In with the new... Resolutions
DARRAGH MCDONALD SWIMMER
WITH a Paralympic gold medal in the 400m Freestyle in 2012; and World Championship gold medal in the same event in 2013; swimmer, and Co. Wexford Person of the Year 2013, Darragh McDonald, from Gorey has now set his sights on the European Championships in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, in August 2014.
He brought back two silvers from previous European Championships, so he's hoping to go one better.
Now a first year Commerce student in UCD, Darragh is training with former Olympian Earl McCarthy. 'My main goal for 2014 is the European Championships,' said Darragh. 'I'm also building up new events, with Rio in mind.'
Rio 2016 is still a long way off, but it's his long term goal to 'bring back a few medals'. 'I'm 0.4 of a second off in the 100 metres free, so I'm hoping to get on the podium in that,' he said. 'I'm also looking for qualifying times in a few other events, and I'm hoping to be in the medals for the 200 m Individual Medley.'
On top of his studies for his degree, Darragh has also taken on a Diploma course in 'Investing in Capital Markets'. 'It will be a fairly quiet year,' he admitted. 'I'm not focusing on Rio totally yet, but I need a good strong base, so we will be where we need to be when the time comes.'
EOIN COLFER AUTHOR
'My resolutions for next year are mostly Wexford orientated. I want to spend more time at home with my family and get involved in a few collaborations with friends who also happen to be artists of one kind of another.
'Wexford has so many amazing people in it that it would be a shame not to capitalise on whatever reputation I have and get creative with some of them.
'Apart from that I just want to keep going the way I have been for the past decade or so, perhaps with a few added wrinkles and grey hairs.
'And try not to eat too many rissoles (I say that every year- no success so far).'
GER LAWLOR CHAIRMAN, WEXFORD FESTIVAL OPERA
'To keep working towards achieving a good buzz in Wexford Opera House, with great shows and artists, including plenty of local talent, and especially to open up the House and the Opera Festival to young people and new audiences.
'To have a fantastic sellout festival in October and to continue to promote Wexford as one of the best places to stay and listed at the top of the best international opera festival experiences.
'To talk endlessly to anyone who will listen to me about why Wexford is a 'must place' to visit - imagine there are people in Ireland who have never visited Co. Wexford - never walked the boards of Wexford quay front as the sun rises, never seen the Dunbrody or Hook Lighthouse or walked on Ballymoney strand, and never experienced our unique hospitality, restaurants and entertainment!
'At home I'm going to get all those overdue DIY jobs done, and humour Woodie, our German Shepherd, as he pesters me for his daily walk in the woods or beaches around Wexford.
'The exercise will keep me fit and sane for the year.
'Finally, to figure out how to make the day long enough to do all of this and the many more things on my list for 2014!'
ANNE DOYLE BROADCASTER
Ferns native Anne Doyle stepped away from the newsroom last year but shows no sign of slowing down in retirement:
'I don't normally go in for New Year resolutions - but I am this year and it is very simple, basic and necessary. This year I have to lose weight and get fit. For the past three or four months, I have been looking at my expanding waistline with dismay and thinking that I must do something about it.
'I am a walker for the simple reason that I never learnt to drive. So I am used to walking, though I would never be killing myself, more a question of strolling up to the canal. (I live in Leeson Street in Dublin). To make serious inroads, my walking style will have to change.
'I remember years ago I had a friend who had put on weight but after giving birth to a child. But when I met her, she looked fabulous. The secret, she explained was "I zipped my mouth". Well, I will have to do that too ...
'This is all aspirational, you understand, but then that's the nature of New Year resolutions.'
ADAM NOLAN BOXER
'I think I told you around this time last year that my New Year's resolution was to give up chocolate. Well I failed miserably at that anyway so hopefully I'll do better this year!
'I suppose my main resolution from a sporting point of view would be to retain my senior championship title in February. I took most of November off after coming home from Kazakhstan, but I've been back in training since the start of December and hopefully I can go on and perform well. It's getting harder every year because there are younger lads coming through, but that would be a big one for me for the New Year.
