Dáil debates

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Ceisteanna - Questions

Urban Renewal Schemes

4:00 pm

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Dublin West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 4, inclusive, together.

The Mulvey report, Dublin North East Inner City - Creating a Brighter Future, which was commissioned by Government was published in February 2017 and contained an outline plan for the social and economic regeneration of Dublin's north inner city area.

In June 2017, Michael Stone was appointed by Government as independent chair of the north east inner city programme implementation board. Members of the board include representatives from relevant Departments and Government agencies, business and the local community.

The board is assisted in its work by five subgroups: tackling crime and drugs; education, training and employment; creating an integrated system of social services; improving the physical landscape; and addiction treatment and rehabilitation services.

The board and its subgroups continue to meet on a monthly basis to oversee and progress the implementation of the 54 actions set out in the Mulvey report.

Officials from my Department work closely with the board, the subgroups and the dedicated programme office. The chairman of the board reports to an oversight group of senior officials chaired by the Secretary General of my Department. This group meets regularly and held its most recent meeting yesterday. This structure ensures strong and active participation by all relevant Departments and Government agencies and deals with any structural barriers or issues highlighted by the board.

Cabinet committee B, which I chair, provides the requisite ministerial oversight of the initiative, and receives regular updates on recent progress and implementation of the Mulvey report actions.

I last met the chair of the board at the launch of the P-TECH initiative in Larkin community college on 16 November 2018.

The board recently published its 2018 annual progress report. Notable achievements highlighted in the report include: 50 new staff funded and recruited to enhance service delivery in childcare, youth work, elder care and physical environmental projects; the completion of refurbishment works on the Lourdes daycare centre; commencement of enabling works to Fitzgibbon Street Garda station; 51 new gardaí assigned to the area since last April; and the development of the P-TECH initiative in three second level schools in the area to link industry and education through mentorships and internships.

The Government is committed to supporting and investing in the north east inner city community, and ensuring that Michael Stone and the board have the necessary resources to achieve their targets and fulfil their ambition. To this end, the Government has made available €6.5 million in funding for the initiative in 2019.

Showing the ambition for 2019, the board intends to place an emphasis on ensuring that the longer-term interventions required to make a fundamental and transformational change to the area are initiated and implemented.

Central to the board’s aims for 2019 are initiatives to improve assistance for families affected by addiction issues and drug-related intimidation; to build on relationships with local businesses and employers to create sustainable employment; and continued efforts to improve the physical and built environment to make the north east inner city a better place to live and work.

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