Fianna Fáil TD in Dublin Bay North, Sean Haughey has said that the credibility of the Government’s north inner city task force is being drawn into question as commitments given earlier this month were vague and uncosted.
The Deputy made the comments yesterday in Dáil Eireann having raised the matter directly with the Taoiseach.
“Many of the local residents in the inner city are anxious that this initiative may be more about giving the appearance of doing something than being a step change in engagement with their community,” explained Deputy Haughey.
“In 2011, the Taoiseach abolished the role of the Minister of State for local development and the previous Government got rid of the many area-based schemes targeted at the most disadvantaged communities. These schemes delivered substantial improvements which were whittled away.
“Those living in the inner city have continually raised the development of a new community facility in the old Rutland Street school buildings. It’s an historic building and its development would be symbolic of faith in the long-term spirit of the inner city community. These plans have been drawn up, promised and then dropped twice since 2000 and yet again Dublin City Council has announced that the likely cost is too high.
“Those living in the area are crying out for new amenities and the Government must ensure that this particular element of the project goes ahead,” he added.
“Many areas across the north inner city need systematic planning and support. Regrettably, there was nothing tangible proposed in the interim report on housing, community facilities, integration of new communities, youth services or supports for the elderly, all of the issues that need to be addressed.
“Most critically, no commitment was provided on additional funding in 2017. If there are to be new projects and initiatives as part of this report, the Government must be conscious that new funding is needed. It is essential that funding for the inner city allocations will not come from reducing the allocations provided to other areas of the city.
“When a crisis occurs such as the spate of gangland crime that rocked the inner city last year, a Government must be seen to be doing something amid media frenzy. There was a move to establish a task-force but once the media frenzy eased, the interest and commitment from Government has waned.
“As the report is published this week by Mr Kieran Mulvey, I hope that a serious programme will be outlined on its full implementation,” concluded Deputy Haughey.