One More Thing: Ask not what New Ross can do for you
US president John F Kennedy in New Ross on June 27th, 1963. He famously surmised that if his great grandfather hadn’t left New Ross for Boston, “I would be working over at the Albatros Company”. photograph: john f kennedy presidential library
What would JFK make of it all?
A New Ross, Wexford, eyesore that was once closely associated with the assassinated US president is to be cleaned up by the property development company that owns it, 50 years after JFK’s visit to Ireland.
During his trip to Ireland a few months before he was shot in 1963, the president gave a short speech at the quayside in New Ross, his ancestral homeland.
He famously surmised that if his great grandfather hadn’t left New Ross for Boston, “I would be working over at the Albatros Company”.
The Albatros fertiliser plant that once employed half the town now lies derelict and asbestos ridden, with locals up in arms over its appearance.
Thomas McDonagh & Sons, the Galway-based property development company that owns the site, has been outlining its plans for it, according to a report in the New Ross Standard. McDonagh, which owns property across Europe, has set aside up to €200,000 to clear the site over the next three to five years.
According to the report, the company’s director Matt Jennings told local councillors it had “big plans” for the 60-acre site during the property boom. But it has since been unable to let it due to its toxic nature and a €120,000 annual rates bill.
“I would be lying if I told you we have plans beyond the renovation of the site at the moment. We hope that some of the plans we had could be resurrected,” said Jennings.
“We will consider any proposals made for the site provided it makes commercial sense. At the moment things are pretty tight.”
Not that tight, mind. According to its most recent set of accounts, the McDonagh group has shareholders funds of €72 million and it made a profit last year of more than €1 million on a €12.5 million turnover.
As JFK once said: “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.”