The council ended the era of the landlord and gave the land back to the people

The council ended the era of the landlord and gave the land back to the people
For over one hundred years Dundalk Town Council has served the people of Dundalk.

For over one hundred years Dundalk Town Council has served the people of Dundalk.

In that time, many distinguished and colourful people have represented the people of the town.

It was in the late forties that Peadar O Dowda, known as An Chú, held the chair for three consecutive years.

A great Gaelic scholar, and former teacher at St Mary’s College, he translated the Bible into Irish and was a founder of the Gaelic League in Dundalk.

The last chairman is Cllr Eamonn O’Boyle who was elected last week and in his opening address as cathaoirleach he said few people realise the amount of services provided by the council.

This is a point, noting once again, in this final year of the council’s long life.

Building houses and constructing engineering schemes and public lighting, have been just some of the responsibilities of the town council and over the years the elected councillors have played their part in the management and maintenance of the town.

In 1957 the council sanctioned a loan for £250,000, the largest in the history of the town, in order to built 156 houses at what is now Marian Park.

In recent years, the refurbishment of the Town Hall and the Market Square and the construction of the Nestling Project at Barracks Street, have been just some of the great projects undertaken by the town council.

The question now is how much money and care will be spent on the town now that its council, the body that represents the people, is to be abolished.

Dundalk Town Council, and before that Dundalk Urban Council has a long and distinguished history.

In the first decade of the 20th century many houses in the town were nothing more than hovels unfit for living in.

These poor living conditions lead to outbreaks of diphtheria, scarlet fever and other diseases.

The First World War and then the War of Independence did not help progress in local government and it was not until 1925, four years after the establishment of the Free State, that a county medical officer was appointed to every county.

But the big turnaround in Dundalk was the purchase at this time of the Demesne from Lord Roden for the building of new houses.

The clearing of the slums around Rice’s Lane began in 1932 and by the end of the decade the whole area had been cleared and replaced by the new Christian Brothers primary school.

People who had been living in overcrowded conditions were quickly rehoused thanks to the then urban council.

Large main sewerage schemes were undertaken and the Town and Regional Planning Acts were introduced during this time.

In 1945 the town boundary was extended and then in 1947 the urban council nearly lost its home when the Town Hall went on fire and the concert hall had to be rebuilt.

A great and proud history.