Cllr Joanna Byrne – Drogheda Losing Out on County Border Developments

Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne told the October meeting of Louth County Council that the county boundaries of Louth and Meath were penalising Drogheda people who were languishing on the local authorities housing waiting list.

The discussion came up when the Sinn Féin Councillor queried the provision of Part V’s under the Housing section of the meeting. Part V obliges a developer to allocate a percentage of the development for social housing.

According to Cllr Joanna Byrne “there are several new private housing estates being built around the outskirts of Drogheda, still in Drogheda but falling over the boundary into Co. Meath. This in turn means we are seeing Drogheda or Louth people on the housing list excluded or ineligible to apply for these properties.”

Cllr Byrne demanded that Louth’s Director of Services for Housing liaise with Meath County Council for some cross-county collaboration regarding these Part Vs.

“Why should somebody born and reared in Drogheda be penalised like this because of a boundary? If they have done their time on the housing waiting list in their town they should be as eligible if not more so to apply for a house that becomes available in Drogheda rather than somebody from the far end of Meath. This is very unfair on the townspeople here and should be reviewed, some sort of cross-county agreement needs to be explored that stops Drogheda people being omitted from a chance of a house in these areas.”

Cllr Byrne also highlighted potential disparities between Local Authorities in the timeframes on housing waiting lists which could potentially see somebody 10 years on a housing list in Drogheda overlooked for somebody maybe 5/6 years on a housing list in parts of Meath to be successful in one of these houses. She described this as “exceptionally unfair to people in Drogheda.”

Paddy Donnelly, Director of Services for Housing in Louth, was very quick to dismiss this idea and stated he was sure Meath’s Director for Housing would be as unwilling to share their Part Vs with Louth as he would be to share his with Meath.

Speaking after the meeting Cllr Byrne followed on by saying “this just once again highlights the need for a joined up approach to certain things by Louth and Meath County Councils. Drogheda is a unique scenario where it straddles both counties and the townspeople should not be penalised for that. I intend to explore this further and it could perhaps be something on the agenda for the upcoming inaugural meeting of the Drogheda and East Meath Councillors to explore.”