Deputy Ged Nash TD says ‘he’ll believe it when he sees foundations dug.”
Drogheda, Co Louth is one step closer to having a state body headquarters located in the town.
New plans have been revealed for the cutting edge headquarters for the Education Training Board, which will be situated on the St Oliver’s Community College campus on the Rathmullen Road in Drogheda.
Confirmation that the new building is definitely to go ahead in the Drogheda location was given at Monday’s announcement of a multi-million euro investment at DIFE, making it a double vote of confidence in Drogheda’s future.
However, no timeline is available for the construction of the building, which was first mooted ten years ago, and over €300,000 has already been spent on feasibility studies and consultation fees in the past decade.
The new facility is awaiting departmental approval before proceeding to the planning stage.
Martin O’Brien, CEO of LMETB, says this is very positive news for the town.
“Not only will there be a major investment in DIFE, but there will also be the LMETB headquarters, both of which will be facilities suitable for Ireland’s fifth city,” he said.
LMETB Chairman John Sheridan says it makes perfect sense to centralise in Drogheda.
"It’s a very important investment in Drogheda, and it is important for us to be able to get out and have meetings in schools around the area,” he told the Drogheda Independent.
Principal of DIFE Davy McDonnell said he hopes the long wait is over for the project to begin.
"This is something that was earmarked a few years ago and has been a long time waiting, but it’s great to see the plans afoot and it’s starting to move to the next phase,” says Mr McDonnell. “So hopefully we’ll see it sooner rather than later.”
The construction of the headquarters has been dogged by delays over the years, including the contractor pulling out, and the latest plans revealed on Monday are a revision of previous plans.
Louth TD Ged Nash was quick to pour cold water on premature celebrations.
"The endless foot-dragging on this project has been unforgivable, with a constant changing of the goalposts, and the lack of urgency has brought a lack of trust,” said the Labour Deputy.
"There is a huge responsibility on the Department to deliver this, which was first announced ten years ago, and I will believe it when I see foundations dug and blocks on the ground.”