Friday 23 August 2019

Louth & Meath Councils should co-operate more

Alison Comyn

It is seldom if ever that local councillors agree on anything, but a happy accord was struck at the July meeting when unanimous praise was heaped upon a motion, and its comprehensive response.

It was perhaps serendipitous that the motion was one seeking unity and cooperation between Louth and Meath County Councils.

Newly elected Fianna Fail councillor James Byrne raised the motion that 'Drogheda Borough Council' would immediately seek to initiate formal meetings with Meath County Council members and officials of the Laytown-Bettystown Municipal District.

"There seems to be a lot of cooperation between the council and members at a local level, but I feel it is time to formally sit down with our colleagues," said Cllr Byrne, son of well-known former councillor and auctioneer Tommy Byrne.

"This would be one step to help Drogheda reach its full potential and there would be immediate interaction in relation to those estates divided by, and running along, the county boundary."

In a lengthy and comprehensive response from Louth County Council, the members were told an implementation team has been established consisting of the Senior Management Teams of each county.

Regular meetings of the team, jointly chaired by the Chief Executives, are held to monitor and measure progress on joint initiatives. Two cross-county teams, a Strategic Team and an Operations Team, have been established with a remit to advance an agreed programme of mutually beneficial activities.

Cllr Joanna Byrne praised the motion, calling it 'timely'.

"This ties in a lot with what the City Status group is hoping to achieve," she said.

"And we see examples like Meath having no male homeless accommodation like we do in Drogheda, and when there is cross-county cooperation it works very well.

"There was no fire service in Laytown, and they had to come from Navan, but now Drogheda can respond, so for that reason alone, it would be worth it."

The Mayor of Drogheda also agreed, calling it an 'excellent motion'.

"This is just the jumpstart we need," said Cllr Paul Bell. "There is no point in having reports on the shelves, they have to be actioned, and I am very pleased with the lengthy response from the council."

Fine Gael respresentative Oliver Tully pointed out this not the first time there had been cross county cooperation.

"This has been done in previous meetings, in previous years,' said Cllr Tully.

"But I do agree, it is timely that it is done again."

Drogheda Independent