herald

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Taoiseach under pressure over inncer city 'task force' plans

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was today due to meet with politicians from the north inner city about his plans to revitalise the area.

The meeting comes as pressure mounts on Mr Kenny over the specifics of the much talked-about task force.

Local representatives will meet the Fine Gael leader in Government Buildings as part of a series of meetings to tease out what can be done to tackle crime and inequality there.

However, Social Democrats councillor Gary Gannon said that people in the area wanted to hear about what the task force would entail.

"What I want to find out is what tangible actions will be taken, to either hear a plan or give an input into what the plan is for the north inner city," he said.

"It can't just be more press releases or meetings. Everyone knows what the issues are, they are long established."

The inner city task force was announced with much fanfare as a response to a wave of gangland killings that have plagued the area.

Former Lord Mayor Christy Burke said this meeting should be the last "fact-finding" exercise for the Government.

Action

"It's now a matter for the Taoiseach to prove himself, and the plan of action has to be put in place," Mr Burke said.

"I've spoken to several people who want to know what we are going to do now."

Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald said that she expected more detail on the plans for the inner city to be unveiled before the summer recess.

"Now it's about getting on with implementing a programme of support for that community," she said.

"We've identified a number of areas where support can be given and the Taoiseach has given his own full commitment to ensuring that this will be ongoing - both in the short and the longer term," she said.

"You can expect to see a whole range of initiatives in terms of that area in the coming weeks and months."

Today's meeting comes after the Taoiseach and six ministers met with local community groups and activists last week.

Joe Dowling, who works in Hope, a local drugs project, and also with the elderly in the area said he felt the meeting was "very positive".

"I thought he [the Taoiseach] was very genuine and sincere. He listened for over an hour and he summed it up well at the end.

"He said that he is going to oversee everything himself, and that gave me hope.

"Hopefully, it'll make a difference - that's all I hope for my community."

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