Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has repeated her call for government action on the Port Access Northern Cross Route (PANCR), asking the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD, to ensure that the project is included in the government’s planned ten year National Development Plan (NDP) which is due to be published later this month.
Deputy Munster said:
“I’ve written to Minister McGrath asking him to ensure that this vital project is included in the National Development plan. I re-emphasised the importance of this road project to Drogheda, both in terms of traffic management but also in terms of the wider development of the Drogheda area.
“The route is critical to the development of housing in Drogheda under the Northern Environs Plan. The road will also re-route a significant amount of traffic, including HGVs, out of Drogheda town centre which currently has extremely high levels of traffic congestion.
“Drogheda has been designated as a Regional Growth Area and the PANCR project is a vital part of the planned development and growth of the town. It is of the utmost importance that this road is finally prioritised and funded by government under the NDP.
“I have raised this matter on many occasions with the Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien TD, as his department has turned down several funding applications from Louth County Council, despite his 2019 electioneering promise that the road must be funded and built.
“People in Drogheda are sick to the back teeth of delays. It’s been fifteen years and it’s beyond farcical that we still don’t have funding for the project.
“Inclusion in the National Development Plan is central to the future prospects of the road, and Minister McGrath must prioritise it.”
With the upcoming announcement due over the coming weeks for projects approved under the second round of the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF), Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne has asked Louth County Council to give one final push and contact Minister Darragh O’Brien once again highlighting the importance of the Port Access Northern Cross Route and to stress the need for the funding application to be considered.
“The PANCR is such a significant project, essential for the development of Drogheda and South Louth. It is a vital piece of infrastructure that is needed on so many levels to take heavy goods vehicles out of the town and relieve traffic congestion. It will also pave the way for further residential, commercial and sporting development throughout the Northern Environs of Drogheda. Without the PANCR none of this is possible.”
Director of Service Frank Pentony responded to Cllr Byrne saying that the last correspondence LCC had received from the Minister’s office stated the announcements regarding successful projects under the URDF wouldn’t be made until after the budget but he would be happy to take up her request and would write to the Minister this week.
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.”
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.”