Dublin’s inner city could see €20m regeneration plan

Ministers are considering a multimillion euro urban renewal project for the area

Flowers at the site of the murder of Martin O’Rourke, who was shot dead in April in a gangland attack on Sheriff Street, Dublin. Photograph: Peter Murtagh

Flowers at the site of the murder of Martin O’Rourke, who was shot dead in April in a gangland attack on Sheriff Street, Dublin. Photograph: Peter Murtagh

 

Ministers have begun considering a multimillion euro plan to regenerate Dublin’s northeast inner city.

The project, which comprises a set of proposals not yet finalised but which were outlined this week to members of a ministerial task force set up in June, envisages a targeted but widespread urban renewal programme.

The aim is to tackle derelict sites, urban decay and poor housing in the area east of O’Connell Street and north of the Liffey to Ballybough.

In parallel, social services and education opportunities would be delivered in a more coherent fashion and, crucially, inner-city businesses, especially the financial and legal services companies of the IFSC and docklands, will be expected to provide pathways to employment.

“You cannot have the wealthiest corporate clients in Ireland, and some of them [the wealthiest] in the world, living beside a ghetto of social problems,” said a source who has read the proposals.

Wealthy companies had to move beyond commitment to corporate social responsibility, said the source.

“There’s no point funding a festival, or painting a school or giving jerseys to a team or organising a school trip. You have to invest money in jobs and the creation of better infrastructure.

“But the second thing you have to do is bring them into the jobs. Bring them into a traineeship, bring them into a careership.”

Drug use

The proposals, which one source estimated would cost “not less than €20 million”, have been drawn up by former chairman of the Labour Relations Commission Kieran Mulvey.

He was asked to do so in June, prompted by the ongoing feud between the Kinahan and Hutch gangs, which led to another murder on Thursday night, and the nexus of illegal drug use and northeast inner city social deprivation that provides a backdrop to gangland violence.

It is understood that Mr Mulvey will consult community leaders again in early January before finalising his recommendations.

However, they are expected to include a strong emphasis on employment, community policing, including the re-opening and upgrade of Fitzgibbon Garda station, more targeted and coherent delivery of social services and education opportunities, and a significant urban regeneration programme.

This would see the targeted elimination of derelict sites, the renovation, for community and enterprise use, of buildings such as the former Magdalene Laundry and convent on Seán MacDermott Street, as well as the recasting of major thoroughfares into tree-lined boulevards with new walkways, cycle lanes and public seating.

Dissident involvement

Meanwhile, gardaí believe the murder of Noel Kirwan has increased the risk of dissident republicans in Dublin becoming involved in the Kinahan-Hutch feud.

Mr Kirwan (62) was very close to the republican movement and some of his associates, who have not been involved in the feud to date, are active members of dissident paramilitary groups.

Gardaí believe his murder may now result in dissidents effectively joining forces with the Hutch faction in feuding with the Kinahan gang.

Garda sources point to the fact that some of the Hutch grouping have in the past carried out robberies with the sanction of the Provisional IRA and shared some of the proceeds with it.

They believe dissidents have already supplied some of the Hutch faction with firearms for the feud.