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Sunday, 18th August 2019

Taoiseach visits Fleadh for meet and greet, no time for City Status Group though

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An Taoiseach was in Drogheda yesterday afternoon to sample the flavour of the Fleadh, he went on a walkabout meeting and greeting people in the streets most of whom were delighted to shake his hand, show off their babies and exchange pleasantries.

Members of the Drogheda City Status Group (DCSG) however were less than impressed that Mr. Varadkar could not find a few minutes to meet with them as they had requested on several occasions.

The Secretary of DCSG, Anna McKenna, had contacted the Taoiseach’s office asking if he would meet with the group during his visit to Drogheda but was told by Nick Reddy, the Taoiseach’s private secretary, that it would not be possible.

In an email Mr. Reddy said: The Taoiseach’s visit to Drogheda is primarily to visit the Fleadh Ceoil and to congratulate the performers and the organisers on the success of the event, not least the economic boost the Festival brings to the area. His visit tomorrow is short and as you will appreciate, it is not possible to meet with the many local and community groups on this occasion.

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In a statement issued after the visit Ms McKenna said:  “This reluctance to even meet with the Drogheda City Status Group suggests to us that An Taoiseach and his Government have little interest in according Drogheda its proper status as Ireland's next city.”

“Drogheda has been neglected by successive Governments.   The people of the Greater Drogheda area are united in our cause and today's slight is not just on our Group, but on over 50,000 residents in Drogheda, South Louth and East Meath.

“Notwithstanding this, our campaign continues and the people will have an opportunity assess progress - or the lack of it - at the next General Election.

On August 7 Ms McKenna wrote to the Taoiseach outlining the frustration being felt by the DCSG in attempting to put their case.”

The group reminded Mr. Varadkar that they couldn’t be accommodated with a meeting during his last visit to Drogheda in March either and that a letter which Ms McKenna had handed to the Taoiseach on that occasion had still not been responded to.

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