Government to put “special focus” on Drogheda as Minister Humphreys launches Drogheda Implementation Plan

 

·         Government agrees that funding applications under Drogheda Implementation Plan will be prioritised by Departments and Agencies

·         Several actions already implemented, including additional supports for three local primary schools and additional funding for the Red Door Project

·         Plan lays outs timelines and responsible bodies for each action, with reviews to take place quarterly and progress reports published twice a year

 

21 July 2021

 

The Minister for Justice, Heather Humphreys TD, has today launched 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.

 

Minister Humphreys published the Drogheda Implementation Plan after receiving Cabinet approval that a “special focus” will be put on Drogheda by the Government.

 

This is a practical recognition by Government of the particular issues faced by the town, its surrounding areas and communities. 

 

In line with this commitment, the Government has agreed that Departments and State agencies will prioritise funding applications for projects in Drogheda related to the Drogheda Implementation Plan. Minister Humphreys said she is satisfied this will put a Government spotlight on Drogheda.

 

Speaking at the launch, Minister Humphreys said:

 

“Many of us in government made a promise to help the people of Drogheda fight criminality and improve the safety and wellbeing of the community in the town and its surrounding areas.

 

“I believe that the Drogheda Implementation Plan and the Government commitment to place a special focus on the town will help to fulfil our commitment.

 

“It is important to recognise that the minority engaged in criminal actions do not represent the people of Drogheda. An Garda Síochána have shown immense dedication and diligence over the past number of years tackling the criminal elements within the town and the surrounding areas.

 

“But we know public safety cannot simply be the responsibility of the police alone, and must engage other agencies of Government, such as health or social services, as well as other sectors of society.”

 

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

 

o   Example action: New Community Alerts system to be rolled out by the end of the year 

 

·         Drug use

 

o   Example action: Additional funding to be agreed for the Red Door Funding by the autumn

 

·         Youth and Community Development Facilities

 

o   Example action: Site for Moneymore Community Hub to be identified

 

·         Services for Children and Young People

 

o   Example action: Co-ordination of child and youth services in Drogheda by the end of the year

 

·         Education and Training

 

o   Example action: Additional supports to three primary schools already provided

 

·         Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation

 

o   Example action: All-county arts plan to be developed, with funding from Creative Ireland pursued

 

·         Local Authority Organisation and Services

 

o   Example action: Eliminate backlog of social housing voids by the end of the year

 

·         Local Infrastructure and Assets

 

o   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

 

o   Example action: IDA to develop new enterprise buildings over next three years

 

·         Ethnic and racial issues

 

o   New Primary Health Care Unit for Traveller Project to be delivered next year

 

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

 

 

A new Drogheda Implementation Board will be based locally, housed in the Louth and 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.

 

Minister Humphreys said,

 

“By overseeing the Plan’s actions, the Drogheda Implementation Board will be the core driver and co-ordinator of change in the town. I am very grateful to Martin O’Brien of the LMETB and I am also glad that Michael Keogh, a former senior official in the Department of Education who is from Drogheda, will chair the Drogheda Implementation Board.

 

“The Department of Justice will provide national oversight to ensure strategic direction, action planning and the delivery of the Drogheda Implementation Plan, and progress reports will be published every six months.

 

“I wish to thank Vivian Gerian for his work in conducting the scoping exercise that informed the report, and the many members of the community that gave Mr Geiran their time, ideas and experiences to aid in his work.

 

“This report and implementation plan reflect this approach and, through the plan, we will prioritise projects and funding that will benefit the community in Drogheda.”

 

The implementation plan reflects this and other work which has been progressed since the publication of the initial Vivian Guerin report in March. Where such activity has been reported by a relevant body, it is reflected in the plan under ‘current status’. Where further steps are required, these are set out with timelines and the responsible body indicated.

 

The Minister concluded,

 

“Through our engagement, it is clear how much positive work is taking place in Drogheda through all Government Departments, across the areas of sports, tourism, business, community development, further education, health and youth services, to name a few.

 

“The Implementation Plan will be a living document that will be updated on a regular basis. Where new actions or activities are advised that support the implementation of the plan, they will be added. Such reviews will be conducted on a quarterly basis and progress reports produced twice yearly.”

 

ENDS…/

 

Notes for Editors:

 

A copy of the implementation plan is available at http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Drogheda_Report_Implementation_Plan.pdf/Files/Drogheda_Report_Implementation_Plan.pdf

 

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:

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Scoping_Report_into_Community_Safety_and_Wellbeing_in_Drogheda.pdf/Files/Scoping_Report_into_Community_Safety_and_Wellbeing_in_Drogheda.pdf

 

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.