Earlier this week, I joined Minister Paschal Donohoe and Michael Stone, Chairman of the Government’s North-East Inner City Initiative Programme Implementation Board to launch the 2020 North East Inner City Progress Report.
This year’s Progress Report highlights continued improvements and reinforces the commitment of all involved.
Unlike in previous years, the 2020 launch was a ‘virtual’ event which saw local residents, community representatives, business representatives; local service providers; statutory organisations and other supporters of the Initiative following the occasion remotely. Disappointingly, only one other elected public representative for the area decided to attend, so much for their ‘commitment’ to supporting the Initiative.
Now in its fourth year, the work of the Implementation Board is going from strength to strength, with real results being seen in the area. There is a determination, led by Michael Stone and supported by Government, to get the right structures in place so that those living in this area are given a fair chance to have their community seen in the best light possible. From greening initiatives, to policing, to educational supports, the measures are having a real impact on those who live here. We will continue to work, with renewed energy each year, to plug the gaps and to make sure that Dublin’s North East Inner City residents’ pride continues unabated and with good reason’.
The €6.5 million funding allocation that we received from Government in 2020 enabled us to continue to implement a wide range of programmes and projects as we worked to achieve the goals of the Mulvey Report – Creating a Brighter Future – and the NEIC Strategic Plan 2020-2022. An overview and details of this work can be found in this Report. With the 2020 funding allocation, the Board prioritised the funding of measures under six distinct work streams, as identified in the NEIC Strategic Plan 2020 – 2022. This work represents strong collaboration across the statutory, community and business sectors at all levels of the NEIC structures. The Programme Implementation Board’s ambition for 2021 is to continue implementing the NEIC Strategic Plan 2020 – 2022 and the remaining actions set out in the Mulvey Report, focusing on long-term sustainable outcomes, which operate in an integrated framework and add value to the existing service infrastructure’.
Finally, it was acknowledged by Paschal and Michael, that this was the first Progress Report to be launched without Fergus McCabe being present. Fergus was the towering figure of the North Inner City for so many years, working alongside the late Tony Gregory, recently Maureen O’Sullivan but also his work with so many organisations and groups across the North Inner City.
Fergus you, are missed but be assured your work and the ambitions you set for the Mulvey Plan are being actioned upon and implemented. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
Some areas where important progress has been made include:
o The NEIC Work Experience Programme, which is so critical to Transition Year and Fifth Year students in secondary schools in the NEIC. Even in the year of a global pandemic, a highly successful Flash Mentoring Programme was developed for students so that they could move a step closer to realising their ambitions;
o The City Connects Programme, which aims to build a network of support for primary school students in the NEIC, their families, and the schools that serve them, improving outcomes now and for years to come; and
o The drug and alcohol addiction response team; the homeless case management team; and the residential stabilisation programme which were originally fully funded by the NEIC Initiative have secured mainstream funding from the Department of Health for 2021.
Areas which are cited in the Report for further progress for 2021 include:
o City Connects as it develops further;
o PTECH as it becomes more embedded in the participating schools;
o Community Case Management;
o The Local Community Safety Partnership pilot;
o The reopening of Fitzgibbon Street Garda Station; and
o Further progress being made on the development of Rutland Street School;
Fine Gael Councillor - North Inner City
Leader, Fine Gael, Dublin City Council
Chair, Urban Form & Planning Strategic Policy Committee