'Other than that, hopefully Oulart can pick up another county title. A lot of the lads have a few miles on the clock now and maybe they rode their luck a bit at times last year against the likes of The Harriers and Ferns. It'll be very difficult for them, but that would be another big hope.
'From a personal point of view, I suppose I'll try have another crack at the chocolate. I do it for Lent every year, but it's harder at this time of year! I'd also like to be a bit more organised with my training and work. So maybe working on my time management could be another resolution.'
DAVID BEGLEY ARTIST
'I've made ten resolutions because I am going to have a busy year - 1, defrost fingers and toes each morning to prevent the return of chilblains; 2, smoke a little less, especially when using turpentine; 3, give up splitting logs in flip-flops; 4, marry my beautiful lady; 5, write more letters - and post them; 6, finish writing my book; 7, eat more greens, reds and yellows; 8, make a 15 minute animated film; 9, spend a week drawing at the zoo; 10, remember that each day is a new one and that I am a lucky man.'
CORRINE KENNY SCHOOLGIRL ATHLETE
The past year was a remarkable one for young Gorey athlete Corrine Kenny, who won three All Ireland medals in Athletics and was the fastest European for her age in one event. She hopes to continue her winning streak in the coming year.
During the year, Corrine won All Ireland gold in the Indoor 600 metres event; the Outdoor 600 metres event; and the All Ireland cross country event; all at Under 12 level. She broke the Irish record at the indoor event, and had the fastest time in Europe for her age group in the outdoor event.
Her father Bobby says it won't be easy to repeat the treble, but that's her goal. In the coming year, she'll run at Under 13 level. She also took silver in the All Ireland 60 metre sprint last year, and silver with her club's relay team which also took silver.
'I'd just like to do what I did last year,' said Corrine. 'It's a lot of work but I enjoy it.' After the Christmas break, she's preparing to return to training next week.
She trains under Brian Kirwan and John Hayden in St. Laurence O'Tooles AC in Carlow, and also with her father closer to home at the Gorey Rugby Club grounds.
FOR Ballycanew resident Fiona Doyle, the court case and sentencing of her father in 2013, was not the end of her ordeal.
Fiona suffered years of childhood abuse by her father, Patrick O'Brien from Bray, and following his sentencing to twelve years in prison, with all but three suspended, an appeal was lodged, but it's unlikely to be heard before he gets out of prison. Fiona fears he might serve just two thirds of his three year sentence, meaning he could be free this year.
'I believe my father will be released in 2014,' she said. 'I hope my appeal will be prioritised so it will be heard before he gets out, so I won't have to go through the trauma of him being released, and then having the appeal.'
'The likelihood of someone being released and then sent back is a lot slimmer than their term being extended while they are still in prison,' she said. 'People think this is all done and dusted but it goes on. It's so unfair, and it's a form of abuse on the victim by the system.'
She hopes the issue of mandatory sentencing will be addressed, and she hopes to meet An Taoiseach Enda Kenny to explain to him the trauma victims of abuse go through during the legal process.
LISA JACOB HOCKEY INTERNATIONAL
Lisa Jacob from Bree is back in Ireland at the moment as her Dutch club takes a winter break: 'My first resolution is, if I can't beat my father at table tennis, at least I'll beat my brothers. On the hockey front, I aim to keep trying to get better and contribute as much as I can while continuing to develop as an elite international athlete. It's a tough environment in Holland. I have only managed one goal so far and I would love a few more. We are back training at SCHC in Bilthoven near Eindhoven on January 27 for a month, followed by an intense series of games. We have one current Dutch player in the forward line and a former international, so they get most of the pitch time.
'In 2014, it will be important to develop my career off the pitch too. My background is in psychology and lifestyle and performance coaching. I get a real buzz out of getting teams and individuals to realise their potential. Hockey has given me experiences that I feel can be transferred to this field. I am on the look-out to coach individuals or teams, like the Dublin footballers have boxer Bernard Dunne.'
