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Friday, 24th May 2019

Incoming Drogheda and East Meath councils must work together

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Posters for candidates from all parties and none - will they be able to work together for the benefit of the community?

Councillors must put party differences aside and work together for good of both areas

So that’s it, the election campaigning is over and today the people are having their say before the sorting and counting starts tomorrow.

But what is it all about you have to ask. Sixteen people have spent the last few weeks and months striving to gain one of six seats in the Drogheda Urban electoral area and another 12 are slugging it out for one of four seats in Drogheda Rural.

In Laytown and Bettystown it’s a similar picture with fifteen candidates chasing seven seats

But, when the dust settles, the votes are cast and counted and the ten Drogheda councillors are elected, what then? The councillors will be overworked and underpaid but they will have little or no power.

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The lucky few can look forward to long hours of work on behalf of the people but with precious little reward. They will get to attend meetings at which they can voice an opinion but the final decisions are taken by the Council officials.

The Local Government Reform Act 2014 changed the structure of local government throughout the country. Among other things it abolished all town councils which, because of its geography, was a disaster for Drogheda.

Because of its position on the boundary between Louth and Meath some areas of the town look North to Dundalk for its local government services while the rest, the faa side, looks West to Navan.

Inevitably perhaps, because it is on the periphery of both Council’s sphere of operations, Drogheda tends to lose out in all manner of ways.

This makes it important that, no matter what the final shake up is in Drogheda and East Meath, Councillors from both must continue to co-operate and to strengthen their ties which have only recently been established.

The reasons for this co-operation are compelling and have been well made on many occasions by advocates for Drogheda to become the next Irish City.

It will be important for the incoming councillors to put party differences aside and to work together to have the East Meath and Drogheda areas merged into one local government area to ensure a decent future for both.

The alternatives for both areas are just too bleak to contemplate.

This article was written by Andy Spearman

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