“Unprecedented residential development in Drogheda and its hinterland means that city status has become an absolute necessity.”
That tells us a voice-over over dramatic and impressive drone footage.
The video features some of Drogheda’s most iconic landmarks set against the backdrop of the city’s sprawling landscape.
This video, commissioned by the Drogheda City Status Group, is the latest in a long-running campaign calling on the government to upgrade the country’s largest city to a city.
A city’s status is not just a name.
The group wants a new city council to oversee development, which they say would bring jobs, investment and tourism.
Although this campaign has been around for a long time, there seems to have been a boom in population and housing in recent years.
“There is wind in the sails. There is a feeling locally; people are beginning to get the message and believe in it,” said Anthony Murphy, PRO for the campaign, reports RTE.
The Port Access Northern Cross Route road will gradually open up land on the north side of the city for the construction of up to 7,000 houses over the coming years, which could add another 20,000 people to the population.
But even without this projected growth, the population of the city and its hinterland to the east of Meath is already large enough to grow, according to the Drogheda City Status Group.
According to the 2016 census, 41,000 people lived in Drogheda.
“We have fallen between two stools as it were. We are managed remotely in terms of councils in Navan in the west and Dundalk in the North. We lost our own borough council. We don’t have the autonomy a large town should have,” Mr Murphy said, reports RTE.
As city status activists look to the future, the Drogheda Implementation Board works to improve issues from the city’s history.
It was founded in response to the deadly drug addiction that has “ravaged” the city in recent years.
“We did have incidents on the main streets in the town, we had shootings up beside where the children were coming out of the pool, beside busy shops and near schools. But also, the communities who were being ravaged by the actions of organised crime gangs, and whose children were being caught up in it they were very heavily impacted.”, Coordinator of the Drogheda Implementation Board Gráinne Berrill said, reports RTE.
To date, the work of the board has secured a further 12 million euros in resources and funding for Drogheda.
That money will be spent on things like additional teaching and educational resources, youth diversion programs for children and youth at risk of abuse by criminal gangs, a new city apprenticeship center, and capital city projects.
At United Park, groundsmen prepare the pitch for a clash between home side Drogheda United and UCD.
The discussion and debate about Drogheda and its hinterland also extends to the borders of the constituencies.
But who decides whether Drogheda becomes a city and is there even a mechanism to approve it?
“One of the problems, is that there is no clear route in law as to how an area the size and scale of Drogheda actually obtains city status. That’s one of the weaknesses in Irish legislation, and it’s something that I’ve been calling on the Government to address,” said Labour TD Ged Nash, reports RTE.
In the meantime, Ged Nash said that Drogheda “needs to continue to act like a city. City status is a state of mind”, reports RTE.
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