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Monday, 4th March 2024

Public reps must lead the way on submissions to Drogheda Joint Local Area Plan

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Brian Hanratty.

Public representatives should lead the way in making submissions to the Joint Local Area Plan for the Drogheda Area, despite its limitations says campaigner Brian Hanratty.

The community in the greater Drogheda area are fortunate to have access to a European Commissioner; an MEP; three TD’s; two Senators and seventeen councillors serving Drogheda and East Meath. In addition, the Ministers for Justice and Sport are based in nearby Meath constituencies.

“Despite all these formidable political resources, Drogheda is treated as the invisible, Cinderella city,” said Brian Hanratty, who has campaigned for years for Drogheda’s elevation to become Ireland’s next city.

“Rather than being a thriving city with its own Local Government management and other State services in situ, it is managed from distant Dundalk and in the case of coastal East Meath, from Navan.

“Over the years, a “Dublin centric” mentality has seen it being treated as a commuter town, providing workers for Greater Dublin and other areas. Despite massive population growth locally on both sides of the Boyne, the IDA has failed spectacularly to locate any meaningful Foreign Direct Investment in either Drogheda or East Meath, and there’s no effort to establish a University Campus here – something that was first mooted over five hundred years ago.” 

 “As a consequence, we see a massive exodus daily from Druogheda and East Meath as far too many of our people are forced to make long commutes to work or study, creating a huge social, economic and environmental cost.

“This has to stop” Brian urged. “People need to demand this from their political representatives.”

Brian is calling for each current and intending political representative to set out their future vision for Drogheda and East Meath – and make their individual submissions to the Drogheda Joint Local Area Plan along with their constituents for all to see on or before the March 15th deadline.

The plan will be developed jointly by Louth and Meath County Councils, and whilst it takes in little of East Meath, Brian is encouraging everyone to “have their say,” including commenting on the plan’s limitations.

“Their input to this plan can become each existing or intending representative’s personal manifesto – visible to all - whether standing for their local Council; Leinster House or the European Parliament elections” Brian said.

“When campaigning for election, they can also set out what they have already undertaken for the betterment of the 70-80,000 people in the Greater Drogheda area. Too much energy has been wasted on discussing whether Drogheda should encompass part of East Meath.

“With the launch of the first phase of the Port Access Northern Cross Route, soon Drogheda will be Ireland’s next city and its high time Government and its agencies started to plan for this by creating a senior Local Government infrastructure right here in Drogheda for that purpose,” said Brian.

“The people of East Meath have also been ignored for too long. The obvious solution to ensure they can share in the future prosperity of Drogheda City is to create a Drogheda Metropolitan Area. The precedent already exists with the Waterford Metropolitan Area encompassing that part of Co. Kilkenny that adjoins Waterford City.”

“The only game in town is the Ireland 2040 plan which commits substantial Government resources for development throughout Ireland. The current cities of Dublin; Waterford; Cork; Limerick and Galway are like the Premiership in that plan, having secured massive funding and commitments.

“Drogheda City Status Group and others locally fought to get Drogheda mentioned in that plan, but the politicians failed to deliver investment appropriate to our size. As we enter into an election cycle, every voter among our 70-80,000 citizens in Drogheda; South Louth and East Meath must demand a significantly better deal for what should be designated Drogheda City and the Drogheda Metropolitan Area which has a pivotal location on the Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor. We have been treated with contempt for too long.”

Brian concluded by calling on as many people and groups as possible – including all local public representatives - to make their submissions to the Joint Local Area Plan, while highlighting it’s inadequacies.

Full details of how to make a submission (for which there is no charge) can be obtained from Louth or Meath Co. Council websites which also contain helpful hints on how to make a submission. Submissions must be received by post or online by registering on on or before 4.30pm on Friday, 15th March 2024.

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