There will be no meetings of public representatives in Louth this month after the monthly meeting of the Drogheda Borough Council meeting was postponed, despite Mayor of Drogheda Paul Bell wanting the meeting to go ahead.
Members from Dundalk and Ardee Municipal District committees decided late last month that they would not go ahead with their monthly meetings, slated to take place on the first Tuesday and Thursday of the month respectively. However, the plan was that the Drogheda Borough Council meeting was to go ahead. The meeting was scheduled to take place tomorrow (Monday April 6).
Mayor of Drogheda Cllr Paul Bell was keen to hold the meeting, to discuss issues namely relating to the local authority’s response to Covid-19 and to raise concerns and representations from constituents who are affected by changes and reductions to services due to the outbreak. Cllr Bell also felt that holding a meeting would act as a demonstration of solidarity to all those who are working through the crisis – include civil and public servants and workers in retail, distribution, public transport and agriculture.
In a letter to other councillors in which he outlined why he felt the meeting should go ahead, Cllr Bell said that the work of elected representatives was essential and it was important they showed leadership during the pandemic.
A number of councillors were against the idea of holding a meeting, usually held at Barlow House and open to the public, and outlined their intention not to attend. Cllr Bell believes the majority of the 10 councillors wanted the meeting to go ahead.
It is not expected that there will be a full council meeting in April either. The meeting, held on the third Monday of the month and at County Hall in Dundalk, will likely not take place given government restrictions advising people to stay at home expect for essential trips for food and medicine or to care for relatives are likely to be extended past April 12. Some councillors were critical of the decision to hold a meeting on March 23 at Town Hall in Dundalk, despite the council attempting to implement physical distancing measures at the large venue.
Reports will be circulated to councillors and they will be asked to email queries to the relevant departments.
Louth County Council have established a Community Response Forum, as have all local authorities across the county as per order from Minister Eoghan Murphy, which aims to contribute to the community-wide effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. The forum includes the Health Service Executive, An Garda Síochána, Louth Leader Partnership, Louth Volunteer Centre, Louth Age Friendly Alliance, An Post and some other community, voluntary and sports representatives.