Dundalk is a progressive, forward-facing town, with many things going for it.
However, we've compiled a list of some niggling issues that we feel need to be addressed for Dundalk to prosper into the future.
RE-OPEN THE LOUTH HOSPITAL:
Before we can look at any other issues, the full re-opening of the Louth Hospital on the Dublin Road is essential. That people from Dundalk must travel to Drogheda to seek sufficient medical attention is simply not good enough in this day and age for a town the size of Dundalk.
MULTI-PURPOSE SPORTS COMPLEX:
The absence of a suitable facility for Louth GAA has long been a bone of contention, our county is one of the only in Ireland without a ground capable of hosting championship action. Likewise, while efforts have been made to bring Oriel Park up to par, the facilities in the stadium are still in need of regeneration.
A multi-purpose facility capable of hosting these and other sports would thus be an invaluable investment. The grounds adjacent to the DkIT sports complex were previously mooted as a potential destination. In 2012, then president Denis Cummins and Louth GAA Chairperson Padraic O’Connor submitted plans to that end but were ultimately unsuccessful. Resurrecting that scheme or devising a similar one would be a major boost to sports in Dundalk.
MORE HOTELS IN TOWN CENTRE:
As well as increasing employment options for residents in the area, the establishment of new hotel units in Dundalk would make the town a more appealing location for tourists. While the Crowne Plaza and Ballymac offer options to those visiting the town, neither are walking distance from Dundalk town centre. The Imperial Hotel is the only one in the town centre.
ADDITIONAL MUSIC VENUE:
While the Spirit Store has always been a hub for musicians both local and national, an additional - larger - purpose-built venue in the heart of the town would serve as another means of attracting more artists to Dundalk and open up a new social outlet for residents.
CLANBRASSIL STREET REGENERATION:
It is the main street in Dundalk, but unfortunately it has dwindled in influence in recent times. There are some fantastic old buildings that need, and deserve, a new lease of life.
Transforming the vacant upstairs areas above shops for residential use could attract more people back onto the street.
STATUES OF PROMINENT LOCAL FIGURES:
The Maid of Erin at the Square is the one everyone would probably think of first (or Kelly's Monument outside St Patrick's), but there are a host of Dundalkians - past and present - that deserve public recognition. Tom Sharkey (world champion boxer)? Sir Francis Leopold McClintock (famed Arctic explorer)? Or Dorothy McArdle (playwright and novelist)? Let's celebrate our successes!
While we all appreciate having smooth and efficient roads to travel on, we could do with less of them being worked on at the same time. This week the Blackrock Road was closed at peak times, with tailbacks of up to 30 minutes coming into town.
All other suggestions are welcome.