Statement in full:
In 1916 some brave Irish Men and Women stood up for the cause of Irish Freedom as they were tired of the oppression being suffered by the Irish People at the hands of the British army.
They stood up for what they believed in and ,in doing so, they were initially ridiculed, taunted and laughed at by the very people for whom they were giving their lives to protect.
Yesterday we issued a statement that has drawn publicity from the Irish, United Kingdom, European, American and Asian Media. No football Club in Ireland has ever had so much publicity.
We have been laughed at for working tirelessly and giving hard earned money towards a cause that we believe to be far greater than just our Club Bray Wanderers. Our project is about Wicklow Sport and Soccer.
Rightly so we referred to previous social commentary comparing Wicklow to North Korea as regards business where it is an impossible place to do business or succeed. Anyone who tries to succeed is shot down.
The garden of Ireland has a terrible record of generating real business against it’s potential. Only last week Johnny Ronan was shot down for trying to build a hotel. People are afraid to spend their money on a planning application in Wicklow for anything as it’s feared it’s a waste of money.
If Johnny Ronan can’t get planning, who else will bother spending the millions to get a failed outcome from the Council. Businesses refuse to look at Wicklow for investment as they know how difficult a place it is to operate. The negativity emanating from Council decisions has created is, without doubt, the worst in Ireland. North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un, with the best propaganda machine, couldn’t undo the sheer negative connotation associated with Wicklow for business.
When talking about business take Bray. It’s a commuter town with little or no core businesses to drive the economy independently, Greystones is similar but progressing more and as you get further down the county it gets worse until you get to Arklow.
Talk about neglecting a town. Then you cross the border into Wexford and Gorey is booming, new homes being built, thriving shopping streets and economy. And it continues like that the whole way through Wexford.
What TD or Councillors have made a significant impact on Wicklow like the late Jackie Healy Rae did for Kerry, which allows them to say they made a significant difference. Dick Roche, when Minister for the Environment, let the money to build the final stretch of the N.11 be allocated to Waterford instead of his own constituency.
What have our TDs done for Wicklow which allows them go to bed at night or face their constituents and say” yes I did that, that is my achievement and I am proud of it”.
The people of Wicklow would rather have 5 Jackie Healy Raes who will sell the Wicklow votes to the highest bidding party so long as they get their fair share of the Government spoils for Wicklow once and for all.
That includes a sewage treatment plant in Arklow, a proper allocation of investment In tourism generation in Wicklow, a proper guarantee that some of the IDA jobs will go to Wicklow (as Enda Kenny took to Mayo), the extension of the Dart line to Wicklow Town,The Luas to Bray, extra Garda services to combat crime, investment in all the schools in Wicklow and real money to deal with the housing crisis in Wicklow. Finally some real investment in Wicklow sport. There is so much more neglect in Wicklow that needs addressing.
The people in Wicklow are tired of being neglected and if they had 5 Jackie Healy Raes who would finally get them some real results, I think the current establishment would realise their cushy numbers would not be so cushy.
Going forward we are going to invite the current members & technical staff of Wicklow County Council with elected representatives over the next few months to visit with us a Training Academy in the UK -specifically a trip to St George’s in England to understand how they have now turned a corner in producing good players again.
We saw this year that iniative bearing fruit in their underage teams winning top tournaments. With that knowledge we are going to design the best in class facilities.
An amateur sport as in the GAA developed Croke Park to be one of the best Stadiums in the World – why can’t Wicklow have the ambition to develop a world class academy? Although St George’s cost £105m for the UK national team that is for the whole of the English setup. We are not claiming to spend that much but our ambition will be to have a substantial spend relative to the size of Bray and Wicklow’s demands.
Because we have been reading cynical commentary should we just stop? Should the martyrs of 1916 have laid down their arms in first few hours of the revolution when they were being laughed at, just gave up and left Ireland under the control of the British?
We are being accused of being money grabbers. If anyone cared to read our statement we have been clear. We are going to hand the facility over to a Trust in favour of the people of Wicklow for the development of Football and other sports.
Some Council members have immediately shot down our proposals and would rather leave Wicklow sport in the same way they have left Arklow with no sewage treatment plant. In summer the smell and sight from the river is disgusting.
That is what Council want Wicklow football to resemble -the excrement and disgusting state of the river in Arklow. That is an environment which the people of Arklow have campaigned for decades to see solved.
We do not have accept it anymore. We will develop this facility and put in place a long term plan to deal with the long term financial future for the development of the club, collective Wicklow teams and maybe wider afield in Ireland.
We have taken a very unorthodox approach to bring this forward, but are we now the most talked about topic in Irish Football. Have we not achieved publicity never felt by an Irish League of Ireland team before? There are doubters to our plans but, rest assured, we are going to give the Club over to the Trust to be owned by the people of Wicklow as part of the construction of the new facilities.
We would ideally do that now and not have this grief we are enduring, keeping our hard earned money, but if we did it now the club would fold financially within days and there would be no club and no potential centre of excellence.
Imagine if people just supported what we are doing, helped get this academy built as a centre of excellence modelled on St George’s, imagine how good they will feel, imagine rather than having a negative outlook, they had a positive outlook, imagine if they weighed in with us, get this goal achieved, imagine how proud and good you would feel. Imagine being a politician in Wicklow and saying, “yes we did that, we created something great, something unique.”
Bray Wanderers FC