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Monday, 25th January 2021

IDA ignoring Drogheda in favour of Dundalk - City Status Group

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Drogheda is being overlooked by the IDA says the City Status Group.

The Drogheda City Status Group (DCSG) has said that IDA Ireland appears to have no intention of making any serious investment in the Drogheda, Ardee or Mid-Louth areas.

This is despite the rapid population growth and high incidence of long distance commuting to work on the part of people in these areas and adjacent East Meath.

DCSG has discovered that the IDA is proposing even further land re-zoning in Dundalk which is already very well catered for in terms of employment - compared to Greater Drogheda; Ardee; Mid-Louth and East Meath.

On the eve of the closing date for observations on the Draft County Louth Development Plan, the Council received a submission from consultancy firm, Jacobs on behalf of IDA Ireland and other unnamed parties.

This submission advocates that additional land should be zoned for employment use in the southwestern part of Dundalk, expanding the current Business and Technology area there.

Already, the DkIT and IDA supported businesses provide thousands of jobs there, where there are also further substantial lands zoned for future industrial activity.

“The eleventh-hour arrival of this submission meant that no individual or group could make a counter submission ahead of the December 23rd deadline,” said Anna McKenna, Chairperson of the DCSG.

The IDA submission completely ignores a role for Drogheda – already Ireland’s largest town - when referring to the “economic potential of the Dublin-Belfast Corridor and in particular the core Drogheda-Dundalk-Newry network.” Despite that reference to Drogheda, IDA are focussing entirely on advocating that even further lands be zoned for employment in Dundalk at the expense of the south of the county.

Whilst the latest IDA Strategic Plan proposes an “Advanced Building Solution” for Drogheda - along with much smaller towns such as Cavan, Letterkenny and Sligo - no IDA building whatsoever is listed for Ardee or Mid-Louth.

According to Anna McKenna, this discrimination directed by a State agency against Greater Drogheda, Ardee and Mid-Louth is all the more serious, given their submission trumpets that ‘IDA Ireland’s clients create high-value jobs with average salaries consistently above the national average. As a result, IDA Ireland clients account for one-third of total income tax, USC and employers PRSI paid by companies in the state.’

“Imagine the positive impact IDA investment could have on – for example – the retail and hospitality sectors in Drogheda, adding more local jobs and creating more vibrancy in Ireland’s next city,” said Anna.

“Ardee, Dunleer and Mid-Louth are also ignored in the IDA submission, and we have to assume that East Meath is being neglected as well. It’s simply not acceptable.

“Now it’s over to all our politicians in Mid-Louth; Drogheda and East Meath to review the IDA’s planned approach which is referenced DR0435 in the submissions to the LCC draft County Development Plan – and vigorously oppose it.

"Instead, what’s needed is to urgently create zoned land banks in Greater Drogheda (including East Meath); Ardee and Mid-Louth appropriate to the scale of both the local population and local employment needs.”

The IDA Strategic Plan (Mid-East Region section) can be accessed here:

https://www.idaireland.com/getmedia/4caa3e4c-f68c-40f3-bc40-5902034514ff/IDA_STRATEGY_Draft_15.pdf.aspx

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