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Sunday 25 September 2016

'I've seen the problems first hand on the streets' - Taoiseach

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has praised the "resilience" of the people of Dublin's north inner city as "quite incredible" in the face of gang violence and drug-dealing.

He says he has taken the issue "very much to heart" and told of a recent visit to the area where he witnessed drug dealers operating openly on the streets.

Mr Kenny said he's opposed to the legalisation of drugs, but that he's in favour of medically supervised injection centres for addicts.

A Ministerial Taskforce to help the community was set up amid the ongoing feud between the Kinahan cartel and the Hutch gang.

Visited

Mr Kenny said he has visited the area several times in recent months.

"I was down at the back of the IFSC there recently and there were nine dealers on the street within a hundred yards of that building," he said.

He said that people in the community are some of the "most solid, committed citizens of this country" but "the area's been given a bad name by a very small percentage of people".

Mr Kenny said there is now a very visible garda presence in the area.

"Obviously we want to see that people are safe in their homes and on the streets," he said, adding that he wants children in the area to have opportunities.

In a wide-ranging briefing to journalists, Mr Kenny argued that Fianna Fail's policy of abolishing water charges would mean "everybody could leave their taps on" and the taxpayer would have to foot the bill.

Measures

Fine Gael supports conservation measures through metering, and a "fair and affordable contribution" from households, he said.

Mr Kenny said the Citizens' Assembly to discuss the Eighth Amendment - the law giving equal status to a mother and an unborn child - will meet for the first time on October 15.

Asked if he would still be Fine Gael leader for the three Budgets agreed with Fianna Fail, Mr Kenny replied that his focus is on the government's "very big agenda".

He said he was not concerned about his political legacy, but joked: "The one remaining thing I'd like to do is to see the green and red take up Sam Maguire at Croke Park."

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