Taoiseach asked to declare town a city by action group
The Drogheda City Status Group (DCSG) has called on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to declare Drogheda Ireland's next city, the first in the North-East and second only to Dublin in Leinster.
The Group made the call as the Taoiseach visited Drogheda and East Meath on Friday and base their call on Census and other CSO data which is rapidly propelling the Co.Louth town into the fifth largest urban centre in Ireland, overtaking Waterford.
They describe the manner in which Drogheda and its natural catchment has traditionally been divided by the Louth-Meath boundary as "21st century gerrymandering," hindering the economic development of Drogheda, South Louth and coastal East Meath which adjoins Drogheda's southern housing estates.
"The 2016 Census recognised Drogheda as Ireland's largest town, even without including the population of Laytown-Bettystown-Mornington (LBM)," said Anna McKenna, the DCSG Secretary, adding "the results of that Census are already obsolete, as our growth has been relentless and since then, housing completions in the Greater Drogheda Area are almost on par with the combined figures for Dundalk and Waterford, adding several thousand people to our local population."
The Group point to Drogheda's rapidly growing and well-educated population and excellent road; rail; air; sea and broadband infrastructure as being key attractions for prospective employers wishing to locate on the M1 Corridor close to the EU:UK land border and Dublin Airport. They have called on An Taoiseach to expedite the upgrading of Drogheda's status and create a suitable Local Government structure to assist in expediting the huge, much needed Northern Environs Housing Plan and facilitating the orderly evolution to becoming Ireland's next city.
"We also need investment in local jobs, with 88% of those in employment from LBM forced to work outside their area, and 52% of those in Drogheda - compared to just 30% in Dundalk, which as a smaller town, is the one designated by the IDA as the North East's Strategic Employment Centre. Furthermore, Drogheda and East Meath are served by two different IDA Regions and doesn't seem to be a priority for either." concluded Anna McKenna.