Drogheda's three TDs - Imelda Munster, Ged Nash and Fergus O'Dowd and Dundalk TD Peter Fitzpatrick with at last year's City Status Group photoshoot to call for the PANCR to be progressed without further delay. Photo: Andy Spearman.
The photograph above was taken a year ago this Saturday. It’s not the most exciting photo ever taken but it is unusual in one respect - all three of Drogheda’s TD’s are in it.
The occasion was a photocall organised by the Drogheda City Status Group in the run up to the general election at Rosehall Roundabout which is where the Port Access Northern Cross Route (PANCR) will, if it is ever constructed, emerge and then link to the M1 motorway.
The photo-op turned out to be a bad-tempered and brief affair with the candidates all declaring their support for the PANCR which has been in the planning stages since 2006 and in the minds of local authority officials long before that.
Since that photoshoot the three TD’s have gone their separate ways and each has endorsed the PANCR as being vital to the future development of Drogheda and the surrounding region.
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There have been promises from the new housing Minster Darragh O’Brien and also his predecessor Eoghan Murphy but not a sod has been turned and the project is as far from a start, let alone completion, as it has ever been.
Meanwhile the housing crisis continues apace with the Council’s waiting list averaging eight to ten years and prices in the private sector being pushed ever ever further from the reach of a whole generation of young people.
The lack of IDA advance units, which the PANCR would provide land for, is thwarting attempts to attract new industry to our once thriving town and an army of workers travels daily to Dublin and elsewhere each day.
Meanwhile, traffic from Drogheda Port continues to grow but it is still obliged to move through the narrow streets of the town putting citizens’ lives at risk.
There is absolutely no doubt that this development is essential to Ireland’s biggest town and, whilst it was heartening to see all of Drogheda’s Councillors contributing to a joint submission to Louth County Council’s County Development plan, where are our TD’s?
In that general election Drogheda returned three TD’s for the first time in living memory but it has made little or no difference to the status quo within Louth. Each of them have pushed for this PANCR development separately but it hasn’t been delivered. If the Councillors can work together why can’t our TDs?
The time for party politics and grandstanding on this issue is long since over, it is time for joint action from our three TD’s on behalf of their constituents.
They must overcome their animosity and stand together, bang on tables in Leinster House and do whatever else is necessary to get this project delivered, it's one of the reasons we elected them. It’s also time for the Minister to deliver on his promises.
This article was written by Andy Spearman
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