MARIA NOLAN GAA OFFICIAL
Well known Rapparees/Starlights stalwart Maria Nolan has been one of the main movers behind the club's adoption of the 'Off the Booze - On the Ball' campaign, so her first resolution is obviously to knock off alcohol for the month of January: 'I guess I will have to if I'm asking others to do it!
'With the unfortunate and imminent demise of Enniscorthy Town Council next year and the obvious void its passing will inflict on the social, cultural and community aspect of the town, my fervent wish for 2014 would be to see interested, active and involved people come together to establish a voluntary Town Council or committee operating on a non political basis with only one agenda - Enniscorthy, the enhancement, betterment and development of its facilities and people.'
BRIAN BYRNE LANTERN.IE
'In the last 18 months Lantern.ie has brought two Spiegeltent Festivals to Wexford, as well as parades, gigs and literary events. 2014 is a big year for us, and we have made some New Year's resolutions to help guide us through the next 12 months:
'Keep it Local - Our business works because of the support we get from the local community, specifically three groups: the people who come to our events, the businesses who sponsor and support us, and the local authorities who guide and assist us for the good of the town. Our resolution is to keep these three groups uppermost in our minds when we devise our events, and ensure that our activities benefit our town and the people who live, work and play in it.
'Entertainment for Everyone - Our country is still going through a difficult time, and some people struggle to afford a ticket to our events and gigs. Our resolution is to make our events as affordable as possible to the disadvantaged, and to continue running free gigs and events throughout the year, for the enjoyment of everyone.
'Thank you all for your support in 2013, and we look forward to seeing you in 2014!'
NOEL WHELAN CHAIRMAN, JFK TRUST
'The resolution for the JFK Trust is to consolidate our position. We have had a very dramatic and hyperactive year. Our key task now is to market the famine ship, the Dunbrody Experience and the Kennedy Homestead as a key attraction in the South East and as something not dependent on anniversaries or events, but with an annual flow of tourists into New Ross and Dunganstown, while playing as positive a role as possible as a community development organisation.
'Next year will be fun for me as it's an election year. The local and European elections will be very important as they occur half way through this Government's term and they will answer the question whether Fianna Fail's recovery has been sustainable or not. I have a family interest too as my brother Michael is running. There is positivity around and a sense of economic recovery which needs to trickle down to the tourism industry, the construction industry and to local traders.
ANNIE GILPIN FESTIVAL ORGANISER AND MUSICIAN
'My 2014 resolution is to avoid the useless TV by, not only putting in my diary the great local events that happen in Enniscorthy, but also to support and enjoy them by going ... and then I have a chance of getting my photo in the newspaper every week!
'Seriously, I am resolved to building on the already good work of Enniscorthy tourism and the town's festivals by engaging in even more local involvement, to put Enniscorthy on the map as the place to be!'
Annie Gilpin is an Enniscorthy Strawberry Festival activist and musician with the Duffry Stompers.
KEVIN DUNDON CELEBRITY CHEF
I would love to be able to slow down in 2014 but it's going to be an extremely busy year for me. I already have a very full diary for the first half of the year with a lot of work in America where I've a press launch in March as my TV show is going into 175 channels, which means it will be aired on 80 per cent of American televisions, so that's massive.
'We are also opening a second restaurant in Orlando, Florida and I'll be busy with The Local at the Dunbrody Country House hotel.
'I am writing a new book and I'll have two new TV series next year. I'll also be marketing a whole range of pots, pans, knives and glassware in America and I've a lot of work with Supervalu here.
'2013 was a phenomenal year with the Modern Irish Food TV series and the book was a phenomenal success. I've a family holiday planned for February; we go skiiing every year. Emily is in boarding school in Kilkenny and Sophie and Tom are in national school so I see them when I'm home.When I'm home I'm with the family all the time.'
WILLIAM J. RYAN BUSINESSMAN
'Just like so many others, over the years I've made many a New Year's Resolution. Few if any did I stick with, even the easy ones, but from time to time I did surprise myself by sticking with a few but never for the whole year!
