Dáil debates

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Ceisteanna - Questions

Urban Renewal Schemes

4:10 pm

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

While the work of the north east inner city group is very welcome, serious issues arise concerning the level of resources required and more importantly, about the lack of a coherent national local development agenda. There is nowhere in the world where a once-off report and the ongoing implementation of that report has delivered sustained regeneration. What works is a systematic and ongoing process of local engagement, shared planning between State agencies and ongoing planning.

Last month, Deputy Curran asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Deputy Ring, why the Government is refusing to adopt an approach of systematically targeting concentrated disadvantage. There has been a huge drop-off in the kind of co-ordinated approach that existed a decade ago. The reply that Deputy Curran received was an example of a Government which is mainly focused on the number of projects Ministers can announce, rather than on having a real impact. The approach is to distribute funding in a much broader way, devolving some to the local authorities but most into the hands of the Minister. This has led directly to a reduction in the funding being given to the communities most in need. The joint planning approach of State services in disadvantaged communities has been pushed to the side as well. The spirit of the revitalising areas by planning, investment and development, RAPID, programme has been well and truly buried.

I ask the Taoiseach to commission a short report on the impact of moving from a development approach focused on the most disadvantaged communities to one which is far more scattered. Does the Taoiseach agree that the approach in the north inner city that he was praising should be followed elsewhere? Before Christmas, the Taoiseach promised to examine the issue of the increased politicisation of grants in a range of areas such as the arts, community development and research. I ask him to outline the results of that examination.

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