Friday 24 May 2019

Call for new links between East Meath and town reps

Hubert Murphy

Greater co-operation is being encouraged amongst local councillors representing Drogheda and East Meath.

Cllr Stephen McKee made the appeal at last week's area meeting in Duleek, attended by members of the Drogheda City Status group.

He said formal meetings between the public reps and council officials was needed 'to jointly develop a sustainable plan to progress the South Drogheda/East Meath area' as per the recommendations of the recent boundary review.

In response, the council confirmed that a joint body, headed by the Chief Executives in Meath and Louth is already in operation. They are working on a Greater Drogheda Area Planning Strategy to include a local area plan and a retail strategy. They are also working on library issues, footpaths and tourism.

Cllr McKee said that Drogheda was not reaching its full potential and it suffered from having the likes of two IDA regions, before adding that that area had no LAP, retail strategy or implementation group. 'If Drogheda does better, this area does better,' he stated. He said it played 'second fiddle to Dundalk' and city status would boost the region.

Cllr Sharon Tolan accepted the response that the executive teams were in discussions, but felt that 'local representatives on the ground' should be working closer together and they needed a 'joint plan of collaboration'.

She said Drogheda was East Meath's 'local town' and needed to work together.

Cllr Paddy Meade said that there was already co-operation ongoing as he worked with Cllrs Dolores Minogue and Colm Markey on issues.

Cllr Eimear Ferguson also backed closer ties and wanted to sit down with Drogheda councillors.

The splitting of Drogheda into Urban and Rural is something that has amazed Cllr Sharon Keogan who said it was 'simply wrong.'

'They are trying to get things for Drogheda and they are splitting it,' she stated. She also added that she was coming under pressure to run in Drogheda for the forthcoming elections and had still to make up her mind on it.

'There is an IDA park with one tenant - why?,' she asked. 'I want to see that park working a lot better.'

She said if an agreement was made for formal meetings between councillors from both areas then it needed to work and councillors needed to attend them.

Cllr Tom Kelly said that meetings took place between councillors from Drogheda Borough Council and the old Slane area years ago, but the whole thing was 'put on a shelf.'

'A proper body must be put in place,' he argued, Cllr Wayne Harding in agreement, adding that a proper statutory body was needed if it was to bear real fruit.

It was agreed to bring the proposal of a joint meeting back to the full monthly meeting of Meath CC.

It was stated that a similar proposal was with the Drogheda councillors to agree upon.

Drogheda Independent