Council will invest in Drogheda ahead of the Fleadh - CEO
LOUTH County Council Chief Executive Joan Martin has vowed to make significant investment in Drogheda and make improvements to the much maligned Narrow West Street.
Responding to concerns raised at the November meeting of Droghea Municpial District, when councillors were asked to accept a reduction in their discreptionary budget of €15,000, Ms Martin said there was no question that this money would go towards the Fleadh. ‘ There will be money spent in Drogheda for the Fleadh. There are areas here in Drogheda like Narrow West Street that need work, I’m as concious as you are of the look of Narrow West Street. That will be done,’ she said.
She said a long term plan for the future of Narrow West Street is currently being worked on and will go on public display in the near future. ‘It is a long term project but stage 1 will be progressed,’ she said.
The Chief Executive Officer went on to say that she believes the Fleadh will have a huge impact in promoting Drogheda and the region and boosting tourism numbers to the area. ‘ The Fleadh to me is a huge event, it will bring a lot of money to Drogheda,’ she said.
‘I also see the development of tourism as a legacy of the Fleadh. I envisage national TV exposure which will put Drogheda on a much stronger footing in terms of visitors and tourism.’ The CEO went on to respond to criticism from councillors, who said they believe Drogheda has been overlooked and has not received the investment and infrastructure it deserves, particularly since the downgrading of Drogheda Borough Council. ‘Drogheda has not been neglected,’ The CEO insisted, pointing out a number of projects currently in the pipeline including the redevelopment of the Tholsel building and the major refurbishment of the old council offices on Fair Street at a cost of €12m.
She said the plans for this are currently at detailed design stage.
‘ The costs for insurance are going through the roof. They’re costs we just have to meet but I fully recognise the importance of both Drogheda and Dundalk as the key towns in terms of economic development,’ she said. ‘I would not accept that we are shortchanging Drogheda in any way.’
Securing the Fleadh for Drogheda was seen as a major coup for the town and is expected to bring millions of euro in revenue with more than 400,000 visitors from all over Ireland and abroad expected to descend for the event in 2018. The announcement that Drogheda will host next year’s Fleadh was made at the headquarters of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann back in March.