YOU can’t argue with John Mullane’s passion for the Déise – in fact we could all learn a little from the De La Salle man, and keep it in mind as the national spotlight shines brightly on the Déise this week and across the forthcoming bank holiday weekend.
The World GAA Games is a fantastic opportunity to showcase our ambassadorial smarts, as are Spraoi and All Together Now, when thousands of visitors descend on the city, and a whopping 22,000 more on Portlaw’s Curraghmore Estate. So don’t be shy, wherever you find yourself, about all that is wonderful about the white and blue city and county.
The power of influence is widely recognised, and hence a growing phenomenon on Social Media. That power when it comes to Waterford rests in the hands of its most valuable commodity, its people. When visitors leave a place the most powerful memory they take away is personal connection. The welcome they receive, the local interaction they experience, the friendliness, the quality of service, the extra touch of milk in the fridge of an Air B&B, the contagious pride and love for a place.
So consider for a moment what you think is great about Waterford, what is so special. And speak about it! Reveal the secret beach cove, the favourite restaurant, the cosiest pub, the best music experience, the finest pint of Guinness, the most refreshing woodland or beach walk. Start that positive Waterford conversation rolling.
The latest annual South East Economic Monitor continues to make for grim reading when government spending is analysed. The corridors of power in Dublin have yet to make good on the Taoiseach’s word that more emphasis would be put on city-regions beyond the capital. This is particularly the case for Waterford – a mere 0.56% of major exchequer fund investment between 2018-2022 is earmarked for the South East.
This type of spend and lack of equitable focus on an entire region is entirely unacceptable. And it cannot be accepted. But we won’t win this fight from the side-lines – we must be on the pitch, playing our best game.
Our politicians must demand a different standard of political play – fair political play – for Waterford and the South East. And we must firmly keep our shoulder to the wheel to encourage that momentum. This has to grow from Déise and South East roots.
We have long been considered the gentle people but perhaps we need to dig a little further into our Viking heritage. Find our roar… or at least our best sales pitch.
We have always had the ingredients – and still do, including in our top-performing Institute of Technology and our vibrant, creative, imaginative people.
We were mad-cap enough to come up with Spraoi – what else have we got? Let’s be having you Waterford!