The construction of Wexford's much-anticipated Min Ryan Park at Killeens is now under way following a sod turning ceremony attended by relatives of the woman the amenity is named after
The first sod on the 18-acre neighbourhood park costing €4 million, was turned by the Mayor of Wexford, Cllr. Tony Dempsey in the presence of Min Ryan's daughter, 97-year old Elezibeth Berney and her grandson Richard Mulcahy.
Situated near the new Loreto secondary school, Wexford's newest flagship amenity will feature surfaced walkways, parkland, playground, civic spaces, water features and a Great War Memorial and will be open to the public within 12 months after the first phase is completed. The modern public park will be accessible to people of all ages and levels of mobility and will have public toilets with a Changing Places room. Future additions will include a skateboard park and children's road cycling training facility.
Mayor Dempsey congratulated all involved in the project and predicted that the park will become significant addition to the amenities of Wexford town and district. 'I am delighted to be here to officiate at the start of construction of Wexford's new neighbourhood park for the enjoyment of the people of Wexford and the surrounding area', he said.
'The public has a legitimate expectation of the availability of high quality public facilities. With this in mind, Wexford County Council operates a programme of investment in a range of appropriately located public amenities, ensuring they are developed and expanded to keep pace with the growing needs of the community, with Min Ryan Park as the most recent example in this programme of public amenity development.'
Cllr. Dempsey paid tribute to Richard Mulcahy and the Mulcahy family for their philanthropic donation of €200,000 towards the development of the park in honour of Richard's late grandmother Min Ryan (1885-1977).
Min Ryan hailed from Tomcoole, Barntown, just a few miles from the park location in Killeens and together with her siblings and extended family played a hugely significant role during Ireland's revolutionary years.
Richard Mulcahy, who now lives in North Wexford, attended the sod-turning ceremony together with other members of the family. He spoke fondly of his late grandmother's strong Wexford connections and illustrious history, saying his family was immensely honoured to be associated with the development of such a fantastic public amenity for Wexford.
'On behalf of the Mulcahy family and in particular on behalf of my late grandmother Min Ryan I want to say how appreciative we are to have had the opportunity to be associated with this wonderful project. I cannot think of a more appropriate and enduring recognition of my grandmother's illustrious contribution to Irish history and I know Min herself would be very proud and honoured to be recognised and remembered in this way. I am particularly delighted that Min's daughter Elezibeth is with us here today to be part of this wonderful event', he said.
Wexford County Council Chief Executive Tom Enright described Min Ryan Park as an excellent example of a public amenity acting as a strong focal point in the development of the surrounding community, saying the decision to locate the large-scale development at Killeens was a strategic one, providing an important balance to the relatively high housing density in the area.
'Wexford is rapidly acquiring a reputation as a wonderful location in which to work and do business. As we attract increasing numbers of investors and workers to our county we must ensure it is also a highly attractive place in which to live, to rear families and to enjoy life', he said.
'County Wexford boasts an enviable range of high-quality attractions and amenities which are essential elements in the social and cultural lives of its citizens. Min Ryan Park is a welcome extension of those amenities, helping to ensure that the people of County Wexford can fully enjoy all that Wexford has to offer as a great place to work, to live and to visit.'
Mr. Enright also thanked Richard and the Mulcahy family for their most generous contribution.
'I can assure them that their gift will be put to good use in helping to create this very fine public amenity for the people of Wexford, while at the same creating a lasting and fitting tribute to one of the most remarkable and influential people in County Wexford's proud history', he said.