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Thursday, 11th April 2024

Drogheda candidate Shona McManus has integration motion passed at FG Ard Fheis

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Drogheda Fine Gael local election candidate Shona McManus pictured with Taoiseach Simon Harris.

She is a new face on the political scene but Shona McManus, who is running for Fine Gael in the local elections, is no stranger in business circles and in the wider community in Drogheda having been President of the Chamber of Commerce for two years.

Not one for hanging around, Shona attended the Fine Gael Ard Fheis in Galway last weekend and got straight down to business by getting a motion passed seeking an immediate review of integration models used in other countries following the closure of the D hotel in Drogheda.

Shona said she is passionate that the time for change in Drogheda is now hence her reason for running in the local elections in June as a new strong voice driving positive change for Drogheda.

At the Ard Fheis Shona proposed a motion ‘That urges the Government to conduct a review of integration models in other countries and specifically identify accommodation models that are habitable, safe and cost effective and do not necessitate the withdrawal of commercial hotels from public use.

As a local businesswoman, she is the founder and CEO of the recruitment company Osborne, Shona has spent time researching the current migration and integration model used by the Government.

Speaking at the Ard Fheis Shona said ‘at the end of March there were 100,000 people in state supported International and Temporary Protection Accommodation in Ireland.’ 

Successful migration and integration of these people into our communities is not a unique challenge to Ireland – it is across the globe and it will continue into the future with the global challenges that face us, such as climate change and war, causing displacement of people.’  

Having travelled to Berlin recently on business, Shona was interested to investigate how the German government has managed to accommodate and integrate millions of refugees.  

“Interestingly Germany has implemented a very different model to that of the Irish government, with the use of state-run accommodation centres and specifically built container villages, notably hotels are not viewed as an option” she said.

In Ireland, hotels have been used as part of the accommodation supply in part or full use. In Drogheda, alone, 2 of the 3 key hotels in the town are now closed and used to accommodate IP and Temporary applicants – the most recent being the D Hotel.    

Drogheda is Irelands’ Largest town, with a population of 44,000 in the immediate town and approx. 90,000 people when you include the hinterlands. This is a huge local population with relying on one fully functioning hotel with just 16 bedrooms to cover tourism, business, weddings, communions, confirmations, festivals, concerts, golf and sporting events.  

Shona put a very strong call to action to the Government at the weekend sayng:  ‘Whilst understanding and being empathetic to the extreme pressure policy makers are under to find solutions, we cannot have short-term thinking or poor planning.  It undermines all the good work and progress made to date.   

“We must have strategic, intelligent, progressive planning and decision making and joined up thinking that is values based.  And it must be complemented with effective, honest communication and consultation within communities to ensure suitable, sustainable migration and integration solutions are developed and implemented for ALL our communities across Ireland.’ 

‘Drogheda needs positive Government attention and action immediately and to the absolute best of my ability I’m going to ensure we get it if I’m elected in the upcoming local elections on the 7th June.  The changes and renewed energy within Fine Gael is hugely ambitious and incredibly powerful.  I believe Fine Gael and Government can and will deliver for Drogheda now fully for once and for all.’


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