Wednesday 19 June 2019

Ship shape trust hailed

Petra Curtis Lions club president
Petra Curtis Lions club president
Deputy James Browne, Minister Paul Kehoe, Chairman of Wexford County Council Keith Doyle, Sean Connick CEO, Cathaoirleach John Flemingn, Cllr Lisa McDonald, Walter O’Leary, JFK Trust chairman, Minister Brendan Howlin and Cllr Michael Whelan
Carmel Rowe, Maura Murphy, Statia Gahan, Ruth Dickinson, Marie McWilliams and Ann Morrissey
Members of the original board of directors. FRONT: Sean Reidy, Patricia Quinn representing Paddy, Brendan Sweeney and Terry Rogers. BACK: Tom Clarkin, Kieran O’Grady, Ernest Levingstone and Eoin Minihan
CEO Sean Connick, Terry Rogers, director and chairman Walter O’Leary

David Looby

The economic benefits reaped by New Ross thanks to the efforts of JFK Trust volunteers over 30 years were praised at a special evening at the Dunbrody Famine Ship & Visitor Centre on the quay.

All former directors and the new chairman Walter O'Leary were gathered at a function at the Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience along with current staff and some of the workers who were involved in the original construction of the ship.

New Ross Confraternity Brass Band provided the music on arrival. Dunbrody centre CEO Sean Connick said: 'There was a general feeling of achievement by all present and it was an opportunity for many of the guests to meet up after many years to renew old friendships.'

A number of speakers representing the various organisations and bodies who have been instrumental in supporting and assisting the John F Kennedy Trust over the years spoke at the informal gathering, including Wexford County Council Chairman Cllr Keith Doyle, Minister Paul Kehoe, Brendan Howlin TD, President of the Lions Club New Ross Chapter Petra Curtis, former CEO Sean Reidy, Fáilte Ireland Development Manager of Ireland's Ancient East, Mary Houlihan, New Ross District Director Eamonn Hore and Ann Marie Kennedy Staff of the John F Kennedy Trust.

The final speaker was Dr Terry Rogers who was given a special presentation to mark his retirement from the board in 2017 after 29 years of service and commitment to the project.

The John F. Kennedy Trust was founded in 1988 to commemorate the President's historic legacy. It has been involved at every development stage of the Famine Ship and visitor centre over the years.

Current chairman Walter O'Leary has been a member of the board of the John F Kennedy Trust for the past five years and was Vice Chairman for the past two years. Walter is a law lecturer and Head of North American Development in Waterford Institute of Technology and was instrumental in the setting up of the Wexford Savannah Axis Research Programme in which the John F Kennedy Trust plays a pivotal role.

Walter took over the helm of the trust earlier this year at a crucial time in the history of the project as work is under way to develop a major extension to the attraction.

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