Submission to Drogheda Boundary Commission
Question 1: How might alteration of the boundary help or hinder the retention or creation of employment and the general economic performance of the area?
The proposed alteration will mean that a single unified economic vision for Drogheda can be forged allowing for balanced development on both sides of the river while preserving the primacy of the town centre for town centre functions. A single development plan, town action plan and economic strategy will mean the Drogheda offer is coherent and is more likely to attract inward investment.
Question 2: How might the alteration of the boundary help or hinder the identity or cohesion of local communities in the area?
The local communities in question are completely conflicted at present as they look to Drogheda, Co Louth for almost all their goods and services, their leisure, and their cultural needs (all of which Louth County Council has a role in delivering), but politically are aligned to a different Local Authority and Meath public representatives.
Question 3: How might alteration of the boundary help or hinder delivery of services by local government to ensure that the needs of the local community are met now and in the future?
It will help immeasurably – currently Meath County Council reap the benefits of the intensive housing and retail development but can externalise many of the associated costs onto Louth County Council. The fact that in a changed scenario Louth will be in receipt of property tax and rates as well as development contributions on future developments will enable it to improve the level of service provided and properly incorporate the needs of the area in its forward planning.
Question 4: How might alteration of the administrative boundary help or hinder the need to maximise efficiency and value for money in local government?
Question 5: How might alteration of the boundary help or hinder the Planning and Development needs, as administered by the local authority, of the community?
Again it will help immeasurably. The interface between Math and Louth has in fact become a faultline in the sustainable development of the area. Meath has not delivered sustainable development for Meath but rather cosied up to Drogheda and put significant strain on the viability of the town centre and compromised the ability for Louth County Council to deliver orderly development in Drogheda in particular with reference to the Northern Environs. In terms of sustainable transport, climate change, building standards, flood prevention and mitigation, and so on, the extension of the boundary is critical to Drogheda being set on a sustainable pathway.
Question 6: How might alteration of the boundary help or hinder the delivery of effective and accountable democratic representation?
It will help democratic representation in that Drogheda based Councillors who sit on Drogheda Municipal District can represent the local electorate instead of the current anomalous representative arrangements.
Question 7: What strengths or weaknesses do you see in current local authority administrative boundary arrangements in the area?
I see mainly weaknesses as outlined above. One significant weakness is that County loyalty will be an issue for many who see themselves as Meath people and on that basis alone would prefer to be incorporated into Meath County Council’s area despite all of the issues raised above. This issue of County loyalty is important and needs to be given due weight in deliberations.
Is there anything else you wish to add?
Just to say that if Local Government reform had delivered town and district councils as proposed by the Green Party at the time of the consultation, we wouldn’t be having this conversation as the District of Drogheda would clearly include its administrative and service delivery radius to the North West and South. That it would include the area in question is in my view self evident.