'Now I can't believe another year has passed and I haven't become a better person. I'm determined 2014 will be different, well at least I'll try. For no other reason but to say goodbye to 2013 as it was not one of the more memorable of years for me.
'So this year I'm going to try and make amends and make two resolutions. The first is to be a little more tolerant and understanding of people and the second is to be the next James Bond. It will be interesting to see which I'll achieve, but I'm quietly confident of the Bond job. I'd like to wish all my family, friends (God knows I have so few) and even those that think I'm not such a nice person, a truly wonderful, happy and peaceful New Year.'
William J Ryan is owner of the Town & Country Mercantile store in New Ross.
BRIAN MACMAHON PRINCIPAL, CBS NEW ROSS
'2014 promises to be an historic year for the CBS Primary school as well as for the other two primary schools in New Ross in that 2014 should be the last year of their existence. We should, at long last, see work starting on the long-promised co-educational facilities for the children of New Ross in March and it is envisaged that the new schools will open their doors for the first time in September 2015.
'2014 will indeed be an historic year for education in New Ross and one of my New Year's resolutions is to enjoy every minute of the last full year of the CBS which has been serving the boys of New Ross since 1849, while at the same time diving headlong into the preparations for our new school.
'The New Ross and District Pipe Band will continue to occupy a lot of my time in the coming year. Having won two World Championships and two All Irelands in the past two years, as well as a Scottish Pipe Band Champion title, there is naturally talk of 'three in a row'.
'2014 is an historic year for us in that we celebrate our 40th year. As part of our celebrations we are putting out a second band into competition for 2014 (our development band) and the big event of the year of course will be the hosting of the All Ireland Pipe Band Championships in the town park, New Ross.
'Because of the band's successes in Ireland and Scotland over recent years, the name of New Ross is very well known in the pipe band world. However, very few people know much about the town so we see the attraction of 70 pipe bands and supporters to New Ross on July 5 as a huge opportunity for New Ross to show itself off to a wider world.'
ALAN CORCORAN SOUTH EAST RADIO BROADCASTER
'2014 is a year that I hope will bring renewed optimism to the county.
'The key areas of unemployment, emigration etc caused a lot of hardship in the county during the last number of months and yet the often used "green shoots" are visible too particularly in tourism (with the JFK50 event and Wexford Festival opera being standout events), so my wish for the New Year is that we build on this and champion all that's good about our County.
'Sporting wise I would love to see our Senior Hurlers make the breakthrough to a Leinster title.
'On a personal level my hopes are to keep the finger very much on the pulse with the Morning Mix on South East Radio and in my social life to achieve all my targets re road races, particularly the Hope and Dream 10 in Enniscorthy and to stay fit and healthy, to enjoy the company of my family and friends and to enjoy many long summer nights in Pairc Garman with the Harriers and get to as many games as I can.
COLM O'GORMAN AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland Colm O'Gorman, who lives near Gorey, hopes that changes will be made at a national level to enshrine social, economic and cultural rights in Irish Law.
He said that his organisation will be working to ensure the Constitutional Convention enshrines rights such as education, health, and housing into law, when it considers such matters in February.
'We want to make sure we present a very strong case for why these really should be protected in the Constitution,' he said. 'As we begin, hopefully, to emerge from five years of recession, we need to look at how we should do things differently, because if we don't, then we will just limp on and repeat the same mistakes.'
On the international front, Syria is a huge worry. With 2.3 million refugees in countries surrounding Syria; millions more displaced internally; and more than 100,000 dead, Colm believes Europe's response has been 'pretty diabolical', especially when it comes to providing asylum and protection to refugees. He believes Ireland could push Europe to do more.
Ongoing conflicts in the Central African Republic and South Sudan are also of huge concern. 'The overarching hope for 2014 is that the UN Security Council gets its act together,' he concluded. It has proven it's pretty ineffective in the past couple of years.'
New Ross Standard