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Plans back on track for Wexford to welcome up to 80 students from Georgia Southern University

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Mayor of Wexford Garry Laffan hosting a dinner for a visiting delegation from Savannah Georgia made up of business people and representatives of Georgia Southern University.

Mayor of Wexford Garry Laffan hosting a dinner for a visiting delegation from Savannah Georgia made up of business people and representatives of Georgia Southern University.

Mayor of Wexford Garry Laffan hosting a dinner for a visiting delegation from Savannah Georgia made up of business people and representatives of Georgia Southern University.

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BACK in November of 2019, the ribbon was officially cut on Georgia Southern University’s new outreach centre and campus, situated in the old municipal buildings in Wexford town. Representatives from the US university were extremely excited by the possibilities for their Wexford campus, having become the first American public university to open an outreach learning centre in Ireland.

There were big plans for 80 students to arrive in Wexford from Savannah the following summer. But then the world changed. Covid-19 hit and all of the best laid plans were scuppered. As travel shutdown, the Wexford building bearing the Georgia Southern logo remained quiet.

Thankfully that seems about to change as a delegation from Georgia Southern arrived in Wexford last week to check in with the project, re-affirming their commitment to Wexford and fostering links between Savannah and the south east of Ireland. They weren’t alone in that goal. Business delegates from Savannah also arrived tasked with getting the links established with Wexford businesses via the TradeBridge scheme with Wexford Enterprise Centre back up and running.

Rolling out the red carpet was Mayor of Wexford Garry Laffan, who was feeling optimistic that the project could now get back on track.

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"Eighty students were ready to arrive to Georgia Southern’s Wexford campus when Covid hit,” he said. “Naturally enough, that scuppered those plans. But the delegation from GSU are very committed to Wexford and plans are now being put in place for 80 students to start there next September.

"Those students are in the process of attracting bursaries etc to fund their trip to Ireland and those in the University are confident that Wexford is a comfortable and safe place to send them.”

Wexford County Council had agreed a deal to take over the old Adoration Convent at Bride Street Church for the purpose of providing student accommodation and Cllr Laffan says that’s still very much the plan.

"Work is continuing on the Adoration Convent and that will house the 80 students when they come over,” he confirmed. “It’s seen as an ideal location and those from the university were very happy with what’s going on at this side.”

Cllr Laffan was also feeling very positive about the potential to further grow business connections with Savannah post-Covid and was struck by the enthusiasm of the visiting delegations.

"Everyone is very keen to get these links back up and running after a difficult time with Covid,” he said. “There’s a massive cultural link between Wexford and Savannah and its a location where countless Wexford people would have arrived into the US historically. There are some very good guys working on TradeBridge on both the Wexford and Savannah side and I think it’s a really positive thing that will hopefully only grow further.”


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