The proposed sale of the 1798 National Rebellion centre gained a lot of media attention over the past two weeks..
The proposed sale came in for a lot of scrutiny from concerned locals. It was planned that the centre would be changed into a centre for Eileen Grey, an Enniscorthy native, who was central in the modern architectural movement.
Public concern was matched via an online petition set up by Colum O’Rourke, which was signed by over 5,500 individuals across both the local and national community.
Local councillors and TD’s also expressed their concern. Most highlighted how there needs to be a plan in place, especially in relation to where the centre would be moved to, should a sale be agreed.
Wexford Weekly can now confirm that the sale of the 1798 National Rebellion Centre will not be going ahead as initially planned.
A Wexford County Council meeting was initially meant to be held on June 29th. The proposed sale had to pass the Wexford County Council before an agreement would be made.
It has now emerged that the Wexford County Council have withdrawn from negotiations regarding the sale of the 1798 Rebellion centre.
We caught up with Colum O’Rourke, the creator of the online petition, who expressed his delight with the news:
“It was sent around to a few 1798 enthusiasts and even historians across Ireland. We weren’t surprised. I established the petition hoping it would gather the same momentum as Johnny Mythen’s petition in 2018 when a unsuccessful sale was proposed then.”
“We started to share it out across all social media and got support from across the board. The fact that Wexford County Council failed to release a statement to the rising anger only pushed us further. The councillors that showed us great support was Fionntan O’Suillabhain, Tom Forde, John O’Rourke and Cathal Byrne with TD support from Johnny Mythen and James Browne TD. We did not want an alternative site. We want this site cherished and dedicated to the memory of ‘98 as it was done back in June 1998.”
O’Rourke is positive about the future of the 1798 National Rebellion Centre, and with a collective of historians, he hopes to engage with the local centre to entice tourism:
“We desire to see improvement to entice tourism. A collective of historians, Trasna na Tíre, along with Paddy Cullivan (10 dark secrets of 1798), who were strongly involved in this protest, have compiled ideas based off successful heritage sites and hope to give them to the council or for the council to engage with them.”
Speaking on the matter, Wexford TD James Browne, expressed a similar desire to preserve the 1798 Rebellion Centre and to improve tourism to the historic exhibition centre:
“The Wexford County Council have withdrawn from negotiations to sell the 1798 centre. This is very welcome and I hope a plan can now be put in place to reimagine how we can promote this essential part of our history.”
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