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Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD launches North East Inner City Initiative

The Taoiseach today launched a major initiative focused on the development of North East Inner City Dublin. The Taoiseach will chair a Ministerial Taskforce to support the long-term economic and social regeneration of the area. Kieran Mulvey has been appointed to prepare a report, working closely with community and public representatives, to recommend specific measures to support this regeneration. The terms of reference for this report have been developed following close consultation with community and public representatives from the area. The report is to be delivered to the taskforce by the end of November 2016.

The Taoiseach also announced a number of immediate measures to help the community build on the work already being done and to tackle the challenges the community faces. The Ministerial task force will ensure the delivery of these projects.

These measures include:

- an additional €1,000,000 package of investment, in sports facilities and projects in the area - to be made available for the duration of 2016

- an extra €500,000 for small scale physical investments (focused on clean up of graffiti, derelict sites, litter) and local community and youth projects

- additional funding of €100,000 for supports for drug related projects in the area

- investment in arts-related projects

- several new initiatives to support schools and young people in the North East Inner City

In consultation with the Garda Commissioner it has been decided to re-open Fitzgibbon Street Garda station, and work on this will commence in the second half of 2016, while funding has been confirmed for the redevelopment of Rutland Street school as a permanent focal point for local community projects.

Minister Damien English will also work closely with Mr Mulvey on this report and, this year, will be bringing forward proposals for new urban regeneration measures to complement the existing regeneration programme, while Minister Catherine Byrne is developing a new National Drugs Strategy.

Speaking in St Laurence O'Toole's School in Seville Place this afternoon the Taoiseach said:

I have visited this area a number of times and have listened carefully to the views of residents and groups here. It was clear to me that a significant amount of great work is being done in this area, what is also clear is the dedication and great spirit of the local community.

However, the North East Inner City faces profound challenges despite the great efforts and strengths of so many people. The Taskforce I am announcing today seeks to protect and invest in this community, in their lives today, and in their futures. Its main objective is to recommend and implement measures for the long-term economic and social regeneration of this area - with a ten year timeframe in mind.
In the shorter term, I am delighted to announce some projects that will offer supports and improve opportunity. I remain personally committed to this initiative and I intend to keep visiting the area myself.

Minister Donohoe added:

“I very much welcome this plan and believe it will improve the lives of people living in the north inner city. This Government is committed to tackling the problems that decades of underinvestment have caused. I and my Fine Gael colleague, Cllr Ray McAdam, will ensure that this new investment will make a real difference”.

Mr Kieran Mulvey said:
I am pleased to take on this challenging task on behalf of the Government and I look forward to working closely with the local community over the next few months


Notes to Editors:

Terms of Reference for Report by Kieran Mulvey

(i) to oversee implementation of short-term responses to the recent and ongoing challenges facing the community in the area

(ii) to review existing structures and programmes for economic and social development within the North East Inner City, both statutory and non-statutory

(iii) to engage with and involve local community and public representatives throughout the process; this should include a collaborative review process involving children, young people, parents, professionals and other stakeholders

(iv) to take account of experience and good practice in other projects\areas, as well as national policy developments such as the review of the National Drugs Strategy

(v) to recommend specific measures which would support the long-term economic and social regeneration of the area, with a ten year timeframe, including in the areas of

· community safety and policing
· early intervention programmes for children
· education and training
· employment opportunities
· improving the physical environment
· housing
· tacking the impact of drugs
· community development including family, youth and recreation activity

(vi) to recommend structures\procedures to ensure better co-ordination of statutory and non-statutory programmes in the area

(vii) to identify some indicators of economic and social development which can be used to track progress over a ten-year period.

and to submit a Report to the Ministerial Taskforce by end-November 2016.

Additional 2016 Measures for the North East Inner City

(a) An immediate package of investment from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport worth €1m during the remainder of 2016 in sports facilities and projects in the North East Inner City. Dublin City Council will shortly appoint a Senior Sports Development Officer to the area to oversee implementation of these sports facilities and services.

(b) Additional funds of €500,000 are being provided in 2016 to Dublin City Council by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government to provide social and community supports in the North East Inner City area under social regeneration and social inclusion funding towards:
(i) the development of facilities and small capital works, such as improvements to the physical environment, with a focus on clean-up of litter, graffiti, derelict sites etc.

