No changes for Meath boundaries
An attempted landgrab on Meath by Louth County Council has failed.
The local authority in the wee county was hoping to annexe part of Meath, immediately south and east of Drogheda town.
However their plans were thwarted by the publication of the Drogheda Boundary Review which proposed no change in the county boundaries.
This means Meath County Council will continue to benefit from commercial rates from businesses and industries in the Meath part of the greater Drogheda area.
Minister Damien English confirmed the decision today and welcomed the news that there would be no changes to the Meath borders.
'The committee's recommendation will be of great relief to residents, business and the Local Authority in Meath. I am glad to see that there will be an increased cooperation between Meath and Louth for the economic and spatial development of the area. This will ensure that the full potential of the area can be achieved for the residents and business of the area.
'I look forward to a period of enhanced cooperation at Local Authority level between Meath and Louth and the advantages that this brings to both. Ultimately the recommendations contained in the report make common sense and I believe are right for the region'.
Cllr Wayne Harding described the decision as very good news for Meath and especially the 6000 people, 2000 family homes and 60 businesses that could have left the county by the stroke of a pen.
'I convened a meeting last January that was attended by over 200 people to inform them of the very real danger of this happening. From that meeting came a large amount of submissions on the review and in turn this had a very real bearing on today's decision. I want to thank Deputy Thomas Byrne who made a very strong contribution to the meeting and the St Colmcilles Gaelic Football Club for what was a very powerful submission.
'Credit must also go to the county manager Jackie Maguire, the Laytown/ Bettystown area manager Fiona Lawless, Des Foley and all the management team and staff within Meath County Council who worked so hard on the review.
'This is a good day for Meath, but it also is a good day for the town of Drogheda which has straddled the two counties for centuries and is well served by both local authorities'.
Deputy Thomas Byrne noted that 75 per cent of submissions were against the proposed changes and the people behind it never bothered to ask Meath residents in the area their views.
'If this got the go ahead, areas around Clonee, Kilcock and Maynooth would also be on the chopping board.
'It is important that Louth and Meath continue to work together as they already do. A boundary change was a political distraction by the Labour party before the election and I'm glad it's knocked on the head. It's also important that Meath County Council improve services to this historic part of Meath.'
Cllr Damien O'Reilly, who last year proposed a successful motion at Meath County Council opposing any changes, welcomed the decision. He warned that if the Drogheda change had been allowed it could have paved the way for Fingal to encroach on Clonee and Dunboyne.
Cllr Sharon Tolan said it was good news for Meath. 'However, it is important we learn to work together as boundaries or borders dont exist between Louth, Meath or Fingal when it comes to economic development,' she said.
The then Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly appointed a committee of three experts to carry out a review of the boundary in 2015.