Dublin’s north inner city in ‘crisis’ of neglect, says Labour

Former TD Joe Costello describes Taoiseach’s taskforce as a distraction tactic

Reporters gathered outside  a school in Dublin’s north inner city during a visit by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minster for Justice Frances Fitzgerald last June. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Reporters gathered outside a school in Dublin’s north inner city during a visit by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minster for Justice Frances Fitzgerald last June. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

The Government’s efforts to regenerate Dublin’s north inner city are merely an attempt to distract attention from “a crisis of unparalleled social neglect”, former Labour TD Joe Costello has said.

Mr Costello, who lost his Dublin Central seat at the last general election, has tabled a motion at the Labour Party conference calling for greater urban renewal and increased efforts to regenerate derelict sites.

The former junior minister is the Labour spokesperson on urban renewal and intends standing again for the Dáil at the next general election.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has spearheaded a taskforce aimed at improving Dublin’s north inner city in response to a spate of gang related murders in the area in recent years.

Mr Costello, however, described this as an attempt to distract from social neglect.

“The neglect of the fabric of our towns and cities has made many communities a happy hunting ground for crime, drugs, and antisocial behaviour,” he said. “In the last 15 months, ten people have been killed in a deadly gangland feud in the north inner city of Dublin by two gangs who have built criminal empires with criminal contacts around the globe.

“Special policing has already soaked up a budget of €30 million. The Taoiseach with his cavalcade of ministers has presented his engagement with the north inner city as a labour of love. In truth, it is an attempt to deflect public attention from what is in fact a crisis of unparalleled social neglect not a stone’s thrown from O’Connell Street.”

He adds that Labour is preparing a national policy on urban renewal, which will include measures such as giving councils greater power to use compulsory purchase orders to acquire derelict sites.

It will also include a renewed push for a directly elected mayor for Dublin, the establishment of a Dublin Housing Agency with “substantial government funding and with the necessary powers to borrow, build and regulate the construction, residential and rental markets” and greater in greater investment in public transport.