French Ambassador is given tour of north Wexford
Gorey Municipal District try to strengthen connections with France through Crouzat
Gorey Municipal District Council extended a visiting delegation to a civic reception last week when the French Ambassador of Ireland, Stephane Crouzat, was touring north Wexford,
Invited by members of the Gorey Municipal District, the purpose of the trip was to explore how Wexford and France could further develop historic, trade, educational and cultural links.
Mr Crouzat, and his Scientific and Educational Attache, Marc Daumas, spent last Thursday in north Wexford, visiting Creagh College, Ferns Castle, Irish Country Meats and The Hatch Lab.
The Ambassador first called to Creagh College where he met with the fifth year Politics and Society class to discuss his career as a diplomat, Irish-Franco relations and the future of the European Union. Then he spoke with the senior cycle students who study French and spoke with them in the language. Mr Crouzat stressed the importance of learning languages and encouraged the students to visit or even study in France.
Then it was on to the Norman Ferns Castle, where he was given a guided tour by Christina Power. He also talked about the upcoming Ferns Heritage Festival with organiser Catherine McPartlan. Wexford County Council and Ferns Development Group are keen to promote and develop the Norman connections between Ireland and France.
A visit to Irish Country Meats (ICM) at Camolin was next where MR Crouzat was greeted by managing director Joe Hyland and his team, including French native and Master Butcher at the plant, Pierre Lelion. In a presentation, Joe pointed out that ICM was the largest lamb meat processor in Ireland and that France was their largest export market. The visiting party were treated to samples of lamb prepared by chef, Emma Keary.
The final stop was to the Hatch Lab in Gorey. Mr Crouzat had a brief meeting with County Council Chief Executive, Tom Enright, along with Jim Hughes and Diarmuid Devereux of the Gorey Chamber of Commerce, and explored how further business opportunities could be developed.
A civic reception was held afterwards, hosted by the Chairman of the Gorey District Cllr John Hegarty. It was attended by local businesses, guests and the French community in North Wexford.
Gorey has been active in developing a number of links with Bayeux and Normandy and it is hoped that these will grow further in the near future.
Cllr Malcolm Byrne, who took part in Mr Crouzat's visit of north Wexford, said after Brexit, France will be Ireland's closest neighbour in the European Union.
'We have real possibilities for all sorts of exchange and new business and the French party genuinely enjoyed their visit as well as finding it very informative,' said Cllr Byrne. 'We have challenges here in Wexford. We need, for instance, to improve the capacity and management of Rosslare Europort, but we must also now seize the opportunities of closer links with our Gallic neighbour.'