TDs say new jobs must be for docklands people

 

PEOPLE from Dublin docklands should be given jobs in the proposed redevelopment of the area, city deputies said.

Introducing the second stage of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority Bill, the Minister for the Environment, Mr Howlin, said the Government's aim was to harness the collective energies of all the interests in the area to secure its regeneration. The development authority would act "as the engine driving this process".

A task force set up by the Government recommended establishing the authority. An important factor influencing the regeneration initiative was the experience gained from the Custom House Docks and Temple Bar areas.

The docklands area required a more sophisticated structure than copying the Temple Bar or Custom House docks models. The authority's remit would be wider, encompassing social and economic regeneration which "is of immense strategic importance to the city of Dublin as a whole. A city, like any living organism, requires a healthy beating heart."

Mr Eoin Ryan, Fianna Fail spokesman for ecology and urban renewal, welcomed the Bill in principle but said the missing chapter was the social dimension.

"On the north and south docks two issues predominate - houses and jobs. Those issues are not addressed in this Bill."

The Bill did not address the agenda of local communities. "We will not stand idly by and allow the displacement of the indigenous community by default. The docks must not be turned into a theme park for gawkers."

The area had a higher proportion of elderly and very young people than elsewhere and traditional jobs on the docks and in other major industries had disappeared The area's commercial potential must be harnessed for the local people who had lived and worked there for generations. The Minister should give a clear commitment to address meaningfully the issues of education, training and housing in the area.

Mr Michael McDowell (PD, Dublin South East) said the authority should be made to pay for itself - not to become another quango, imposing an expensive bureaucracy on to the problem already there. The way the area was gripped by drugs and deprivation was frightening and needed to be tackled. Rebuilding and bringing more people in to live in the area would lift morale.

Mr Jim Mitchell (FG, Dublin Central) deplored the neglect of the north city in the plan. "It will yuppify that part of Dublin south east which is not already yuppified."

Mr Tony Gregory (Ind, Dublin Central) appealed to the Minister to extend the authority's rem it at least to Capel Street. The experience of the Custom House docks authority was that local people got no jobs and did not benefit.

Mr Eric Byrne (DL, Dublin South Central) welcomed the redevelopment but said this relatively small area should not benefit at the expense of other inner city areas. Dockland communities should be consulted at every stage and should not be displaced by industrial or commercial enterprises.

The Fianna Fail leader, Mr Bertie Ahern, said more than any other part of Dublin, the people of the docklands areas had suffered hugely from unemployment, social deprivation, urban blight and lack of hope for the future.

The new authority must help local communities to develop waterside villages which would provide leisure facilities for water sports, sea-food restaurants, cultural, education and tourist attractions, which would provide jobs for the young people.

Residential development would have to form part of the regeneration if vibrant, sustained activity was to be created by day and by night. "The existing residential communities should be helped to consolidate and develop alongside new residential communities that could be attracted to the area."