Infamous red lines

On May 10, Wexford Corporation convened at Mayor Nicholas Byrne’s request. Throughout the Great War, Mayor Byrne was remembered for his visit to the Front Line to visit Wexford troops there.

He had assessed the sentiment of Wexford people to the outbreak of the Rising and supported the motion at the Corporation meeting criticising the rebellion.

The Rising was depicted as “a brainless exercise” and was destined to be a failure because it did not have “the support of the Irish people at large”. The Mayor’s decision to reprobate the Rising was seconded by Ald. James Sinnott.

Four years later on March 3 1920, under the Mayoralty of Richard Corish, the Corporation voted twelve votes to nine in favour of overturning the resolution passed in May 1916, denouncing the actions of those involved in the Rising.

The Town Clerk was advised to cross out the minutes of the 1916 meeting which he did by drawing two red lines through those minutes.

Ald. Padge Reck’s book about the history of the Corporation covers the reaction of the Corporation to the 1798 Rebellion. The minute for June 29 1799, instructed that medals be struck to commemorate the relief of Wexford by forces loyal to the crown who had protected the town and “rescued the inhabitants from a massacre” by the rebels.

The Mayor had the backing of the 15 members of the council present who were described as pro-British.

Wexford’s first County Manager, T.D. Sinnott fought in the Easter Rising and the following men from the town also fought in Enniscorthy and in Dublin and were jailed at Frongoch, in Wales, with the likes of Michael Collins, and Dr. Jim Ryan, Ed Foley, E. Murphy, J. Nicholas Murphy, Matt O’ Connor, Myles Redmond and John Sinnott. They were joined by six New Ross men including Phillip Lennon and Mark McGrath.

Meanwhile, following the events of the Rising in Dublin and Enniscorthy, an address of the House of Commons of Mr. John Redmond, MP., represented the voice of Wexford and his country.

On May 3 he told the House that the Rising “has been to me a misery and breathtaking” and said he had understood “that the danger of an outbreak of this kind was not a real one”.

He claimed that the Rising “has been dealt with with firmness, which was not only right, but it was the duty of the Government to so deal with”. At that time the executions had not taken place.

Mr. Redmond “begged” the Government “not to show undue hardship” and not add to “the miserable, wretched memories of the Irish people.”

He requested that the Government take “only such action as will leave the least rankling bitterness in the minds of the Irish people, both in Ireland and elsewhere throughout the world”.

Prisoners from Enniscorthy, including many Wexford town men, received a substantial police escort to a barracks in Georges’ Street and according to one witness, Robert Brennan, were greeted “by a large hostile crowd”.

“The crowd left no doubt in our minds as to what they wanted to do to us”, he added in his book, Allegiance.

The weekend before the Rising, frustrated volunteers in Enniscorthy were invited by the Mayor of Wexford to parade in the town capital, which was normal in those days before the insurrection. Many of the Enniscorthy officers declined.

Many of the prisoners from Wexford met fellow county men working for the crown while their future was being determined. In Waterford jail, at a preliminary hearing, the examining officer was a barrister familiar with Wexford Quarter Sessions.

A member of the Royal Irish who stood guard over the Wexford group in Kilmainham was the son of Anthony Doyle, the lime burner, from Drinagh.

In Waterford jail, one of the guards who fed the Wexford prisoners was Tommy Gorman who wore the uniform of the British Lancers.

What Pearse said in Athenaeum

Enniscorthy was the last location in Ireland to surrender on Easter 1916 after receiving direct orders from Commandant P.H. Padraig Pearse. The Athenaeum was unoccupied by the Irish Volunteers throughout the Rising and was the last garrison to surrender in the country. On March 1, 1916, from the stage of the Athenaeum, Padraig Pearse gave one of his last speeches before his execution eight weeks later. The event commemorating Robert Emmet, leader of the 1803 rebellion, was one of the most significant public gatherings in Enniscorthy. The speech given by Pearse highlighted the ongoing fight of the Irish people against British forces and provided an insight into the activities of the Irish Volunteers.

