Special focus for Drogheda from Government – O’Dowd

Government departments and State agencies will prioritise funding applications for Drogheda as part of the Drogheda Implementation Plan

21st July 2021 - Fergus O'Dowd TD

Fine Gael Louth TD, Fergus O’Dowd has welcomed the new “Special Focus” for Drogheda which has been confirmed by the Government today (Wednesday). This key announcement will ensure that all Government departments and State agencies will prioritise funding applications for projects in the Drogheda area that are supported through the Drogheda Implementation Plan.

The announcement was made by Deputy O’Dowd’s colleague the Minister for Justice, Heather Humphreys TD, this afternoon at the launch of the implementation plan for the ‘Drogheda: Building a Bridge to a Better Future’ report. The Drogheda Implementation Plan will deliver on the recommendations of a report which was authored by the former Director of the Probation Service, Mr Vivian Geiran, and published earlier this year.

Deputy O’Dowd said: “I want to thank my colleagues in Government, the Minister for Justice, Heather Humphreys, and Minister Helen McEntee, who is currently on maternity leave, along with An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, who committed to supporting Drogheda in this process following the Drogheda protest march in early 2020.

“I remain absolutely dedicated to supporting this process and I look forward to working closely with the Chairperson of the Drogheda Implementation Board, Michael Keogh and facilitator Martin O’Brien of the LMETB.

“This plan must be driven forward without delay and whilst I welcome the Government’s re-affirmation of their support for key local organisations such as the Red Door Project, we must now work to strengthen our wraparound services and supports in the town going into the future.

“This is a living document and can be amended if the Board identifies further requirements as we move forward. Such reviews will be conducted on a quarterly basis and progress reports produced twice yearly, Deputy O’Dowd concluded.

The Drogheda Implementation Plan outlines 70 actions to improve community safety and wellbeing in Drogheda through greater co-operation by State agencies and others.

 

The actions fall under the headings:

  • Cross-agency co-ordination
    • Example action: LMETB to host Drogheda Implementation Board with representatives of key agencies to co-ordinate and drive change
  • Addressing crime
    • Example action: New Community Alerts system to be rolled out by the end of the year
  • Drug use
    • Example action: Additional funding to be agreed for the Red Door Funding by the autumn
  • Youth and Community Development Facilities
    • Example action: Site for Moneymore Community Hub to be identified
  • Services for Children and Young People
    • Example action: Co-ordination of child and youth services in Drogheda by the end of the year
  • Education and Training
    • Example action: Additional supports to three primary schools already provided
  • Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation
    • Example action: All-county arts plan to be developed, with funding from Creative Ireland pursued
  • Local Authority Organisation and Services
    • Example action: Eliminate backlog of social housing voids by the end of the year
  • Local Infrastructure and Assets
    • Example action: Next phase of funding for West Gate Vision Plan to be sought next year from the Urban Regeneration Development Fund
  • Employment, Enterprise and Development
    • Example action: IDA to develop new enterprise buildings over next three years
  • Ethnic and racial issues
    • New Primary Health Care Unit for Traveller Project to be delivered next year

 

Following the initial publication of the Vivian Geiran report, Minister Helen McEntee moved to ensure that several important actions were implemented quickly, including:

 

  • The Department of Education has engaged with the three primary schools named in the report to provide additional supports, and additional staffing has been ratified for these schools.
  • The Probation Service has allocated an additional probation officer to the Louth Team.
  • The Department of Justice has engaged with the Department of Health and the HSE in relation to the recommendation to provide additional funding to the Red Door Project. Funding has been agreed and is in the process of being allocated from Dormant Accounts Funding. Engagement will continue in relation to additional resourcing needs following the completion of the HSE regional resourcing review.
  • Minister McEntee and Minster Michael McGrath have agreed in principle to the establishment of the Community Safety Innovation Fund to reflect the success of An Garda Siochana and the Criminal Assets Bureau in seizing the proceeds of crime.
  • A new Drogheda Implementation Board will be based locally, housed in the Louth Meath Enterprise Training Board (LMETB) with national oversight provided by the Department of Justice.
  • Progress reports will be published every six months to ensure accountability, transparency and delivery.
  • The ‘Drogheda: Building a Bridge to a Better Future’ report arises from a scoping exercise undertaken by Mr Vivian Geiran, a former director of the Probation Service, at the request of Minister Helen McEntee in 2020. A copy of the report, which was published on 26 March 2021, is available at https://smex-ctp.trendmicro.com:443/wis/clicktime/v1/query?url=http%3a%2f%2fwww.justice.ie%2fen%2fJELR%2fScoping%5fReport%5finto%5fCommunity%5fSafety%5fand%5fWellbeing%5fin%5fDrogheda.pdf%2fFiles%2fScoping%5fReport%5finto%5fCommunity%5fSafety%5fand%5fWellbeing%5fin%5fDrogheda.pdf&umid=0cc4b6b6-589b-4adf-9ede-bbfb05741c15&auth=6872f6337a9b3dc6b8deb7cd57f4474464102c3f-732ea9c8f50ae30ec43ca21300aa1ed11bf6ce4d
  • In addition to an overarching recommendation for the establishment of a coordination structure to improve community safety and wellbeing in Drogheda, the other recommendations in the report cover areas related to: drug use; youth and community development facilities; services for children and young people; education and training; arts, culture, sport and recreation, local authority organisation and services; local infrastructure and assets; employment, enterprise and development; and ethnic and racial issues.
  • The Chair of the Drogheda Implementation Board, Michael Keogh, is a former senior official in the Department of Education who is from Drogheda. Mr Keogh drove significant projects and implemented change in the education sector in his almost 20 years in the Department of Education. He has also worked in the Revenue Commissioners, the Department of Social Protection and the Central Statistics office.

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