Inner-city Dublin ‘a social apartheid’ politicians hear

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his ministers have heard calls for urgent action in Dublin’s inner city amid claims the area has been left to become a “social apartheid” after decades of neglect.

Several Cabinet members met community leaders in the inner city last night to come up with a plan to deal with crime and to combat the gangland feud which has hit the area.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, North Wall Community Association chairman Gerry Fay said three decades of neglect had created a “social apartheid” for people in the inner city.

He pointed out that there had been broken promises over the years to help the community with housing, including in the luxury Spencer Dock developments nearby, as well as when the Irish Financial Services Centre was developed.

Speaking outside his shop on Seville Place, just metres from the meeting, he said this had included promises of social housing.

“I want someone to apologise to me and the community for what’s happened over the last 30 years,” he said. “They’ll say this and that and promise the future.”

Mr Fay said there had been five murders in the area in 80s and 90s and nothing was done. “But you’re also probably standing in the most valuable price of real estate in the country.”

Regarding the feud between the Kinahan and Hutch gangs which has so far resulted in the death of seven people, he added: “The dogs on the street know who they [the members] are.”

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe admitted there had been “decades” of underinvestment in the area. He was joined at the meeting at St Laurence O’Toole’s School by colleagues Frances Fitzgerald, Richard Bruton, Finian McGrath, and junior ministers Damien English and Catherine Byrne.

Speaking before he went into the meeting, Mr Kenny said he wanted to speak to community leaders who had an interest in promoting education and safety.

Former Dublin City Mayor Christy Burke called for an urgent action plan. There was a need for teachers, apprenticeships, and policing.

“Let’s hope before the summer we see some action,” he said. “If there are false promises, the reception here might not be so diplomatic next time.”

Suggestions at the meeting are expected to contribute to a taskforce. Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald said this needed to act fast and the community didn’t just need a “pat on the head”.

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