

It has been a bit of a standing joke in Gorey where local councillor Anthony Donohoe has spent the best part of a year trying to have the bus stops at Gorey and Camolin upgraded.

In recent times Paddy Kavanagh has taken up the case of the bus stop outside Wexford Hospital. He wants it upgraded with a shelter and a seat following representations from members of the public.

Of all the bus stops in the county this is the one which most needs shelter because it is used by people who have attended hospital appointments but there is no sign that it is to get any priority. Instead it is just part of the normal programme.

Recently the absolute importance of upgrading this stop was brought home to me when I saw an elderly woman and possibly her son, walking from the hospital towards the Stop. He was carrying a chair so that the woman could rest while waiting for the bus.

It is a pity that some of the people who make decisions on these matters do not come into the real world.

 

I wonder if we could interest Japanese in new potatoes

I was taken last week by a story from Japan about a bunch of grapes which sold for 1.1 million yen, that’s more than €9,000. Yes nine thousand euro for a bunch of grapes.

The bunch contained about thirty grapes and were the first of the season. They are the Ruby Roman variety, if you are interested, not that you’d be likely to pick up a bunch to cheer up someone in hospital, I’d say they’d prefer the money instead.

Anyway it appears the Japanese are always very keen to get the first produce of the season although it seems they don’t always pay quite as much as this for a bunch of grapes.

Imagine if we could get them to take a similar interest in new potatoes. Ryanair could organise special flights over and Wexford Bus could take them from the Airport  on special tours of Curracloe, Carne and Bannow where they could even dig the new potatoes themselves to add to their experience.

As they left the field they could hand over a couple of million yen for each bag of the early season produce. If we could get this to take off we could wave goodbye to the IDA and their advance factories.

Potatoes could be the new gold and then we could extend it to strawberries. In think we should send a group of Co. Councillors on a junket , sorry fact finding trip, to Japan to get the ball rolling.

 

Protecting the bees

I just thought I’d let you know that the Co. Council has signed up to the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020. The plan is all to do with tackling pollinator decline which is evident across Europe.

Bumblebees and solitary bees are known as wild pollinators and most pollination of crops and wild plants in Ireland are carried out by bees.

The Council in supporting the pollinator plan aims to make Co. Wexford pollinator friendly  with a series of cost effective actions planned . This in turn, according to the local authority, will support the livelihoods of farmers who rely on the invaluable pollination work which bees do.

As part of the project the embankment to the front of County Buildings in Wexford has been planted with pollinator friendly wildflowers.

See now you know what your Council is doing to protect bees and don’t be undoing all their good work by spraying killer on a bee as you enjoy the sun (if we ever get it) in your back garden this summer season…

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