Drogheda review a step in right direction for town
- Department of Justice-led scoping review a wake-up call for national and local government.
- Government must immediately fund urgent drug service and education measures.
- Implementation of the 73 recommendations can transform the area.
Labour TD for Louth & East Meath Ged Nash, commenting on the publication of the Department of Justice-led ‘Drogheda; Creating a Bridge to a Better Future’ scoping review said:
“This is an initiative that was first advocated by myself and local Labour Party Councillor Pio Smith two and a half years ago as the Drogheda drugs feud took hold and its impact on our community escalated.
“We have been very clear from the outset that a tough policing and criminal justice response to gang activity and the related growth in drug crime, addiction, violence and intimidation would not alone be sufficient to ensure community safety and wellbeing.
“What has been required is a longer term and sustained multi-agency response and that is precisely what the report – researched and produced by expert Vivian Geiran – recommends.
“The area in which the report focuses is where I was born, still live and am proud to represent.
“What comes through is the vibrancy and pride in our area but also the fact that the town has been let down by poor long term planning, a lack of investment in community facilities and education, training and drug services and poor co-ordination at local and at national agency level. The review makes for uncomfortable reading for central and local government and its agencies.
“Throughout the report, the contributions from local community leaders portrays a legitimate sense that Drogheda has been ‘neglected by officialdom’.
“The previous Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan TD on a visit to Drogheda remarked that if a plan can be produced, government will fund it. We now have the plan and the onus is now on government to ensure that the High-Level Cross-Departmental Group that the review proposes in terms of the implementation of the plan is established without delay.
“Government’s commitment to the plan and its bona fides will be tested on three key early responses. Primary schools in North Drogheda, as I proposed three years ago must be provided with DEIS Band 1 status and the extra resources that provides. As the review also proposes, an immediate injection of €150,000 must be provided to the Red Door drugs project to provide urgent outreach services.”
Deputy Nash concluded:
“This is a good day for Drogheda and a landmark report. I want to thank Vivian Geiran, the local people and groups who contributed to his work and the Department of Justice for their interest in this process and their engagement with me on this initiative over the last two years. Today can be a new dawn for Drogheda if the opportunity is grasped.”