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Friday, 21st June 2024

Urgent action needed NOW to address dereliction in Drogheda

Front Page

Demolition in progress at the old Brady's store in Narrow West Street.

By Andy Spearman

The longer the neglect of Drogheda’s streets continues the angrier the citizens of the town become. For decades we’ve watched our heritage being neglected and now we are looking on helplessly as the inevitable demolition begins.

Theories abound as to how we have arrived at this sad juncture and who is responsible for putting it right, but the pleas of the ordinary man and woman in the street are going unanswered. All the public can do is watch and weep.   

The issue has been raised in the Dail on several occasions and the Taoiseach has said that something must be done, but all we can see happening is the ongoing neglect and now the demolition of a building in Narrow West Street to prevent it falling into the street and possibly killing someone.

This is absolute nonsense on a grand scale. The building owners, the Council and the planners should all hang their heads in shame. They have been entrusted with caring for our heritage and  they have failed miserably.

More important than laying blame however is the need for a solution. They must come up with a plan to put matters right and they must find the many millions of Euros it will take to return our town to a condition that is safe, pleasant and functioning like the country’s largest town should.

In a statement issued today Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster TD said that she has written to Minister for Local Government Darragh O’Brien to ask whether the council will be liable for the neglect of property owners, what obligations exist for property owners who allow their properties to fall into dangerous levels of disrepair, and what steps he intends to take to address dereliction in Drogheda.

“Property owners should face serious penalties and fines if they sit on properties and allow them to fall into disrepair and dereliction” she said. “At the moment that’s not happening. We’re in the throes of a housing crisis and buildings are literally crumbling in our towns and villages. It’s morally wrong.

“Minister O’Brien needs to treat this as a priority and present solutions to this situation as a matter of urgency.”

Of course Deputy Munster is not the only public representative to have spoken out on the sad state of affairs in Drogheda. Deputies Ged Nash and Fergus O'Dowd have both also expressed their anger at the lack of action.

Veteran campaigner Frank Godfrey (pictured above) has issued a call to action which includes a public protest march and a vigil outside the Dáil. 

Perhaps more importantly he has suggested the formation of an expert taskforce, he wants Louth County Council to establish a permanent team of architects, surveyors, and experts to tackle the dereliction in Drogheda over the next five years.

“The degradation of Drogheda’s heritage is a direct result of council negligence and lack of action” Frank said. “If this continues, it is only a matter of time before a fatality occurs due to unsafe buildings.

“Now is the time for action—prevention is better than cure. We must march and demonstrate to prevent further decay and restore Drogheda to its rightful state of glory.”

Say what you like about Frank, even though he failed to get elected, there’s no denying that he loves Drogheda and love is something that the town is badly in need of.


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