“Other generations have fought for the cause and failed to achieve it but they have left a nobly memory and example. The generation now growing old has led Ireland for thirty years and in all that time has produced no man to say or do a splendid thing,” said Pearse.

“The reason I think, is that they have made nationality a material thing, a thing bound up with temporal and material interests. They have thought and talked and preached of freedom as a thing to be haggled over and negotiated, a thing to be begged and debated, not as a glorious thing to be achieved. They have failed to see in the nation the image and likeness of God. As a result they failed, failed in everything, even in the small material things they tried for.

“What is the true definition of a nation, and of freedom It is not to be found in the statute books of a nation’s enemies, it is to be sought in the hopes of the nation’s heroes and martyrs. Irish nationality has a creed as definite as a religious creed and that creed cannot be amended to serve temporary interests. The creed cannot be altered to suit times or circumstances. It stands forever, and its first article is, I believe in one Irish Nation, and that free.”

Enniscorthy is remembered as the only town outside of Dublin to rise in Easter 1916. For four days the town was controlled by local Irish Volunteers and Cumman na mBan members while the Irish tricolour flew over the Athenaeum. There was a strong Irish Republican Brotherhood presence in the town and in the local Volunteers.

“We have named the Apostles of Irish Nationality, we now come to speak of one of the martyrs. Emmet’s significance is that he came at a time when traitors has bartered Ireland and reminded the people by his bloody sacrifice of the divinity of the Irish nation. From Emmet’s day we look away back to the Battle of Kinsale in 1602, when the Northern Earls who stood between the Gaelic nation and its enemies were overthrown, and the end seemed to have come,” said Pearse in Enniscorthy.

“During the terrible period that followed it was the Gaelic poets who kept the life of the nation burning, going to and fro among the enslaved people and singing to them of their great heritage, and bidding them keep heart. Cromwell and William’s planters were absorbed in the life of the hidden nation, and in a hundred years their descendants were winning a Parliament from England by the arms of the Irish Volunteers. But the men who won that Parliament made a fatal mistake, they trusted England. They gave up their arms with which they won their liberty, and those very arms were used against the Irish people in ’98. Then came the Act or Union, the greatest infamy, but one, that has ever fallen on Ireland. ”

The 1916 Rising in county Wexford was seen as the most important event outside Dublin in terms of longevity, the amount of people involved and the extent of territorial control exercised. On April 27, 150 Volunteers grouped together outside the arms depot at Keegan’s house in Irish Street and took possession of the Athenaeum, setting up headquarters there. On Monday May 1, 2,000 English troops entered Enniscorthy and 375 people were arrested.

“Irishmen sold their country as never before it had been sold. But Emmet rose and redeemed Ireland. By his sacrifice he saved Ireland from the disgrace of acquiescing in the Act of Union. If Emmet had not redeemed Ireland then it would be a vain thing to dream of it today,” Pearse said in the Athenaeum.

“Robert Emmet. A traitor? No. But one of the truest men who ever lived. In our churches, the people stand as the Gospel is read to signify their willingness to fight for its truth. I think it would not be inappropriate if we stood while these words are read. When my country takes her rightful place among the nations of the heart, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written. God may even grant us, though so unworthy to achieve the wonderful thing for which so many worthier strove in vain.”

At the time of the Rising, Padraig Pearse was Commandant P.H. Pearse and he was executed on May 3 1916.


ICSA president condemns new measures

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association met with Bord Bia to discuss farmer frustration with the Quality Assurance Scheme audits and the proposed new producer standard. ICSA president Patrick Kent said he was shocked at suggestions that old cows, bulls and rams might not be accepted even from a fully quality assured farm.

Mr. Kent said: “The potential for meat factories to completely refuse to handle such stock cannot be contemplated and ICSA is adamant that any efforts to put this into the new rules would be totally unacceptable. These animals are already excluded from meat factory bonuses so any efforts to deem them as not quality assured must be treated with the utmost suspicion.”

