Drogheda - The Boyne river runs through it forming the county border leaving the Louth and Meath areas of the town coming under the jurisdiction of two different councils.
The next “drop-in” session at which you can learn about Louth and Meath County Council’s Joint Local Area Plan for Drogheda and East Meath takes place in Drogheda Library, tomorrow, Tuesday, February 13. Staff from both Councils will be available to assist those interested in making submissions ahead of the closing date of Thursday, 15th March.
Drogheda City Status Group are urging as many people as possible to attend the second and final session in the library on this Tuesday evening between 4.30pm and 7.45pm. For those unable to attend, they can check out full details on both the LCC and MCC websites, including how to make a submission ahead of the deadline.
“We were delighted with the attendance on Thursday last which included Councillor and former Mayor, Michelle Hall and hope people from Drogheda, South Louth and East Meath – including their Public Representatives will avail of the professional advice and knowledge available on the night, said DCSG Chairperson, Anna McKenna.”
Following last year’s decision of the Electoral Commission, Drogheda City Status Group (DCSG) suggested Drogheda’s boundary be extended to be aligned with the new southern boundary of the Louth constituency as an important step towards bringing the City of Drogheda closer to realisation.
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DCSG states that the ties – and dependencies - between Drogheda and East Meath continue to be ‘broader; geographically closer; stronger and even more critical’ citing that just a few fields remain between Drogheda and Donacarney in East Meath.
“Already, Drogheda’s footprint is on par with Waterford City and yet there’s absolutely no planning underway for the future city and Drogheda was all but ignored in the current “Ireland 2040” Plan. The 7,000 homes currently being built on the Northern Cross Route will house 20,000 people. That part of Drogheda alone will have the same population as the self-styled Sligo City so the next review of “Ireland 2040” must formalise the Drogheda Metropolitan Area to include Drogheda; South Louth and East Meath and set out actions to prepare for Ireland’s next city.
“In the meantime, the Joint Local Area Plan needs to anticipate and reflect the needs arising from the phenomenal population growth across Drogheda; South Louth and East Meath,” added Anna.
“What DCSG regards as the future Drogheda Metropolitan Area has been neglected for decades by Local and National Government and State Agencies. The results can be seen, for example, in the thousands of our talented people who have to make long, daily commutes to work or study, resulting in a high social, economic and environmental cost for their families and communities.
“The rapid housing and population growth locally in the era of climate change demands that Government and its agencies urgently prioritise the creation of thousands of local jobs to reflect that. We all need to reflect that in our submissions to the Joint Local Area Plan.”
“It is clear that IDA have failed the people of the Drogheda Metropolitan Area” she added. “The Donore Road Business Park, commissioned decades ago should have had thousands of jobs in dozens of businesses there. Instead, today it houses data centres which will employ mere dozens, and despite Drogheda finally being designated a Regional Growth Centre in recent years, it can still be described as an ‘IDA jobs blackspot’.
“It is unbelievable that Drogheda – Ireland’s next city – does not have one single State employee based here representing the key job creation agencies – IDA, Enterprise Ireland, LEO and Failte Ireland.”
Another priority that needs to feature in the Joint Local Area Plan is the provision of Further Education and Training facilities and Anna acknowledged the interest Minister Simon Harris has taken in local needs along with LMETB CEO Martin O’Brien.
“We are seeing the new electrical apprenticeship centre taking shape and further investment is being made at Drogheda Institute of Further Education where Davy McDonnell and his team have developed one of Ireland’s most respected colleges of its type. Now we need to add to that by establishing a University Campus to serve North Leinster.”
In conclusion, Anna has urged all individuals, community and business groups to get fully involved as this plan will impact on how Drogheda’s future, along with that of East Meath and South Louth will evolve.