Minister for Planning, Housing and Local Government Eoghan Murphy TD speaking at today's M1 Corridor launch.
New M1 Corridor initiative must deliver significant change and jobs for the largest urban centre in the North East soon to become Ireland’s next city - City Status Group.
Drogheda has been identified as one of Europe’s top ten emerging “micro-cities” along with Limerick, Waterford and Shannon in a report in the Financial Times’s FDI Magazine ahead of the launch today of the M1 Corridor, an initiative to attract investment into the Drogheda-Dundalk-Newry region.
Welcoming the announcement, the Drogheda City Status Group (DSCG) said that they had been campaigning for city status for Drogheda for ten years.
“Now with the endorsement of a prestigious international business publication, both Local and National Government and State agencies, and their political masters, need to waken up to what the Greater Drogheda area can offer to both overseas and indigenous investors” said Anna McKenna, DSCG Secretary (left),ahead of today's M1 Corridor launch.
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“As part of that, they need to tackle the fractured nature of our catchment, split between Louth and Meath and managed in distant Dundalk and Navan as well as two IDA Regional Offices”
“We have great people, unrivalled infrastructure in terms of convenient road; rail; sea and air access as well as Ireland’s fastest broadband service,” said Anna, adding “but too many of our people have to make long commutes to find work or study in Dublin, creating a significant social, economic and environmental cost for the families involved.
“As a result, Drogheda suffers from the greatest daily exodus of working age population of any large urban centre in Ireland and this also impacts on both the vibrancy of the central area and loss of business for Drogheda retailers.”
For DSCG, a disturbing feature is how, in the part of Drogheda south of the River Boyne, the IDA Mid-East Region is responsible for attracting new investment. Drogheda is not mentioned on that part of their website, and IDA have only one tenant in their south-side Business Park, State Street.
To the north of the river, there is no IDA Business Park, and that part of Drogheda is managed by the IDA’s Border Region. Dundalk is the only centre mentioned in that section of the IDA website, which suggests several Drogheda businesses (including BD; Coca Cola; Yapstone; Boyne Valley; Nature’s Best and Irish Cement) are located in Dundalk!
“For the M1 Corridor initiative to have credibility, there has to be urgent and substantial change in the way in which the Greater Drogheda area is managed. All Louth Co. Council executive staff are based in Dundalk, as are IDA and Enterprise Ireland.
“In turn, almost half of Drogheda is in County Meath, so other decisions and activities are taken in Navan, including tourism promotion. At the moment, there is no proper singular leadership to drive Drogheda forward as it is on a trajectory to become Ireland’s next city and the first in the North-East,” said Anna, adding “we welcome Minister Murphy’s attendance today, as he has a key role in resolving the problems that beset our area.
“His office needs to urgently work with the two local authorities and other State agencies to put a proper, effective Local Government and job creation structure in place to manage Drogheda’s evolution into Ireland’s next city. Part of that includes fast-tracking the much needed Northern Cross route to open up the development of thousands of much needed houses on the north side of Drogheda, as well as facilitating easy access to the port from the M1 motorway.”
“We’re no longer standing idly by. The days of Drogheda being Ireland’s “Cinderella City” are over, concluded Anna McKenna.