‘We need to leave tribalism and party politics at the door', says Cllr McDonald
Having been named vice-chairperson of the council, Cllr Lisa McDonald wasted no time in setting out her stall, calling on councillors to work together and leave tribalism at the door.
The Rosslare local electoral area recalled going to Castlebridge about an issue recently where she was criticised by some Wexford Borough councillors for being 'out of district'. 'I was born and reared in Wexford. We can trace my family back to the 15th century. I shop there, socialise there. I work there and employ people there. When I spent ten years in Dublin I always said Wexford was my town.'
Appealing to councillors to work together, she said a united front is vital if the county is to progress and thrive. 'We have to work together now more than ever before. People in Clongeen feel disenfranchised as New Ross is their town. We got it on the doorsteps that people didn't understand what was going on. People felt that democracy wasn't working for them. We need to leave tribalism and party politics at the door.'
She said the Boundary Commission's reshuffling of municipal areas means a district like Rosslare has no town in it, while people in Oylegate are all of a sudden in the Gorey district. 'We have to ensure a divided line on a map doesn't pitch each one against the other.'
Cllr McDonald said ensuring the Oylegate to Rosslare Europort motorway is finished within the coming five years is vitally important as is a third level institute in Wexford town. She said access to education is among the greatest issues for the county. 'We are the sixth worst county in Ireland in terms of primary pupils going on to second level education. That is a damning indictment on this county,' adding that better access to mental health is also vital.
CEO Tom Enright congratulated Cllr McDonald on her election as vice chairperson. He welcomed all of the councillors, especially the new councillors which form one third of the new look council.
'Most of you have been elected for the first time. It's a great honour and privilege that is bestowed on very few people. It's a great privilege and honour for you and for your families. I hope you take it very seriously and look forward to with you all over the coming years.'
Mr Enright said the next five year term will be critical for the future of Co Wexford. 'The bypasses will greatly enhance out county's connectivity and allow both towns to develop more.'
He welcomed investment in Rosslare Europort and Waterford Airport, which, he said, councillors will soon be asked to approve modest funding to support the extension of the runway to enable airlines to operate from the airport, which will soon be 30 minutes from New Ross.
He said a hard Brexit is a reality the county and it's businesses have to face. 'It will be a harder Brexit than we hoped for. It will present challenges for the county. Over the next five years we will see the delivery of our economic and commercial development plan. We will need strong leadership in this chamber to help revitalise the county to become a better place. While from a political perspective there will be different groups I would urge them to work together. That is a long standing tradition here in the council and I would hope it will continue. There has always been a very good working relationship between the executive and the councillors.'
New Ross Standard