Economic boost for inner-city Dublin

Crime-hit communities in inner-city Dublin are set to benefit from development in the nearby Docklands and related economic activity, Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe has said.

The cabinet member outlined some of the options being assessed by the Government ahead of a taskforce being set up to help the north inner city in the wake of recent gangland-linked murders there.

A broad outline of the plan to help the communities is expected to be ready before the Dáil rises for the summer and ministers take their holidays, Mr Donohoe said.

He was speaking following a meeting of inner city representatives, including councillors and TDs, who met Taoiseach Enda Kenny for over two hours in government buildings yesterday.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Donohoe explained:
“We are going to have more economic activity than the north inner city has seen for many many years — the strategic development zone in the Docklands, the large construction works that are due to begin later on in the year at the top of Sheriff Street.”

The Dublin Central TD outlined how a local apprenticeship programme should be part of that.

Labour’s Joe Costello has called for jobs in the nearby business district to be ringfenced for local communities, including in the construction sector.
Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald said yesterday it could take “a generation” to help communities and resolve some of the concerns in the north inner city.
She also said it needed to be clarified if the taskforce would be set up on a statutory footing or not.

“The communities don’t want a pat on the head.”
Mr Donohoe agreed that some issues may take years but that an action plan would ensure some were implemented sooner. However, some areas involving support in education could take many years to produce results, he said.

It would be clear before the Dáil rises what the plan would be, he said, although the proposed taskforce for the area may not be up and running by then.
Councillors in general were pleased with yesterday’s meeting, but also said that the time for talking needed to come to a close soon. Social Democrats councillor Gary Gannon said Mr Kenny pledged several times during the meeting that this was “not a gimmick” and that he wanted a real plan put together.

Councillors also welcomed the fact that the taskforce would be community-led as opposed to just being controlled by the Government. It will be chaired by junior housing minister Damien English. The taskforce will also involve input from several departments, including health and environment.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said that the inner city area economically had suffered for many years. The Tánaiste also said that communities had been devastated by the recent murders but that a heavy policing presence was still necessary to try and stop any more bloodshed.

Speaking after the meeting, Workers’ party councillor Éilís Ryan proposed that a ‘Docklands tax’ be levied on large businesses in the area and IFSC, with the revenue going to fund public investment in local jobs.




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