Tanaiste Simon Coveney TD at the Village Hotel this morning with Cllr. Tolan, Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee and Shona McManus of Drogheda and District Chamber. On left is John Stillman who is a Fine Gael election candidate in Ashbourne.
Tanaiste and Minster for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney TD had breakfast in the Village Hotel in Bettystown this morning during which he briefed local business owners on the torturous and seemingly never-ending Brexit negotiations and also launched the local election campaign of Councillor Sharon Tolan.
The morning got underway with Drogheda and District Chamber President Shona McManus welcoming the Tanaiste and outlining recent developments in the areas of East Meath and Drogheda especially the recently launched M1 Corridor and making the case for inward investment.
McManus spoke about the large number of people commuting out of the area on a daily basis and pointed out that two thirds of them are highly qualified and would be a great asset to companies thinking of setting up in the area.
Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee, said that the three priorities for the Irish Government in the Brexit negotiations were:
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In the course of quite a long speech Mr. Coveney said that, despite all of the problems facing the negotiators, he could see a way forward and that Britain also needs to find a way forward.
He said he would like to see the British Government change their mind about leaving the EU but said that they would not be told what to do by Ireland. “Britain doesn’t do humiliation very well and they won’t put up with it for very long” he said.
He took several questions from the floor on local and business issues and perhaps the most apposite of these came from Drogheda businessman Paraic Kierans who said that he thought Brexit is inevitable but businesses “… need to know what the deal is so we can get on with it.”
Speaking about Cllr. Tolan the Tanaiste said that she was someone who has a much higher profile than is usual for a councillor and gets involved in national issues as well as local.
Wishing her well in the forthcoming elections he said that she had a bright future ahead of her in Fine Gael.
Because Mr. Coveney was in a hurry to make another appointment it was left to Councillor Tolan to answer some of the local questions:
Speaking to Drogheda Life after the event, Cllr. Tolan said she was delighted that the launch went so well.
“From my own perspective the reason I got involved and went on the board of Boyne Valley Tourism and the Louth and Meath Education and Training Board was to promote cross county collaboration of which they are two prime examples.
“That boundary between Math and Louth is invisible to me, Drogheda is my local town, it’s where I go to shop, where I go for entertainment – just like most people in East Meath, it is their local town.
“I think it is important that we collaborate going forward to ensure that Drogheda progresses as it should for the wider region and not just for the town of Drogheda. It is in both out interests to secure that urban plan.
“Hopefully I’ll be re-elected on the 24th of May and I’ll be a member of that joint urban committee to look at establishing a joint urban plan for the wider Drogheda region.