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Thursday, 21st January 2021

Minister promises Urban Area Committee for Drogheda/East Meath

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Drogheda - A river runs through it. Unfortunately that river is the county boundary between Louth and Meath and that has caused many problems for local government and development over the years. Photo: Andy Spearman.

The fact that Drogheda straddles the Louth/Meath boundary has created myriad problems over the years and hindered development in the region.

But now, in what could be a major game-changer for the South Louth/East Meath region, provision is to be made for Councillors in both areas to form an Urban Area Committee which will allow for the urban area of Drogheda to develop in line with the National Development Plan.

The machinery of government grinds amazingly slowly but Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O'Brien, TD, told local Deputy Fergus O’Dowd that, once certain details are ironed out, he is hoping  to provide for the setting up of Urban Area Committees in certain areas, including Drogheda, in the coming months.

In a written response to Deputy O’Dowd yesterday, the Minister said: “Provisions were included in the Local Government Bill 2018 to establish a statutory structure for local authorities to work together to ensure the proper planning and development of certain cross-boundary urban centres that significantly straddle two local authority boundaries.

“The proposed legislation would apply to any area defined as an ‘urban area’ lying within the administrative area of more than one local authority that, according to a Census of Population, has a population of between 5,000 and 100,000 and where the population applicable to each of the component local authorities’ amounts to at least 15% of the total or 5,000 persons whichever is lower. Urban centres that would immediately meet these criteria are Athlone, Bray, Carlow, Limerick City, Portarlington, Waterford City and Drogheda.

“Legislation to establish Urban Area Committees was approved by Government and included at Committee Stage of the Local Government Bill 2018, however it was defeated in the Seanad. A number of issues of concern were raised during the passage of the Bill including the membership number and structure of the Committees and the need to include adjoining Municipal Districts in the finalisation of a local area plan for an Urban Area Committee.

“The provisions initially tabled in the context of the Local Government Bill 2018 have now been updated to take account of those issues previously raised in the Oireachtas and it is hoped to bring forward these provisions to provide for the setting up of Urban Area Committees in the coming months.”

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