What happened in Wicklow this week: Weekly roundup 17/11/2019

31 Wicklow clubs benefit from Sports Capital Grants

Minister Simon Harris TD today announced that 31  Wicklow sports clubs are to receive just under €1.1million in Government funding through the Sports Capital Grant.

Speaking about the announcement, Harris said:

“I am delighted that the funding announced today is going to benefit 31  clubs in Wicklow. Between them they will receive €1,079,820. Active engagement in sports not only helps keep young people healthy, but also builds confidence, independence and promotes team building.

“This important Government funding will greatly benefit sports clubs across Wicklow over the coming year. The Sports Capital Programme was re-instated by Fine Gael in 2012, after it was cut by Fianna Fáil in the wake of the economic crash. It is a real lifeline for teams, clubs and organisations here in County Wicklow.”

Among the Wicklow clubs and projects to benefit are:

•                     Bray Emmets GAA Club – for flood light pitches and improved facilities

•                     Greystones Cricket Club – New Farankelly Ground and equipment Project

•                     Donard Glen Gaelic Football Club – for facilities improvements

•                     Kiltegan GAA Club – renovation & extension to club house

•                     Newcastle Community Centre – for installation of showers and changing facilities

•                     Our Lady’s School Rathdrum – for a new school hall and mutli sport facility

The Minister for Health continued to express the importance of encouraging people from Wicklow to participate in sport.

“I know that the Wicklow clubs and organisations receiving this funding today will make great use of it to the benefit of local communities.

“It is so important to encourage people to play sport. Not only is it good for their physical health but it benefits their mental health too. Supporting sports teams, clubs and organisations is also tantamount to supporting community engagement and helps to foster strong community spirit.

“Investment in sport is also a really worthwhile policy objective for Government from a health point of view. Society reaps the rewards through improved health of the population. This is more important than ever with the rise in obesity.

“I look forward to continued success for all of our local clubs and sporting organisations,” concluded Harris.

Arklow contributes to half of raw sewage entering the environment according to EPA report

Arklow is one of three towns contributing to half of the raw sewage entering the environment every day without treatment, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA stated that sewage from the equivalent of 77,000 people in 36 towns and villages is released into the environment every day without treatment.

Half of this raw sewerage comes from Arklow in County Wicklow, along with Cobh in Cork and Kilmore Quay in Wexford, according to the report released by the EPA today.

It also said that 21 cities and towns – including Dublin and Cork – had waste water treatment plants that did not meet EU standards, a reduction from the 28 in 2018.

The director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement, Tom Ryan, said that inadequately treated waste water could pollute the environment and pose a risk to people’s health. 

“We are seeing repeated delays in providing treatment for many areas and it is not acceptable that 12 towns and villages will still have no waste water treatment by the end of 2021,” said Ryan, commenting on the report. 

“Irish Water must speed up its delivery of key infrastructure,” concluded Ryan.

Rondo Food issue statement on Arklow operation

The Management of RONDO FOOD Ireland Ltd. informed their staff on Friday the 8th of November 2019 that a relocation of its Arklow operation to Krefeld is under consideration. As a result of negative financial results since the acquisition of the former Gaines Europe Ltd., a consultation process will now begin with the staff representatives. There is a possibility that the plant in Arklow will close in January 2020.

The production facility in Co. Wicklow was taken on by the RONDO FOOD Group in 2011; its goal was to develop its business outside Europe. Over the past few years, there have been considerable investments in modernisation, new technologies, logistics and in the employment of specialists. Despite these efforts, the necessary turnover has not been reached in order to achieve viable financial results for the company.

“In recent years our team in Arklow has worked with immense dedication to develop the plant successfully. We are extremely grateful for their commitment and all the support that we have received. Unfortunately, the financial results are not satisfactory; we cannot jeopardise the entire RONDO FOOD Group and now have to consult with the Works Committee how the current situationin Arklow can be addressed ,” explained RONDO FOOD’s Management.

