The population of Drogheda grew by 13% between 2016 and 2022, new census figures confirm. This is 5% ahead of the average national growth rate. One part of Drogheda grew in population by 38.55% since the last census, the highest growth rate of any electoral district in the entire state.

The population of County Louth expanded by 7.9% since 2016. Most of this growth took place in Drogheda and into East Meath.

The number of residents living in the area of Drogheda situated in County Louth has increased to 39,202 (up from 37,377 in 2016). The number living in the areas of Drogheda situated in Meath (which includes the East Meath villages of Donacarney and Mornington) stood at 16,438 in 2022 (up from 11,864), while the number of people now living in the East Meath villages of Laytown, Bettystown, and Julianstown is 11,474 (up from 10,176 in 2016).

This brings the population of the greater Drogheda area to 67,114, leading to renewed calls by Drogheda City Status Group (DCSG) for the establishment of a greater Drogheda city authority as a matter of urgency.

“Drogheda is Ireland’s newest city,” DCSG chairperson Anna McKenna said.

“These figures reaffirm what we have been saying for several years now – that Drogheda is Ireland’s largest town, fastest-growing town, and as it merges with the East Meath villages, it is in fact already a city.”

One part of Drogheda, the electoral district of ‘St. Mary’s Part Rural’, saw a population growth between 2016 and 2022 of an incredible 38.55%. This area incorporates many of the new housing estates in southern Drogheda as well as some fast-growing nearby villages. DCSG believes that this was the area that saw the greatest growth in percentage terms anywhere in the Irish State over the past six years.

“The census reinforces the pressing and undeniable need for Drogheda to be officially declared a city, so that we can properly plan the future of what will soon be Ireland’s newest metropolis,” the chairperson said.

Considerable further residential development is planned, particularly to the north of Drogheda, where the new Port Access Northern Cross Route, currently under construction, will allow 7,000 residential units to be built in the coming years, bringing in the region of 20,000 new inhabitants.

“By any measure, Drogheda is a city and needs as a matter of urgency the establishment of a city council so that we can properly plan what’s coming down the line.”

“To respond to the exceptional population growth, we will need up to 30,000 jobs locally, in Drogheda, south Louth and east Meath.”

“We want to ensure the educational infrastructure is in place to deal with the massive increases that have occurred and which look to dramatically rise in the coming years. We look forward to the establishment of a university campus to serve Drogheda and the region.”

“We also want proper planning for sustainability and integration, and a plan for the protection and promotion of the area’s rich heritage because Drogheda is situated amidst the most important and significant monuments and historical remnants anywhere in Ireland, including the Unesco World Heritage Site of Brú na Bóinne.”

“Some 32% – almost one in every three – of the working population of Drogheda and its outlying villages commute daily to jobs either in the capital city Dublin or elsewhere. There must be a meaningful effort now to create a sustainable community that can work locally and live in an attractive and vibrant city.”

“We want to see the completion of the Port Access Northern Cross Route to take heavy goods traffic out of the centre of Drogheda. We also want to see the construction of a railway station on the main Dublin-Belfast railway line on the north side of the city.”

Drogheda is growing faster than most other Irish cities. Its growth rate of 13.2% exceeds those of Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford.