Written Answers. - Social Disadvantage.


20 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation if he will give an update on the establishment of the four pilot projects on social disadvantage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15035/98]

Proinsias De Rossa


36 Proinsias De Rossa asked the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation if he will make a statement on progress towards the establishment of the four pilot programmes on social disadvantage announced in the budget. [15143/98]

Jim O'Keeffe


39 Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation the report, if any, completed on the worst estates in the country using an index of deprivation so that an integrated and sustained approach can be adopted to improve this situation. [13857/98]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 20, 36 and 39 together.

One of the Government's key priorities is to ensure a more focused and better co-ordinated response by the statutory authorities in addressing the needs of severely disadvantaged urban communities. To that end, the interdepartmental committee on local development, which I chair, has been given a mandate to oversee an integrated services project which aims to produce a model of best practice that can be extended to other deprived urban areas.

The pilot project will target four areas: Dublin's north-east inner city; the canal communities of Fatima Mansions, St. Teresa's Gardens, St. Michael's House and Dolphin House; Jobstown, Tallaght and Togher, Cork. The initial stage of the project involves consultation with local communities about the needs of their areas culminating in area reports profiling existing services and resources; identifying the extent of integration between them and devising a framework to enhance co-ordination and integration of efforts.

A steering group comprising representatives from the Departments of Tourism, Sport and Recreation, of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, of Environment and Local Government and from Area Development Management Ltd. — ADM — has been established under the auspices of the interdepartmental committee on local development to oversee the project.
Given ADM's experience in relation to partnerships and its knowledge of local communities, it has been given an important role in the day-to-day management of the project and has now appointed a central co-ordinator to oversee the project's implementation. Reports will be drawn up on the four areas, in consultation with the local communities. It is intended that reports will be available in the autumn.
It is the Government's intention that a successful model evolved during this project will be extended to other urban areas of major disadvantage. Such an extension will be informed by an objective mapping of deprivation in urban areas.
I hope that final recommendations will go to the Cabinet committee on social inclusion in the autumn. Action after that date will be determined by the nature of the recommendations and the decisions of the Cabinet committee.
My colleague, the Minister for the Environment and Local Government is responsible for housing estate management. His Department has overseen the publication of the second report of the housing management group, which recommends the adaptation of an inter-agency approach by the local authorities in housing estate management.
Many large urban local authority estates suffer acute levels of deprivation in terms of educational disadvantage, unemployment, crime and drug misuse. This report examines how local authorities can take the lead role in ensuring that the co-ordinated plans and programmes of the relevant State bodies address these fundamental problems. A housing unit was established in March of this year in the Institute of Public Administration — IPA — with a specific mandate to examine and implement the proposals made. Any questions on this issue should be addressed to the Minister for Environment and Local Government.