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Friday, 23rd July 2021

The journey to a better future for Drogheda has finally started - McQuillan

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A section of the large crowd that took to the streets of Drogheda in May 2019 to protest against the men of violence and demand action from the Government.

Organiser of 2019 anti-violence protest says implementation plan for Drogheda means help is on the way

One local Councillor in particular, Independent Paddy McQuillan, has had a large input into the implementation plan for Drogheda. Having had a chance to study the report over the past two days he told Drogheda Life today that the journey to a better future for Drogheda has finally started.

Several of McQuillan’s suggestions including that the proceeds of crime should be used for community youth projects and extra funding for addiction services like the Red Door have been incorporated into the plan.

Back in 2019 McQuillan and his friend and fellow concerned citizen, Alice Duff, called the people of Drogheda to make a stand and say NO to the people of violence at a public demonstration on Saturday, 4th May in West Street urging the government to take action against the feud that had engulfed the local community.

At that protest, which drew over 2,000 people to stand in solidarity in West Street, Mcquillan said: “We demand that Minister Charlie Flanagan gives our Gardaí the means and resources to rid our streets of this violence once and for all. We are sick of it and we are saying “enough is enough.

“Members of all the major political parties are united together today for the good of this great town. This is not political, this is more than politics, this is about Drogheda.”

That protest raised the profile of Drogheda’s problems in the national media and on the following Wednesday Alice was interviewed on the RTE Prime Time programme.

McQuillan told Drogheda Life today that he and Alice had organised the 2019 protest because people were scared at the time and felt under siege.

“We, the people of Drogheda, said Enough is Enough! We demanded help from the government” he said.

Two days ago that help finally began to arrive when the Minister for Justice published the long awaited Implementation Plan for the seventy plus recommendations that came from the report carried out by Vivian Geiran, Drogheda: Creating a Bridge to a Better Future.

Paddy McQuillan speaking at the protest rally in West Street in May 2019.

“These recommendations, if implemented in full will improve the community safety and wellbeing of all the citizens in the Greater Drogheda Area” Councillor McQullan said.

“The government has promised to place a special focus on Drogheda.  We have been given a commitment that funding to meet the recommendations in this report will be prioritised.

“From that point two years ago we have additional Gardaí on our streets and they have worked hard.  But we need to address the underlying issues that allow crime and antisocial behaviour to fester. 

“The journey to creating a better community and future for our town has finally started. I have been pushing for this Implementation Plan for some months now. I am delighted to see that there is finally movement on this.

“I welcome also that a Drogheda man, Michael Keogh, will chair this Drogheda Implementation Board. I, along with all other elected representatives look forward to working with him in the future.

“This Implementation Plan is not a quick fix. It will take time. But fully implemented, it will put us on a path towards safer and stronger communities.”

Read our report of the 2019 protest:

Take your drugs and your guns and get the hell out of Drogheda

 

This article was written by Andy Spearman

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