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Thursday, 11th April 2024

Drogheda’s exclusion from Living Cities initiative unforgiveable - Nash

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Labour TD Ged Nash.

Labour TD Ged Nash has said that the continuing exclusion of Drogheda from the government’s Living Cities initiative is “inexcusable and unforgivable” and that the scheme has the potential to dramatically improve the town centre.  

Deputy Nash said that year after year, as the Finance Bill is debated, he raises this issue and year after year, the government says no. 

“Each year I propose that the Finance Bill be amended to include Drogheda and successive Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil Finance Ministers have rejected my amendments” he said. 

“The Living Cities initiative is aimed at targeted regeneration of pre-1915 properties in city centres and while Drogheda has not yet achieved our long-held ambition of being declared a city, an ambition recently ruled out by FF Minister Darragh O’Brien it boggles the mind that Kilkenny is deemed eligible for the scheme when Drogheda is not. 

“Drogheda is much larger than Kilkenny and in much greater need of regeneration and a scheme like this, modest as it is, would help provide an important piece of the jigsaw to transform the centre of our town and tackle dereliction and vacancy.” 

Deputy Nash added: “Once again, I recently raised the issue with the Minister for Finance, and once again, I was bitterly disappointed with his response and his seeming disregard for our town. 

“The Minister simply says he has “no plans” to extend the scheme to new areas like our town but offers no explanation as to why that is the case. He cannot explain why cities smaller than Drogheda like Kilkenny and Waterford have all been included in the scheme in recent years, while the country’s largest town sits outside the initiative. 

“A total of 19 city centre properties in Kilkenny have benefitted from this anti-dereliction tax break while this government refuses to help our town centre in the same way. 

“Drogheda’s exclusion from the scheme appears to be down to nothing more than the mere semantics of the name of the initiative. If you are not a ‘city’, then please do not apply for help, the government is telling the people of Drogheda.” 

The Louth Labour TD concluded: “There is simply no excuse to exclude Drogheda from this initiative any longer and if this government does not see the logic in that, then it is time for a new government that will. 

“We have waited long enough for a serious approach to regenerating our town centre and the Living Cities initiative offers us a chance to kick start that process. Even at this late stage, I am calling on the government to review this decision and extend the scheme to Drogheda.”

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