The ICSA president feared that old cattle prices will be reduced and that they would not accept age limits imposed in the Quality Assurance Scheme. He said  it is unacceptable that farmers are being thrown out of the scheme as a result of the discrimination against cattle and sheep farmers compared to dairy farmers.

Mr. Kent added: “We believe that a farmer who fails an audit is entitled to a period of grace to rectify shortcomings before his livelihood is undermined. Dairy farmers already have that leeway, we cannot accept anything less for our members.”

Bord Bia reassured the ICSA that farmers will not have to hire a professional to draft a farm safety risk assessment or a farm safety statement on farms with more than three employees.


German retailers criticised over cost prices

Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Éamon Ó Cuív has condemned certain German retailers as reports emerged that prices of fresh produce were reduced below the cost of production. This is the latest example of supermarkets selling their fruit and vegetables below cost price.

Deputy Ó Cuív said: “Horticulture producers will have no future in this country unless concrete action is taken to immediately ban the below cost selling of fruit and vegetables.  Fianna Fáil is firmly committed to ensuring this policy implemented.”
A proposal for a Food Ombudsman has been put forward based on the Groceries Code Adjudicator model in the UK which protects primary producers in law.
The Food Ombudsman would act as an independent arbitrator and oversee trade between supermarkets and their suppliers. This would ensure that large supermarkets treat direct suppliers fairly and conform with the law. The Ombudsman would also have power to investigate complaints and adjudicate in disputes.

Deputy Ó Cuív added: “Farmers are seriously contemplating the viability of the horticulture sector, as they are finding it increasingly difficult to break even as a result of the multiples’ practice of below cost selling.  Fianna Fáil will continue to fight for a fair price for producers to ensure that farmers are protected and supported so that this important industry can continue to grow.”

Comedy sketch for one night only

Val O’Donnell of Bare Bodkin Theatre Company will present his humorous Flann’s Yer Only Man to the Wexford Arts Centre. O’Donnell re-enacts extracts from  Irish novelist Flann O’Brien’s novels and his renowned Cruiskeen Lawn column in the Irish Times. These are linked with key biographical events in the author’s life.

Performed first in the Palace Bar, Fleet St., Dublin in 2011 to mark the centenary of the writer’s birth, since then including theatre performances, it has played at Listowel Writers’ Week Literary Festival, the Flann O’Brien Literary Festival in Strabane and the Swift Satire Festival in Trim.

The event which takes place on Friday March 26 at 8pm is based on the life and work of Flann O’Brien, aka Myles na Gopaleen, aka Brian O’Nolan (1911-1966) who is regarded as a fine Irish author.

Book online €15/13 (no booking fee) or contact 053 9123764

Traditional music with a modern twist

A young traditional music group are set to perform for visitors to the Wexford Arts Centre. This three-piece traditional/new folk group have a distinctive contemporary style which combines popular traditional songs with elements of ethnic, jazz and country. The Carty Sisters have an energetic style playing traditional tunes with a youthful liveliness. This youthful group has performed at a wide range of concerts and festivals throughout Ireland and has opened shows for Irish music stars including Sean Keane, Louise Morrissey and Sharon Shannon.

Saoires, Naoise and Ciara aged 16, 14 and 11 respectively are a traditional music group from New Ross. The Carty Sisters will perform at the Wexford Arts Centre on Friday March 18 at 8:30pm.

Book online €10/8 (no booking fee) or 053 9123764

Classical jazz duo performance

Musical touring artists Olivia Trummer and Swiss vibraphone player Jean-Lou Treboux will perform at Greenacres, Selskar with their unique blend of classical music inspired jazz. The duo who are influenced by composers such as Bach, Mozart and Scarlatti have produced a recording project called C2J One which is sponsored by Bayer Kultur. This has been produced to coincide with their touring project.

Both artists have showcased their talents at the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, Fränkischer Sommer in 2014 and Magdeburger Domfestspiele in 2015. Having achieved widespread acclaim as a jazz pianist, singer and songwriter Trummer now combines her classical music talent with jazz to create a captivating performance. For the first time both sides of this young artist come together in this project. Their show is set to take place on Wednesday March 9 at 8pm.

