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Dillon, Lucy (2021) Dublin NEIC progress report. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 77, Spring 2021, pp. 48-50.

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In December 2020, the fourth progress report of the North East Inner City’s (NEIC) Programme Implementation Board (PIB) was launched by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe TD.1 NEIC’s vision is of making the north east inner city a safe, attractive, and vibrant living and working environment for the community and its families with opportunities for all to lead full lives.


In June 2016, a ministerial taskforce chaired by the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny was established to support the long-term economic and social regeneration of Dublin’s NEIC. A report on the area and the challenges it faced was subsequently published, which outlined a plan for the area’s regeneration, grounded in a combination of place-based and people-based approaches to inform regeneration in the NEIC.2 The report led to the establishment of the PIB and four subgroups, each of which took on responsibility for one of the priority areas identified in the report: tackling crime and drugs; maximising educational/training opportunities/creating local employment opportunities; creating an integrated system of social services; and improving the physical landscape.3 Based on a growing understanding of the complex challenges facing the NEIC, it was agreed in 2018 to establish a fifth subgroup to focus on substance use and misuse and to enhance the services provided.

An evaluation assessment carried out in 2019 informed the PIB’s decision to move forward using what was termed ‘a more structured delivery approach to the programme’ (p. 3).4 Its aim was to support the programme and focus on long-term sustainable outcomes; ensure alignment of objectives across the subgroups; enhance cross-team collaboration; and ensure accountability for the delivery of priority actions (p. 3). To deliver on this, a three-year strategic plan for 2020–2022 was developed and implemented.

2020 progress report and substance use

The 2020 progress report outlines the wide range of projects and programmes delivered in the NEIC over the year. Activities are linked to the six priority workstreams as outlined in the strategic plan 2020–2022: enhanced policing; maximising educational, training, and employment opportunities; family wellbeing; enhancing community wellbeing and the physical environment; substance use, misuse, and inclusion health; and alignment of services.

The subgroup on substance use, misuse, and inclusion health focuses on improving health outcomes for people who use and misuse drugs and alcohol and on promoting inclusion health for socially excluded groups experiencing severe health inequalities. Its activities in 2020 included:

  • Funding three drug and alcohol services delivered by voluntary providers. These were a drug and alcohol addiction response team, a homeless case management team, and a residential stabilisation programme. Given the ‘significant benefits for local inhabitants’ (p. 27)1 of these services, the Department of Health made a commitment to provide them with mainstream funding for 2021.
  • Funding the establishment of a community addiction assessment hub for people who use non-opioid drugs.
  • Providing match funding with Healthy Ireland for a community health project to tackle health inequalities. Activities will include building community knowledge and skills around stress management, healthy food, smoking cessation, and health literacy.
  • Supporting community initiatives, such as recovery coaches, dual diagnosis awareness and train-the-trainer workshops, and facilities for outdoor groupwork during Covid-19.

Among the priorities identified for the group in 2021 are to monitor and evaluate the inclusion health hub; to support the delivery of a health diversion programme; and to enhance services for dual diagnosis.


The PIB progress report for 2020 illustrates the wide range of challenges facing those living in the NEIC, reflected in the profile of projects and programmes funded by the Government’s 2020 allocation of €6.5 million. In launching the report, the Minister of Finance reiterated the commitment made in the Programme for Government to ‘expand the Dublin North-East Inner City model to other comparative areas experiencing disadvantage’ (p. 85).5


1 Dublin City Council North East Inner City Programme Office (2020) Dublin North East Inner City progress report 2020. Dublin: NEIC Programme Office. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/33577/

2 Mulvey K (2017) ‘Creating a brighter future’: an outline plan for the social and economic regeneration of Dublin’s North East Inner City. Dublin: Government Publications.

3 Dillon L (2017) Regenerating Dublin’s North East Inner City. Drugnet Ireland, 61: 5–7.

4 Dublin City Council North East Inner City Programme Office (2019) The social and economic regeneration of Dublin’s North East Inner City (NEIC): 2020–2022 strategic plan. Dublin: NEIC Programme Office. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/33752/

5 Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party (2020) Programme for Government: our shared future. Dublin: Department of the Taoiseach. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/32212/

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Intervention Type
Harm reduction, Crime prevention
Issue Title
Issue 77, Spring 2021
June 2021
Page Range
pp. 48-50
Health Research Board
Issue 77, Spring 2021

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