(ii) to address specific community structural issues, including community engagement and community development, and to support local community and youth projects through existing programmes such as the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP).

(c) A North East Inner City Brighter Future Initiative supported by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs which aims to empower children and young people to become actively involved in the decisions that affect their lives and to be socially included citizens in their own right, using a restorative Practice Methodology.
(d) The Department of Children and Youth Affairs will also support:
(i) a school/community event led by School Completion Programme which showcases the community spirit and all the positive elements of living and learning in the inner-city;
(ii) inclusion of some families affected by recent events in the Strengthening Families Programme which is an evidenced based intervention which will enable families to develop key life skills and to build resiliency for children, young people and families.

(e) The Department of Education and Skills will lead a number of targeted interventions during the second half of 2016 including:

- the City of Dublin Education and Training Board will engage with local community leaders as part of its current review of services in order to develop an integrated service plan to meet the needs of young people and adults in the area
- the Department will engage with local schools, including through an Education Consultative Forum for school principals, to explore how to improve effectiveness of supports to tackle educational disadvantage
- the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) will prioritise DEIS schools in the North East Inner City for targeted supports under a number of programmes to promote emotional and social competence amongst students

The roll-out of these related measures (c) (d) and (e) to support children and young people will be coordinated locally in consultation with schools and other existing initiatives and structures, including the local ABC Programme.

(f) The Department of Health will make available an additional €100,000 to provide additional support in 2016 for projects in the North East Inner City which work directly with recovering drug users and their families, and young people at risk of substance abuse.

(g) Funding has been confirmed for the development of Rutland Street School into a centre to provide a permanent location and focal point for local community projects in the North East Inner City. Dublin City Council is beginning design work and construction will commence later this year.

(h) In addition to the extra Garda resources which are being assigned to the North East Inner City, having consulted with the Garda Commissioner it has been decided to re-open Fitzgibbon Street Garda Station (which was closed for health and safety reasons) and preparatory work for this will commence in the second half of 2016.
(i) The Department of Arts, Heritage and Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs will work alongside Dublin City Council on a number of arts projects in the area during the remainder of 2016, including a proposal from the Firestation Artist’s Studios to convert the ground floor of Buckley Hall into artists’ workshop spaces and day studios, and to fund a feasibility project into the provision of artists studios in the former Magdalene Laundry in Sean McDermott Street.
(j) Local employment opportunities is a stated objective of the Docklands Strategic Development Zone and associated planning permissions. Dublin City Council are now appointing a dedicated staff member to work with the Department of Social Protection, NAMA and other agencies to ensure that the local community accesses employment including apprenticeships, and other community benefit from forthcoming major construction projects in the Docklands SDZ.

Other Actions

These new targeted measures are in addition to some recent relevant developments including:

(k) Enactment of legislation to provide additional powers in relation to the proceeds of crime which will:
- give the Criminal Assets Bureau a power of administrative restraint which will give the Bureau the authority in certain cases to immediately freeze assets which are suspected to be the proceeds of crime while an investigation is ongoing and there are fears the assets will be disposed of;
- reduce the threshold which applies under the Proceeds of Crime Act 1996 from €13,000 to €5,000.

In addition, the Tánaiste will, by way of Regulation, reduce the prescribed sum under which cash suspected of being the proceeds of crime can be seized, from €6,500 to €1,000 .

(l) enactment of the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill to allow for regulation of certain prescription drugs
(m) the start of construction on a new HSE Primary Care Centre in Summerhill
(n) a number of social housing projects in area which are underway or planned, and which will be added to under the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness (Rebuilding Ireland) launched on 19 July
(o) the Garda Commissioner recently announced details of a new Garda Special Crime Task Force, which will operate in cooperation with other agencies including the Revenue Commissioners and Department of Social Protection. The Task Force will utilise the expertise of Garda Divisional Asset Profilers, all of whom have received specific specialised training, as well as the expertise of the Garda Síochána Analysts Service.

(p ) the Garda Commissioner has already assigned 38 newly attested Gardaí to the Dublin Metropolitan Region North Central Garda Division to date. (Store St, Bridewell and Mountjoy).