Councillor Joanna Byrne.
Two major issues, both of which are impeding Drogheda’s development, the lengthy delay in building the Port Access Northern Cross Route (PANCR) and the fact that the town straddles the Louth/Meath county boundary, were raised by Councillor Joanna Byrne at the October Council meeting.
The projects that have been approved under the second round of the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) is due shortly and the Sinn Féin Councillor asked Louth County Council to contact Minister Darragh O’Brien once again to give it give one final push by highlighting the importance of the PANCR and to stress the need for the funding application to be considered.
“The PANCR is such a significant project, essential for the development of Drogheda and South Louth” Byrne said.
“It is a vital piece of infrastructure that is needed on so many levels to take heavy goods vehicles out of the town and relieve traffic congestion.
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“It will also pave the way for further residential, commercial and sporting development throughout the Northern Environs of Drogheda. Without the PANCR none of this is possible.”
Director of Service Frank Pentony said he would write to the Minister this week.
Councillor Byrne also told the meeting that Drogheda people who are “languishing n the housing list” were losing out on the chance to avail of social housing in new housing estates under the Part V system because, although the houses are in Drogheda, they are just the other side of the county boundary in County Meath.
Part V obliges a developer to allocate a percentage of the development for social housing.
“There are several new private housing estates being built around the outskirts of Drogheda, still in Drogheda but falling over the boundary into Co. Meath” Byrne said.
“This means Drogheda or Louth people on the housing list are excluded or ineligible to apply for these properties.”
Cllr Byrne demanded that Louth's Director of Services for Housing liaise with Meath County Council for some cross-county collaboration regarding these Part Vs.
"Why should somebody born and reared in Drogheda be penalised like this because of a boundary? If they have done their time on the housing waiting list in their town they should be as eligible if not more so to apply for a house that becomes available in Drogheda rather than somebody from the far end of Meath. This is very unfair on the townspeople here and should be reviewed, some sort of cross-county agreement needs to be explored that stops Drogheda people being omitted from a chance of a house in these areas.”
Cllr Byrne also highlighted potential disparities between Local Authorities in the timeframes on housing waiting lists which could potentially see somebody 10 years on a housing list in Drogheda overlooked for somebody maybe 5/6 years on a housing list in parts of Meath to be successful in one of these houses. She described this as "exceptionally unfair to people in Drogheda.”
Louth’s Director of Services for Housing in Louth, Paddy Donnelly dismissed this idea and stated he was sure Meath's Director for Housing would be as unwilling to share their Part Vs with Louth as he would be to share his with Meath.
Speaking after the meeting Cllr Byrne said "this just once again highlights the need for a joined up approach to certain things by Louth and Meath County Councils.
“Drogheda is a unique scenario where it straddles both counties and the townspeople should not be penalised for that.
“I intend to explore this further and it could perhaps be something on the agenda for the upcoming inaugural meeting of the Drogheda and East Meath Councillors to explore.”
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