Wednesday 22 May 2019

Petition to save Market House

Local election candidates Diarmuid Devereux and Cllr Anthony Donohoe with their petition to save the Market House plans
Local election candidates Diarmuid Devereux and Cllr Anthony Donohoe with their petition to save the Market House plans

Cathy Lee

Fine Gael Local election candidate for the Gorey district, Diarmuid Devereux, has launched a petition to Wexford County Council in response to the change of plans for the Market House in Gorey, and it has already received over one thousand signatures.

'This is a once in a generation opportunity, never again are we going to get an opportunity for a construction project like this on the Main street. I refuse to stand on the sidelines and let the future of the town slip through our fingers,' said Diarmuid Devereux, of Gorey Chamber of Commerce.

This follows from the decision made by members of Gorey Municipal District in April to revert back to Market House plans originally made in 2012, dismissing the 'Vicar Street South' plans of designer Harry Crosbie, which had previously been on the table.

Diarmuid Devereux said that he and his supporters are going to make sure that they will stop this original plan going ahead.

'It would be absolute madness for the people of Gorey to sit back and let this happen,' said Diarmuid Devereux.

'Local people can still have their say and force the issue back onto the agenda, ready for when the newly elected council sit later this year,' he said.

Diarmuid Devereux created the petition for public awareness purposes and said that he is pleased the response, and that things are really taking off.

'The new event centre has the potential to transform Gorey. Combined with our great pubs, hotels and restaurants, a new event centre would put Gorey on the map as one of Ireland's top destination towns,' the petition reads.

Cllr Anthony Donohoe, who was the only councillor at the meeting of the members at Gorey Municipal District to vote against moving back to the original 2012 Public Realm plan, said that he supports the petition one hundred percent.

'An investment in Gorey like this would be spectacular and the biggest game changer for the town since the Gorey bypass. I was very disappointed with my fellow councillors who voted to revert back to the original plan, it's a massive step backwards and it's now up to the councillors to reverse the decision,' he said.

'Not a person in Gorey is opposed to some form of big development happening here. It could be an major events or meeting space for conferences, which will breathe some life into the centre of Gorey,' he said.

Wexford County Council describes the Market House building as an 'integral part of the Main Street in Gorey,' given its prominent place in history, heritage and the culture of the town.

In February, it was announced that €429,145 was to be made available to Wexford County Council as part of the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.

'With the petition we are trying to prevent this money leaving Gorey, we are not prepared to let that project and that investment in Gorey to leave the town,' said Diarmuid Devereux.

'This has to be put back on the agenda for the new council and if it has to be a compromise, so be it. The town is crying out for economic infrastructure,' he said.

'The budget that we have now will allow us to do something going by the original plan under Public Realm and we're committed to delivering on that, to bring people and new businesses to Gorey all year round,' said District Manager at Gorey Municipal District, Amanda Byrne.

'As a Council, we've gone through this process of trying to find an operator and the person withdrew. The money for the previous designer's plans, that was simply never on the table. We don't have the money for something like this, and we don't have an operator,' Amanda Byrne added.

'We're not ruling out anything else in terms of offers, but the members have decided to progress now, reverting to pursuing with the original plan and since the April meeting, nothing has changed,' she said.

Gorey Guardian