Wednesday 17 January 2018

Wexford: one of the best!

WEXFORD town is probably one of the best if not the best town in Ireland.

There is always something happening in Wexford town and County with a huge range of shows and festivals to choose from and when the sun shines it's a bonus.

We are very lucky to have a state-of-the-art Opera House our doorstep, but I do feel however it is under-utilised for concerts throughout the year. I don't see why at least one concert shouldn't take place every weekend. Other towns would give their right arm to have such a facility so I hope that in the near future this will change and the wonderful Opera House will be put to more and better use apart from the great operas that take place during the Opera Festival each year.

From the Wexford Opera Festival to the Enniscorthy Strawberry Festival to the JFK Festival in New Ross and everything in between there is a wealth of attractions in the Model County.

Last year we saw the arrival of the Spiegel Tent on Wexford's Quay front which hosted many shows and concerts and it's great to see it coming back again this year. There are so many great people out there working hard at putting together all these festivals, concerts and activities and we shouldn't under estimate the importance that they have on the local economy, the more people that we can attract into our town and county the more money that's spent which has major importance and benefits to all the local hotels and businesses for the sustainability and the creation of jobs.

The town is looking really well thanks to Wexford Borough Council, The Tidy Towns Committee and Wexford in Bloom. All the flowers hanging in their baskets outside the shops along the Main Street add great colour and charm to the street. The award winning quay from too looks spectacular and its no wonder it's so popular with visitors and locals alike who love to walk there.

Something I would like to see done is more town centre car parking created as I feel there just isn't enough space for cars at busy times. I accept that overall there is a lot of space, but not at the places where people want to be for a lot of people is fine to park at one end of the town and walk to where they want to go but this really isn't suitable for the elderly people with health and mobility issues or indeed when its raining. This issue was compounded with the sacrificing of a much-used and needed car park at Malin street to make way for the new library which in my view was a bad idea as it reduced the amount of parking spaces in town and hid from view one of the most historic parts of the old town wall.

However I think it is a fine modern building and a great facility to have in our town. Value for money too needs to be looked at in terms of parking charges as I feel €1.40 per hour for public parking is a bit excessive, I feel if it was reduced to €1 per hour it would be of enormous benefit to people who are struggling trying to do more with less disposable income.

There is a great choice of shops in Wexford and its set to get better with the imminent arrival of TK Maxx to the town and Meadows & Byrne to the Drinagh Retail Park which will increase traffic and footfall into town and therefore will be of huge benefit to all traders as a rising tide will lift all boats. Some people say that there are a lot of closed shop units in Wexford, I disagree, there are some but compared to the overall number of shops the percentage closed is very small and I feel Wexford is doing much better then a lot of other towns particularly inland towns were the numbers of closed units is a cause for deep concern for business community and local authorise alike. We are lucky in Wexford that we have a local authority that works well with business and is there to help and to serve to the best of their ability. I would however urge the council not to increase commercial rates in Wexford town when the town councils are abolished next year. The rates are a necessary form of funding for the council to pay for essential services and works etc., but some businesses are struggling at the moment and an increase in rates could send them over the edge, so keeping the rates at a reasonable rate that is affordable is the key to a good working relationship between all parties.

The future looks bright for Wexford and not only in terms of County Wexford getting the most sunshine!

Enniscorthy Guardian

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