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Monday 25 March 2019

'We are growing and rapidly' - Ireland's latest town looking for city status

Drogheda aerial view
Drogheda aerial view
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

Tired of a reputation as a commuter town in the shadow of Dublin - Drogheda is set to take its fight for city status to Government.

The Drogheda City Status campaign is to stand before an Oireachtas Committee on Wednesday to call for recognition as an Irish city to enable it to step out of the shadows and compete for business.

Brian Hanratty, from the campaign, which has been in the making for 10 years, said:  "The Financial Times recently recognised Drogheda as an emerging city, so it’s time Ireland recognised this.

"We seem to have more acceptance that Drogheda should be a city outside of the country but we’re determined to change that."

Mr Hanratty said Drogheda and regions to the south in Co Meath and in Co Louth to the north, account for a population of 50,000 "far in excess" of the number of people needed to gain European city status.

"And in the actual town of Drogheda we have around 40,000 people," Mr Hanratty said.

"We don’t even have a town clerk and we need a city clerk and city planner because we are growing and rapidly."

Annie McGinley, from the campaign, said: "A lot of attention goes to Dublin and an awful lot to Dundalk.  They have PayPal for example and so much investment.

"We aren’t asking for anything but the tools to invest in ourselves and with city status, we will build and build."

Former Ireland rugby player Shane Monahan, from Mornington, Co Meath, went to school in Drogheda and bases his business, social audio app, Limor, in the town.

The 33-year-old athlete said: "The city plan is a fantastic idea because the statistics back this up, as well as the emotional arguments.

"I went to school in Drogheda, I love it but aside from that, this is the fastest growing town in Ireland and it’s the biggest town in the country, so we need to have city status."

Shane, who’s about to jet off to meetings in Silicon Valley, for his new business, said, he’s "tired" of seeing commuters leave Drogheda everyday on the train.

"We have so many workers heading off to Dublin for work. Why not give the town city status, so we can seek direct investment, create more jobs, and keep people living and working in Drogheda as a city  - rather than letting them spend four hours a day travelling to Dublin.

"We are 25 minutes to Dublin airport and we’re on the eastern corridor. We are in the best location for growth, the facilities are fantastic and you’re in the countryside in five minutes.

"We need to become a city in our own right."

The campaign group said it has the support of former presidential candidate Gavin Duffy but he was not available for comment last night.

The argument for why Drogheda deserves city status will be heard from 1.30pm on Wednesday at the Joint Committee on Public Petitions who will also consider petitions dealing with nuclear research and UK citizens in Ireland.

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