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Monday, 6th July 2020

Councillors vote to start process of pedestrianising West Street

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Councillors photographed in West Street after they had voted to have the street pedestrianised at their July meeting this afternoon.

Members of the Council Borough District of Drogheda voted this afternoon to ask the Council to begin the process of pedestrianising the section of West Street from the junction of Stockwell Street and Duke Street to the Tholsel.

Proposing the motion, the Mayor, Councillor Kevin Callan, said that towns and cities around the country have found in recent times that closing streets to traffic has had a positive effect on footfall and has helped business as a consequence.

He said that West Street is one of the finest streets in the country and that councillors now had an opportunity to let it shine.

Cognisant of the fact that a previous attempt to pedestrianise the street had failed because one or two traders had said no, Councillor Callan proposed that “…we move forward with this process and let’s not get held back by what happened 20 years ago.”

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Fianna Fail Councillor James Byrne said that in fact the consultation process has already begun with officials already talking to stakeholders about the move which has been under informal discussion for some time.

Sinn Fein’s Joanna Byrne said that she too supported the motion and gave as an example how pedestrianising Prince’s Street in Cork had turned the whole district around in a short space of time.

She said that disabled access must be to the forefront of the plan and also that if the plan was to be a success it must include sufficient street furniture, lighting, public toilets and bicycle racks.

Independent Councillor Paddy McQuillan said that the process of pedestrianisation would not be straightforward but in the long run it would make Drogheda a far better town. He said that discussions with groups such as Chamber of Commerce, The Love Drogheda Bids company and others must be fully inclusive and that St. Peter’s Parish must also be consulted to ensure access to funerals another events.

Sinn Féin Councillor Tom Cunningham said that the Fleadh Cheoil ha dshown what Pedestriainisation could do for Drogheda but he wanted to see the negative aspects of the plan taken on board so that it can be done right from the start.  “We need to take out time and get it right” he said.

Councillor Declan Power said the project would breathe a new lease of life into Drogheda and add vitality to the business life of the town. “Covid-19 has changed the way we do things” he said, “Now is the time for Drogheda to take the lead.

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