Ardee man and Louth county councillor Finnan McCoy is the new chairman of the Border Region Authority.
The authority is made up of councillors from Louth, Cavan, Monaghan, Leitrim, Sligo and Donegal.
“It stretches from the Atlantic to Dundalk bay,” said Finnan. “It includes the Shannon-Erne waterway, one of the world’s largest.
“It also includes the country’s largest towns, Dundalk, Sligo, Cavan, Monaghan, and Letterkenny.
In recent years there has been significant investment in upgrading the region’s infrastructure and the economy has experienced steady growth.
“The economic development has been helped by the highly educated and skilled workforce produced by centres such as the Dundalk Institute of Technology.
“Some people might ask what is the relevance of the Border Region Authority. I believe that, along with the bodies set up under the Good Friday Agreement, it has contributed towards peace and prosperity in the border region.
“We all know how the Troubles affected this area, especially from an economic point of view. this authority
The authority is made up of 38 elected members: Cavan (6), Donegal (7), Leitrim (5), Louth (7), Monaghan(6) and Sligo(6).
They meet once a month and try to promote communication and links between the different local authorities in the region.
“It is such a diverse and wide region,” said Finnan, “it can be a real challenge to create a vision for future development of the region, but that is what we are focused on.
“Housing, transport, water services, schools, healthcare, retail, community and recreational facilities, these are priorities along with employment.
“EU projects and partnerships are also important. The Border Region has benefited a lot from EU funds
“There is scarcely a town or village which has not in some way benefited from EU support, especially the Interreg IIIA programme. It also promotes tourism which is important for us here in Louth.”