Brian Hanratty of the Drogheda City Status Group.
Members of the Drogheda City Status Group tried in vain to speak with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar today during his visit to Drogheda to question him about jobs, housing and social investment for the area.
The Group has criticised the Government for the neglect of the Greater Drogheda area including East Meath, which they claim is a contributory factor in recent murders and shootings.
“For years, Drogheda has been growing rapidly and is now Ireland’s largest town, on course to become our next city, yet Government has failed to properly plan for this even in their “Ireland 2040” plan” said spokesperson Brian Hanratty.
He said the plan ignores how East Meath and Drogheda now have a population of over 50,000 - effectively the same size as Waterford City, and growing, but has at least 75 less Gardaí than Waterford.
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“At it’s current growth rate, Drogheda could become Ireland’s third largest city after Dublin and Cork by mid-century,” Hanratty said, “but nobody is planning properly for this. It’s simply not good enough.
“We’ve made several efforts to meet with An Taoiseach and Minister Eoghan Murphy, but they have ignored us. Now they can see the results of their neglect for Drogheda, Ireland’s Cinderella City.”
Community facilities are often lacking in the areas of greatest need he pointed out.
“A Community Centre was seen as a key need in the large Moneymore Estate managed by Louth Co. Council when it was first built. Twenty five years on, despite the community’s on-going campaigning, no community centre has been provided and the CCTV system set up by the County Council has not been in operation for some time.”
He also describes the Government’s failure to fund the Port Access Northern Cross Route (PANCR) as “an absolute scandal” at a time when Government is failing to meet demand for housing.
“This plan has approval for over 4,000 homes and is of national strategic importance. It will also eliminate HGVs having to make their way through Drogheda to get to the Port. The PANCR will open up lands for housing and enhance the attractiveness of our Port, creating much needed local employment,” they said.
Drogheda City Status Group (DCSG) have also been campaigning for Government and its agencies to create much needed local jobs to begin to address the mass exodus of local people from Drogheda and East Meath who are forced to make long commutes to the Dublin area for work or Third Level education.