Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Questions (106)

Mary Lou McDonald


106. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach if he will report on the role of his Department in the North East inner city initiative. [38872/19]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

The Mulvey Report - Dublin North East Inner City - Creating a Brighter Future - which was commissioned by Government was published in February 2017 and contained recommendations for the social and economic regeneration of Dublin's North East Inner City (NEIC).

In June 2017, Michael Stone was appointed by Government as independent Chair of the NEIC Programme Implementation Board. Members of the Board include representatives from relevant Government Departments and Agencies, business and the local community.

The Board is assisted in its work by five Sub Groups:

- Tackling Crime and Drugs;

- Education, Training & Employment;

- Creating an Integrated System of Social Services;

- Improving the Physical Landscape; and

- Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation Services.

The Board (and its subgroups) continues to meet on a monthly basis to oversee and progress the implementation of the Mulvey Report. Officials from my Department work closely with the Board, the Sub Groups and the dedicated Programme Office based in Sean McDermott Street. The Chair of the Board reports to an Oversight Group of senior officials chaired by the Secretary General of my Department. This Group meets regularly and the structure ensures strong and active participation by all relevant Government Departments and Agencies and deals with any barriers or issues highlighted by the Board.

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.

Some highlights of what the Board has delivered to date in 2019 are as follows:

- Increased Garda presence in the area with the Garda Community Support van supporting a focus on community policing;

- Project focused on Drug-related Intimidation commenced in the area;

- Establishment in the NEIC of Ireland’s first Social Inclusion Hub supported;

- Homeless Case Management Team funded;

- Residential Stabilisation Programme funded;

- Funding provided to local Career LEAP supporting young job seekers into work placements and employment;

- Equipment provided to the three local Secondary schools participating in the innovative P-TECH initiative;

- Research project undertaken to identify how social enterprise can be supported and encouraged in the NEIC;

- Funding provided to the local Early Learning Initiative;

- Programme to secure quality work experience placements for students from the six Secondary schools in the NEIC launched;

- Fast Track Counselling for young people funded;

- Men’s Health and Wellbeing Programme supported;

- Green Ribbon project rolling out environmental clean-up and litter prevention in partnership with local residents;

- A comprehensive programme of NEIC local community events and arts projects;

- A comprehensive programme of sport and wellbeing activities;

- Progress continued on the two main public capital projects in the area - Fitzgibbon Street Garda Station and Rutland Street Community Hub.

In 2019, €1 million of the €6.5 million NEIC budget was allocated to the Social Employment Fund through which 55 posts have been filled in community projects providing childcare, youth services, elder care and environmental services. This responsive and innovative initiative has been widely welcomed within the community.

The Programme Implementation Board intends to continue implementing the remaining actions set out in the Mulvey Report, as well as to adopt a greater focus on long-term sustainable outcomes, which operate in an integrated framework and add value to the existing service infrastructure.

The Government remains 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 help make the area a better place to work and live.