Calls for N11 upgrade to be fast-tracked

Social Democrats Candidate for Wicklow Cllr. Jennifer Whitmore has called for the proposed N11 project to be fast-tracked, following the National Roads Office (NRO) consultation of the proposed N11/M11 upgrade.

Speaking from the consultation meeting on the upgrade, Cllr. Whitmore said “The proposed start date for this upgrade is 2027 at the very earliest. On top of this, the NRO, who are managing the project, have said that they have no clarity on how long the project will take, as they are uncertain at this stage what the works will entail, or when funding will be provided for it. 

“The people of Wicklow cannot wait another 10-15 years before improvements are made to the N11. The traffic chaos that faces commuters on a daily basis is having a significant impact on the quality of their lives at the moment. And it will get worse and worse over the next few years as additional developments are built. The Government needs to address this issue with a sense of urgency. 

“The project needs to be fast-tracked as a start date of 2027 is not acceptable. It is possible for this to happen under the National Development Plan, which allows for concessions to be given to heavily congested roads. The Government must make that happen for the N11. Otherwise, Wicklow is at risk of coming to a complete standstill.

Whitmore concluded “It is also critical that public transport is central to any proposed upgrade. There is little point in just widening roads and adding more lanes without making them public transport only. It has been demonstrated all over the world that new roads will just fill with new cars. It does not solve the problem. The only sustainable solution is to ensure that bus and car pooling lanes are provided, with park ’n rides at junctions along the route. We cannot take a short-term view of this problem, or we will be back at another consultation in 15 years time, trying to solve the same problem all over again. “

Wicklow artist to launch festive single in Wicklow Town

Wicklow’s very own West End and Panto star Rob Vickers will be officially launching his brand new Christmas single, “Christmas all over again”, at the switching on of the lights in Wicklow Town on Saturday, November 23.

Rob and his band will welcome Santa to the town for the switching on of the lights with a performance of the new song, along with many other festive favourites.

“Christmas all over again” is now available for download on all major platform, including Spotify, Itunes and Google Play.

Speaking ahead of the day, Rob said – ” I’m delighted to be a part of bringing the Christmas magic to my hometown of Wicklow and can’t wait to have you singing along with me.”

The Wicklow Pipe Band and Wicklow Community Choir will also be performing on the day.

The Santa parade will begin at 4pm in The Market Square and conclude with the turning on of the Christmas lights in Fitzwilliam Square, where all musical acts will take place.

Wicklow Motorsport driver named finalist for Young Racing Driver of the Year

British Monoposto 1000 Championship driver Max Hart has been named one of three finalists for the Motorsport Ireland Young Racing Driver of the Year award.

Hart, a leaving cert student from Baltinglass, finished second in the British Monoposto 1000 Championship this year, claiming two race wins and numerous podium finishes in his maiden season racing outside of Ireland.

The Motorsport Ireland Young Racing Driver of the Year award and the historic Sexton Trophy are presented to the individual who has demonstrated the most potential to represent Ireland at home and internationally both on the track as well as in the public eye. The winner will receive a €50,000 support package to help develop their motor racing career.

In addition, all three finalists will be included in the Team Ireland development programme run by Motorsport Ireland to nurture and support young drivers.

Last year’s Motorsport Ireland Young Driver of The Year, Belfast’s Charlie Eastwood, is currently leading the 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship in the LMGTE AM class, having recently achieved back-to-back wins in Shanghai and Fuji with his team, TF Sport.

The overall winner of the 2019 award will be announced at the MIS Motorsport Irish Motorsport Awards ceremony, which takes place on Tuesday, 10th December at the City West Hotel, Dublin.  The award is presented annually and is supported by Sport Ireland and Motorsport Ireland.

“I want to congratulate not only the three finalists but also all those nominated throughout the year,” said John Naylor, President of Motorsport Ireland. “All those selected to be interviewed in the process have shown great driving talent, which bodes well for the future of Irish racing.”

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