Independent councillor Paddy McQuillan has called on the the three Drogheda based TDs to do everything in the power to help Louth County Council secure funding and support for the Port Access Northern Cross Route, after the local authority confirmed on Monday that a team is in place to work on a new funding bid for the project.
Responding to a query from Sinn Féin councillor Joanna Byrne about whether or not the council were applying for new money for the project from the latest tranche of Urban Regeneration and Development funding, Director of Services’ Frank Pentony and Catherine Duff both confirmed that the local authority were exploring the new avenues for funding.
Last year, the local authority unsuccessfully appealed the decision not to grant funding through the Urban Regeneration Fund, meaning the project which would link the M1 north of Drogheda to Drogheda Port and in turn create new neighbourhoods and urban areas in land north of the town, remained on the shelf.
Speaking to LouthNow.ie after Monday morning’s council meeting, Cllr McQuillan said Drogheda expects progress on the long awaited project, especially now the town has more representation than ever in Dáil Éireann.
“Louth County Council are again going to apply for funding for the Northern Cross Route. This funding is essential for Drogheda,” the councillor explained. “It releases the stranglehold that the traffic congestion has on the centre of town and also opens up the town for development of thousands of homes.
“We’re just after coming out of an election. We have five TDs in the county and three in Drogheda for the very first time in the history of the town. All three TDs we have in Drogheda canvassed with the election promise of building this Northern Cross Route.
“The people of Drogheda expect now,” McQuillan added. “We voted them in, we stuck by them, we supported them, we got them their seats, now we want action. We want them to step up to the mark now and support Louth County Council in whatever they need to get this across the line.
“Drogheda needs it and Drogheda expects it.”
Director of Services Catherine Duff told the meeting the council were “more hopeful” about a new application, with the local authority believing they can learn from the shortcomings of last year’s unsuccessful bid. Last month, senior engineer John O’Hagan did confirm that the council would apply for URF monies once the new application process had opened.