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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Questions - Departmental bodies [Dublin north inner city task force] [30289/16].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Questions - Departmental bodies [Dublin north inner city task force] [30289/16]. (19 Oct 2016)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/ga/debates/debate/dail/2...


1. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Taoiseach to provide an update on the formation of the Dublin north inner city task force, its terms of reference, chair and timescale. [30289/16]

 

The Taoiseach: Last July, the Government launched a major initiative for the Dublin north-east inner city with the establishment of a ministerial task force to oversee the long-term social and economic regeneration of the area.

To support the work of the ministerial task force, Mr. Kieran Mulvey was appointed to engage with the local community groups, representatives and other interests and to report back by November with specific recommendations.

 

The terms of reference for this work were also published in July and these include making recommendations on specific measures to support the long-term economic and social regeneration of the area, including in the areas of: community safety and policing; early intervention programmes for children; education and training; employment opportunities; improving the physical environment; housing; tackling the impact of drugs; and community development, including family, youth and recreational activity.

 

Part of the work involves reviewing and making recommendations on structures and procedures to ensure better co-ordination of statutory and non-statutory programmes in the area.

 

It will also be important to identify some indicators of economic and social development which can be used to track progress over a ten-year period. A number of short-term measures were also announced to help the community address some of the immediate challenges facing it. The ministerial task force, which I chair, is due to meet again next week and will be briefed by Mr. Mulvey on his work to date. I understand he is concluding his initial phase of work which has involved many meetings with people in the area, including community groups, residents, businesses, public representatives and public agencies. He has invited groups and individuals to make short submissions, which he is now receiving. He remains on track to submit his report by the end of November.

 

Deputy Joan Burton: The Taoiseach will recall that prior to the establishment of the task force, I told him that not only were older people very nervous and frightened about what was happening in the north inner city, many children were very frightened as well and were asking their parents to explain what was going on. The Taoiseach pointed out a number of issues at the heart of the difficulties faced by the community, particularly the development of a strong and localised community police force. In the north inner city, it has become very common to see armed police units carrying out checks on motorists and travellers going up and down the different roads and entrances. The feud between a number of criminal elements is, unfortunately, still ongoing. I am not aware that any people have been apprehended in respect of the four murders that have taken place in the area. I know that families and distant relatives of people on both sides are terrified about what will happen.

 

In the context of the proposed Garda strike, does the Taoiseach have a proposal to ensure people in the north inner city are safe given the extreme breakdown of law and order the feud has involved and the fact that people are very frightened? There were many very good proposals and work was done to strengthen community policing. The Taoiseach might let us know how many additional gardaí have been allocated to the north city centre since the development of the task force. As the Taoiseach noted, there is an ongoing, pervasive and very serious drug problem that is a major contributor to gangland crime and the difficulties in many people's lives. It affects not just users but their families who are also affected by pressure for payments that are alleged to be related to drug debts. In the context of this very vulnerable area and the proposed Garda strike involving the withdrawal of services, what proposals does the Taoiseach have to ensure not just adults but children can feel safe? The Taoiseach has taken on the leadership of this. Has consideration been given to a policing plan for the area? Will the Taoiseach tell us what additional Garda resources have been given to the area? We hope the Garda strike does not happen but if it takes place, which would involve gardaí of different ranks withdrawing their labour, what resourcing is proposed?.....

 

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