President opens inner-city centre for young, jobless Dubliners

Higgins says ‘real work’ should include looking after elderly, neighbours and voluntary work


President Michael D Higgins opening of a new centre for young, unemployed people in Dublin city centre today.

After a brief blessing of “The Junction” (it is on the corner of Pearse Street and Macken Street) by Catholic archbishop Diarmuid Martin, the President addressed guests on the subject of inner city living, pointing out that he lived in nearby Grattan Hall for 18 years.

“I used to say I was going back to the flat... but I soon discovered all my neighbours lived in apartments”, he said.

The Westland Row - Pearse Street parish was a tremendous “community” in which to live , largely because of the people, but also because “you can walk everywhere” and because of the Pearse Street Library where many inner city people learned to use computers.

He said he continues to use the library and recently in preparation for a speech on the 1913 lockout had borrowed some books .

Welcoming the new youth unemployment centre he said the challenge for the stakeholders including the city council and the commercial interests was to ensure the development of the area incorporated local people, particularly “young people who will come here with their projects”. He said “real work” should include looking after the elderly, neighbours and voluntary work.

Diarmuid McCarthy, chairman of St Andrew’s Resource Centre which developed The Junction thanked the local business community including the Provost of Trinity College Paddy Prendergast for ongoing support.

The Junction which is located at the corner of Pearse and Macken streets combines a range of services, operating as an enterprise centre during the day and a drop in centre in the evening where youth employment strategies are also formulated.

He added that part of Archbishop Martin’s title as archbishop was that he was parish priest of City Quay and Westland Row parishes. So he said the ceremony would close with a vote of “thanks to the parish priest for the use of the hall”.