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Monday, 22nd February 2021

Educate Together debacle a hard lesson for authorities

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City Group applauds the result of politicians and community campaigning together

The Chairperson of the Drogheda City Status Group, Anna McKenna, has applauded the successful campaign led by parents, pupils and staff of Drogheda Educate Together Secondary School (DETSS) saying that it taught the powers that be a hard lesson.

The campaign secured the full support of Greater Drogheda’s three TDs and other politicians in the region which led to a rapid reversal of the original plan announced by the Department of Education and supported by the LMETB - which would have seen a significant part of the St. Oliver’s Community School site being used by DETSS for an unspecified period.

“The sudden, shock announcement that the DETSS was going to be relocated away from its current location in East Meath to the far side of Drogheda was met by an immediate, clear response from the DETSS community and throughout the Greater Drogheda Region” Ms McKenna said.

“The proposal was anti-community and anti-environment and people wasted no time in mobilising to defeat what was simply an appalling proposal – made without consulting those that would have been most affected by it, adding to the stress caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Those who conceived and promoted it have learned a hard lesson.”

“Of concern to those parents and parents of students in all our schools is the lack of local employment and local Third Level facilities which results in too many in our communities across Drogheda; South Louth and East Meath having to make long, expensive daily commutes to work or study, mainly in Dublin. That’s something we all need to join forces and campaign for – real commitment to create local jobs and local Third Level education.

Both Louth and Meath Co. Councils are progressing their next County Development Plans and the Government is reviewing the Ireland 2040 National Development Plan. We have asserted the need for an urgent response to Greater Drogheda’s needs,” said Anna.

“We have seen the recent draft Louth Co. Development Plan, which appears to be ‘conceived in Dundalk; for Dundalk; by Dundalk’ as the main focus on development for education; industry and tourism is focussed on North Louth and its long tradition of being linked with Newry.

“In contrast, there is little focus on the need for stronger links between Drogheda and East Meath, and a submission to the Co. Louth draft plan on behalf of IDA Ireland would see them continuing to grow their substantial Dundalk presence, while it completely ignores the IDA blackspots of Drogheda and East Meath, despite being designated a Regional Growth Centre, similar to Dundalk.

“Our communities and politicians need to urgently address that and we always welcome contact and suggestions from like-minded groups and individuals who can contact us by email at droghedacitynow@gmail.com.”

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