Book online €15 (no booking fee) or contact 053 9123764


Wexford drummer Kevin Lawlor will play the music of jazz star Charlie Parker as part of a quartet with Pat Molitor on piano, and Waterford musicians Adam Nolan on Saxophone and Sean Carey on bass guitar.

Bird, as Charlie Parker was known, was one of the pioneers behind the bebop era of jazz in the 1940s and 1950s. He was a composer and saxophonist who was an influence on popular jazz musicians that followed.

Lawlor said: “Myself and Pat put this group together to play music that we are fans of playing as much as listening to. Parker’s music is dense but also memorable and catchy. It’s also great that we have the guys from Waterford coming to play, there are some really great jazz musicians around the South-East with the music courses in WIT and also in County Wexford School of Music so this is an acknowledgement of local talents too.”

IFA Dairy delegates discuss milk prices

Following the fall in the Global Dairy Trade auction by 2.8% this week, Irish Farmers’ Association National Chairman Jer Bergin led an IFA Dairy delegation to meet with Department of Agriculture Secretary General Aidan O’ Driscoll and some of his senior officials.

The IFA delegation called for the earliest possible reconvening of the Dairy Forum. National Dairy Committee Chairman Sean O’Leary, Acting General Secretary Bryan Barry and IFA Dairy Executive Catherine Lascurettes were on the IFA delegation.

Jer Bergin said: “We have made a persuasive case that all stakeholders need to be brought together at this stage, to co-ordinate necessary strategic action by industry, banks, Teagasc and Government. This is vital, as farmers will receive their first meaningful milk cheque of the year for February milk in March, and find their cash flow severely constrained by low constituents, lower volumes and the need for greater expenditure on feed.”

Sean O’ Leary said with unchanged base milk prices, farmers could see their February milk cheque return 6c per litre less than their last cheque in November. “We have been highlighting the severe cash flow problems this will create for several months now, and need to see joined-up action by co-ops, Teagasc, banks and Government, to provide farmers with continued price and budgeting support and short term finance options over the coming few months.”

Mr. O Leary added: “Yesterday’s EU Agriculture Council set up an important discussion for the next Council meeting in March on what measures may be needed to deal with the continuing impact on EU dairy farmers of the prolonged market downturn. It is vital that the industry would have a well thought out input in this matter, at a time when some member states are seeking EU measures to penalise increased production.”

Security advice for farmers

Irish Farmers’ Association Crime Prevention Executive Colin Connolly has offered security advice to help farmers reduce their chances of being targeted by criminals.  He has advised farmers to put in appropriate measures to prevent criminals from entering private property.

Mr. Connolly said: “Physical and or visible deterrents will demonstrate to the criminal a clear indication that the owner of the property is security conscious. Many criminals look for obvious signs of deterrent or protection, such as lighting, CCTV, alarms or passing traffic.

“Establishing a robust, defined boundary will make it harder to access the property and criminals don’t want the hassle, the chances of their success reduces as they deal with each obstacle.”

He also recommended farmers establish a clear entrance and exit to their property and place CCTV and lighting at this point. A secondary gate can be an effective safeguard against potential criminals.

Mr. Connolly added: “While opening and closing gates can take a little more time, their advantages far outweighs the time lost. Criminals tend to arrive by vehicle and they need to get this vehicle close to the property to load up. If they can’t get close enough they will move on.”

He suggested farmers should dig ditches where appropriate and keep hedges at a height where farmers can see nearby roads. This way a criminal is forced to pull in alongside a road or entrance and there is more chance of them being noticed.

Mr. Connolly advised farmers to lock and secure gates with resistant locks and invert or cap the hinges to prevent them being easily lifted off. He also suggested farmers should paint the gate with luminous or bright colours.

Farmers could also display a Theft Stop farm sign to send out a message to burglars that property is marked and that the occupants are security conscious.

People should make use of local community text alert services and social media to advise the community of suspicious activity. Having an active community group in place protects farmers.