The President of Drogheda and District Chamber, Shona McManus, chatting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Garda Superintendent Andrew Watters during the Taoiseach’s visit to the Chamber office on March 1st. Photo: Andy Spearman.
Drogheda and District Chamber has responded to media coverage of recent events in Drogheda with an upbeat message in which they point out that those involved in violence and drug dealing do not represent a true picture of the town.
In a statement issued today they welcomed the news of additional resources including 25 new permanent Gardai allocated to Drogheda within the month and say: “Whilst news of the ongoing feud has unfortunately dominated media reports in recent weeks, this thankfully is isolated to a small group of people and it does not reflect daily life or business in this vibrant heritage business town.
They point out that, with a population of approximately 50,000 people in Drogheda and the figure closer to 80,000 when surrounding hinterlands such as Laytown, Bettystown, Mornington, Tullyallen and Duleek are included, Drogheda is Irelands largest town and likely to become a city over the coming years.
“As a well-connected, yet civically minded community we are proud of our town and to represent our region, locally, nationally and at a global level. This pride was best manifested in the exceptional Fleadh Cheoil which we hosted in Drogheda last August (2018) and is taking place again this August (2019).
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“We are deeply ambitious and focused on both our social and economic development and growth for now and the future. The town has and will continue to grow and develop thanks to the vision, work, passion and drive of business and community groups, our Councillors and Politicians and local initiatives under the Drogheda & District Chamber, The Mill Enterprise Hub, M1 Corridor Project, BIDS Working Group, Drogheda City Status, Purple Flag Committee, Fleadh Committee, Fáilte Ireland, Boyne Valley Tourism, Louth and Meath County Councils, IDA, Enterprise Ireland & Drogheda Tidy Towns to name but a few.
“All of which have contributed significantly to steering and elevating Drogheda to the next level. Whilst we are ambitious and hungry for further development, there have been some wonderful success stories to date emerging from our local businesses in growth mode, new FDI and domestic business start-ups, increased job creation and a boost in our tourism numbers particularly with a record number of visitors to the town for the Fleadh last August.
Speaking earlier today, Chamber President Shona McManus said the town and business community are very grateful for the ongoing work of our Gardaí and the renewed attention and support of the Garda Commissioner and the Minister for Justice. We have every confidence that with the right resources in place Gardaí will address and resolve this issue.
McManus said “While the recent feud is of great concern, it is also worth noting that it is isolated to a small number of people. Every large town in the country has a certain level of crime which is handled on a daily basis by the Gardai. According to recent figures from the Central Statistics Office, only 1% of assaults/harassments reported nationwide in 2018 were recorded in Drogheda.
“While I understand that people are concerned about recent developments and as are myself and my team given we mostly work and live with our families locally, in general, Drogheda for its size and population, is a safe place to live and this recent feud is not reflective of normal life in Drogheda.”
Drogheda was recently visited by an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar who met with several local groups, including Drogheda Chamber, to discuss future plans for the region.
McManus said “We were delighted to host a very important meeting attended by an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar recently and we were happy with both the conversation, subsequent support and results that have been agreed.
“Furthermore, after the Fleadh Cheoil last August there was an enormous sense of pride amongst the local community for their hometown as many positive initiatives came to fruition. With this year’s Fleadh Cheoil only a few months away, the local community is gearing up to once again host another spectacular weekend of music, song, dance and community spirit.
“The belief amongst locals is that Drogheda should not be defined or associated solely with a feud, but with the amazing things that are happening in the region and town we are passionate about as a great place to work, life and study. Drogheda is at the centre of the M1 Corridor which as a region has already established itself as a place of global excellence with numerous high profile multinational and indigenous businesses established here.
“We also have a phenomenal pool of well-educated and talented people making huge contributions to the workforce, a strong reputation for start up’s and innovation, a collaborative mindset and a positive and committed community willing to do what it takes to see Drogheda thrive and elevated to the next level. The future of Drogheda is bright.”