‘Crime and neglect in Dublin city centre’

 

Sir, – In “‘I’ll blow your f**king legs off’ – Crime and neglect in Dublin city centre” (February 13th), you detail life for too many in Dublin’s north inner city. This is a stark and difficult picture, but not the full picture.

The spate of attacks and violent incidents that have occurred in recent weeks have terrified local residents and made headline news. No effort is being spared in bringing these criminals to justice and these events under control.

However, an article focused on neglect could have also considered the new primary care centre in Summerhill, the new primary school building at Seville Place, the extended Lourdes Day Care Centre on Sean McDermott Street, the rebuilt St Mary’s Mansions and work on the reopened Garda station on Fitzgibbon Street.

The catalyst for this is the North East Inner City (NEIC) Taskforce, the goal of which is to support the regeneration of the area. In 2020, total funds approved for the taskforce amounted to an additional €6.5 million; this builds on the €24 million invested by the NEIC since 2016, bringing the total investment figure for the area to more than €30 million to date. This has been used for a range of services from homeless and drug and alcohol services to greening initiatives and schooling and training programmes to ensure the next generation is given the best opportunity to reach its full potential.

Operation Cribbage, for example, was used to support dedicated An Garda Síochána activities to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

The funding has provided for the deployment of dedicated, overtime, uniformed anti-crime beat patrols in the area ensuring a high-visibility Garda presence, where it is needed, on the ground. More will be done. This is not the same as inferring nothing is been done.

A community addiction assessment hub has also been established for individuals who use non-opioid drugs, such as alcohol, cannabis, benzodiazepines. And working with local GPs to assess clients’ needs and to develop appropriate courses of treatment is proving an effective means of managing the needs of those who rely on such substances to get through each day.

Homeless and drug and alcohol services have also received funding for a residential stabilisation programme for those struggling with addiction who are also experiencing homelessness

City Connects is a new pilot programme, which aims to build a network of supports in schools for students, their families and the schools themselves, helping to improve outcomes.

This is combined with the engagement that is taking place with the many successful businesses in the North East Inner City on work placements and skills development for local youths. The Career LEAP programme helps those aged 18 to 25 to gain valuable work experience.

Making sure that there is an opportunity for social connection in the form of bringing together those who live in the area is essential too. That’s why more than half a million euro was provided for community events last year.

There is much going on in the north inner city that warrants scrutiny. I know that. But there is so much being done by so many, supported by a very significant increase in investment.

This battle is not won every day. Our efforts have suffered recent setbacks. There is much more to do. Recent and very substantial efforts have been made to make a difference to the very problems that many are determined to overcome. – Yours, etc,

PASCHAL DONOHOE TD,

Dublin Central,

Minister for Finance

Leinster House,

Dublin 2.