Howlin calls for all-party agreement on 10-year plan for Dublin’s north inner city
I spent several hours in Dublin’s North Inner City in recent days with my Labour colleague Joe Costello where I met with members of the local community, community leaders, business owners, educators, service providers and Gardai.
The spotlight is shining on the area at this moment, thanks to the recent spate of gang-related gun deaths. What I heard in the conversations I had, was that locals were weary of the sudden bursts of attention that they get when awful situations like this arise, because their experience is that once the TV cameras disappear, and the killings are shifted off the front pages, they are once again pretty much left to their own devices.
They fear that ultimately, the inequality and the deprivation that is at the root of so many of the problems they face, will continue to be ignored and that no attention will be paid to issues around education for example, or local employment opportunities, or healthcare provision, or housing.
I told them that I shared their view that tackling drugs crime was far more complex than simply providing more Gardai on patrol, and that there needed to be a far more comprehensive approach taken.
I promised them that I would seek all-party agreement in the Oireachtas on putting together a multi-agency plan for the area and I was in agreement with them that any such task force could only work if the local community was fully involved.
But the plan that emerges from such a process must be given long-term support across the board, from Government Departments, state agencies, voluntary organisations, Dublin City Council, and the Oireachtas. It simply cannot be a plan that is adopted in principle now, only for those responsible for implementing it, to cherry-pick the bits of it that suit them, and to conveniently forget about those that don’t.
What the people of North Inner City Dublin need is a ten-year plan that has all-party buy-in so that it can survive the vagaries of changes in government, changes in ministers and changes in personnel in state agencies, and I will be pursuing this as Leader of the Labour Party, as a matter of urgency in the Dail.
Contact Dermot O’Gara 086-084-6534