Munster: Utmost priority must be given to Northern Cross Route application by Louth County Council

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has called on Louth County Council to give the utmost priority to the application for funding for the Northern Cross Route under the LIHAF programme.

The window for applications opened on 1st February, and is due to close on 31st March.

Deputy Munster said:

“This is the third opportunity to apply for funding, with the council previously submitting two unsuccessful applications.

“The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, following a proposal I made to the Minister after the last unsuccessful application, organised a workshop on the 5th February last, and I was glad to hear that two senior staff members of Louth County Council were in attendance.

“It is imperative that the new application fits the new defined criteria, and it’s also imperative that this is a case of third time lucky for the application.

“Once Louth County Council have confirmed that the application has been submitted, and once I have seen a copy of same, I will pursue it with the Minister to ensure that this vital piece of infrastructure, that has been in planning since 2006, can finally get the go-ahead from government.

“We can no longer put up with daily gridlock in Drogheda. This is about a vital piece of infrastructure and sustainable planning, and it is a must for Drogheda.

“We’ve waited long enough.”

Munster pleased Minister is following her lead in prioritising border businesses ahead of Brexit

Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Imelda Munster TD, has welcomed the announcement of a targeted Brexit fund for border counties, which was recently announced by Minister Heather Humphreys. The funding is in line with Deputy Munster’s amendments to the Industrial Development Amendment Bill, which ensured that border counties would be given preferential treatment regarding grant funding for businesses at risk due to Brexit.

Deputy Munster said:

“I am delighted that my amendments were successful and that the border is being prioritised in the allocation supports for businesses ahead of Brexit.

“This is good news for the entire border region.

“My home town of Drogheda is a good example as to why these supports are required. Drogheda is Ireland’s largest town, located on the Dublin-Belfast corridor. We have a well-educated workforce, a dynamic business community and great potential to grow.

“Government policies have held Drogheda back – the previous Labour and Fine Gael government stripped us of our town council and borough status which was a major blow to the town.

“The current government consistently overlooks Drogheda time and time again when it comes to business and development opportunities. We got nothing in the National Development Plan and Ireland 2040, other than ‘third tier status’, which is frankly an insult to Drogheda, given its size and potential.

“The government has been slow to date in helping businesses to plan for Brexit. The Brexit loan schemes have been seriously problematic, and there are ongoing concerns around the safeguarding of jobs ahead of Brexit.

“This funding is a first step in addressing these issues for border counties. I am pleased that my amendments have been successful in that the government is finally taking its responsibilities to the border region seriously.

“It is important that the funding targets businesses who need it most, and who are most exposed to Brexit risk, and I will be following up on these matters with the Minister when the Dáil resumes next week.

Munster calls for Drogheda-Laytown bus route to be extended to Julianstown

Imelda Munster TD for Louth and East Meath has called for the D1/D2 bus route between Drogheda and Laytown to be extended as far as Julianstown with an additonal stop at Sonairte – The National Ecology Centre at The Ninch on the R150.

Deputy Munster said:

“This minor bus route extension which would only add an additional 4km each way from the current terminus at Laytown train station would be of enormous benefit to local people.

“It would also be invaluable for visitors to Sonairte as well as the Tús and CE employees who work there, some of whom have existing medical conditions and have no option but to walk an extra 15/20 minutes from Laytown train station along the R150, a dangerous stretch of road with no footpaths or lighting.

“As it stands Sonairte, an environmental charity since 1986 open to the Public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year, is inaccessible to many who don’t drive but would love to avail of its Vegetarian/Vegan Café, Eco Shop selling produce grown in their organic gardens, and nature walk along the Nanny riverside.

“Furthermore, this simple change which would provide a public bus service between Julianstown and Laytown would also connect the existing Bus Eireann Dublin/ Airport/Drogheda bus route which currently stops in Julianstown, to Laytown, Bettystown, Mornington and Donacarney.

“As it is, most people from the East Meath coastal villages have to disembark from the Dublin/ Airport bus at Julianstown or Drogheda and get a taxi for the remainder of their journey.

“I have written to Bus Eireann and the National Transport Authority requesting that they examine the feasibility of extending this much needed service.

“While people living in this area have warmly welcomed the recent improvements to the bus service between Drogheda and Laytown, a bus link to the main Dublin Road from the villages is long overdue especially given the huge and ongoing population explosion in the area.”

Munster welcomes Fáilte Ireland “destination town” funding allocation

Imelda Munster, Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath has welcomed today’s announcement that Drogheda is to be allocated “significant funding” by Fáilte Ireland to develop its potential as a tourism “destination town”.   

The funding has been allocated through Louth County Council under the “Destination Towns” initiative launched earlier this year by the National Tourism Development Authority.   

The exact allocation has not been finalised yet, however the finding will connect the historic features of the town including the East-West between Old Abbey and St Lawrence’s Gate and the North-South between Magdalene Tower and Millmount Fort.

Deputy Munster said:

“I am delighted that Louth County Council’s proposal was given the go ahead, and that this funding has become available.

“Those of us who live in Drogheda are well aware of the town’s potential as a tourism destination. The town proved itself in the last two years when we hosted Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, which saw the biggest visitor numbers in the history of the event.

“Tourism is very important to Drogheda, and this funding will go a long way in improving existing tourist attractions, as well as promoting tourism.

“I look forward to seeing further details when they are finalised in January, and I am sure that the town will reap the rewards of this funding in the coming years”.

Munster requests Housing Minister to meet Louth Council on Northern Cross Route

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has called for the Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy TD, or officials from his department, to meet with officials from Louth County Council in order to progress funding for the Northern Cross route, after his department rejected the council’s appeal for funding for the project under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund. His department originally rejected the application earlier this year.

Deputy Munster said:

“I wrote to the Minister this week asking him to meet with officials from the council to address the issues that affecting the funding application, as it is vitally important that this project gets the go ahead as quickly as possible.

“I raised this matter in the Dáil twice in the last two weeks, to ensure that this government is aware of the importance of this road and the fact that it is central to the Northern Environs Plan.

“Under the Northern Environs Plan, Louth County Council would open up lands for housing development, something this government is constantly advocating.

“Without this road Drogheda will continue to face daily gridlock with HGV traffic coming into the town centre.

“We can’t plan for the development of thousands of houses without having the infrastructure in place. This route is central to the Northern Environs Plan, which the people of Drogheda have been waiting for since 2006.

“This government and the last government have failed to deliver this project for Drogheda. I would hope that the Minister will listen to my proposal and take the initiative to work constructively with the council to secure funding for the project.

“We’ve been waiting over thirteen years at this stage. In that time gridlock has worsened in the town and the housing crisis has escalated. It’s time we got moving on the Port Access Northern Cross Route.”