Thursday 23 May 2019

Wonderful reunion for former Wenaas workers

Edel Davitt, Carrie Morrissey and Margaret Stafford
Edel Davitt, Carrie Morrissey and Margaret Stafford
Kathleen Nolan and Deirdre Corrigan
Edel Connolly, Anne Hyland, Anne Mythen, Marie O'Connor, Margaret Mythen and Mary Hyland at the Wenaas Reunion
Marian O'Brien, Joan Wildes, Carrie Morrissey and Lisa Kelly at the Wenaas Reunion
Lisa Kelly, Marian O'Brien, Linda Sheil, Bridie Doyle, Liz Connolly and Maggie McCormack
Kathleen Lynch, Liz Dunne and Louise O'Connor
Gretta Fitzpatrick and Theresa Dixon

Pádraig Byrne

When clothes manufacturer Wenaas closed the doors on its operation in Bellefield 18 years ago, it was heralded as a bitter blow for the economy of Enniscorthy and surrounding areas. A major employer, at its peak the Scandinavian company employed between 80 and 100 people in the town, manufacturing overalls, uniforms and other items of clothing both for export and for Irish clients such as the ESB and An Garda Síochána.

While then TD Ivan Yates expressed his dismay in Dáil Eireann at the factory's closure, it also came as a devastating blow to the workers who had developed great friendships working side by side in Bellefield over a number of years.

There was an opportunity to rekindle some of these friendships recently as a Wenaas reunion was held in The Bailey for anyone who served their time in the factory.

'We had been talking about it for years,' said organiser Linda Sheil. 'At the start I had a list of 130 names. I managed to track most people down from Facebook and people sent me on numbers and that kind of thing. On the night we had over 70 people and I was delighted with that. It was a great night.'

Back in their heyday, the Wenaas crew were great believers in a night out and that hadn't changed this time out, even if they looked completely different to the old photos which took pride of place on the walls of The Bailey.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the catch-up and the party eventually moved across the bridge to D-Bar and on into the early hours!

Enniscorthy Guardian