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Monday, 2nd December 2019

Denial of funding for Port Route an outrage says City Status Group

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The Northern Cross Port Access Route with the housing development in colour.

The Drogheda City Status Group (DCSG) says it is “an outrage” that the Port Access Route has been denied funding by the Government. It is "further evidence of the official neglect of Drogheda - Ireland’s next city” a spokesperson said.

““The Northern Environs Plan offers the prospect of providing new homes for thousands of families at a time when Ireland desperately needs to accelerate it’s house building programmes to respond to rapid population growth” the spokesperson said.

“This route is of key significance to developing Drogheda Port and urgently needed local job creation in the Greater Drogheda area. It will also end the traffic congestion; pollution and road safety risks posed by the large volume of heavy commercial vehicles forced to travel to and from the Port via the centre of Drogheda. This is completely unacceptable.”

The DCSG pointed out that in recent days, two local members of the Oireachtas – Deputy Imelda Munster and Senator Ged Nash have also expressed concern regarding the Government’s renewed rejection of funding for this short route.

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The City DCSG have called on Drogheda’s only Government T.D., Deputy Fergus O’Dowd to ensure his Government colleagues expedite this without further delay, and are concerned it is being delayed until the General Election is announced.

They have also called on other local organisations to demand from Government representatives that funding for this key strategic infrastructure is provided without further delay.

“The Northern Environs Plan and the related Northern Cross Route were developed well over a decade ago” they said.

“Initially, the Government’s draft plan ignored Drogheda, focussing only on Dundalk and Newry. Then, following intensive engagement by local individuals and organisations including DCSG, their Ireland 2040 Plan added Drogheda to the Dundalk-Newry axis, but failed to commit funding to strategic initiatives such as the Northern Cross Route, and two years later the position remains the same, further delaying Drogheda’s natural and orderly growth” said the spokesperson.

BACK TO A TOWN CLERK ?

The City Status Group have also reacted cautiously to a recent announcement by Deputy Fergus O’Dowd that a “Senior Executive Officer” will be appointed as a “Town Manager” to manage aspects of Local Government in Drogheda.

In recent weeks following the announcement, a representative of DCSG contacted Louth Co. Council who had no information in relation to these proposed positions.

“We are understandably curious to see full details of this proposed position that by coincidence, was announced at the same time that funding for the Northern Cross Route was rejected,” said the DCSG spokesperson, adding “at this early stage it is not clear who is funding these positions being announced by Deputy O’Dowd for Drogheda and Dundalk.

Neither is there any indication of their seniority; what exactly they will have full responsibility and authority for; who they will report to; and what financial and human resources they will be responsible for in Drogheda. At this point, we would be concerned that the position may only be a throwback to Drogheda having a Town Clerk – at a time when Drogheda, Ireland’s “Cinderella City” needs an appointment at Deputy/Assistant County CEO level that can “morph” into a City Manager in the near future. In any event, the title ‘Town Manager’ is entirely inappropriate at this stage of Drogheda’s development.”

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