How could a knacker like that speak Portuguese.
THIS IS WHAT a young man from Dublin’s north inner city claims was said about him when applying for a job in the area.
The local man, Paul McKeown, stood up in Sheriff Street Youth Centre last night and told the Taoiseach that he has experienced discrimination while job-seeking, despite having a Master’s degree and being fluent in Portuguese.
In the midst of a turbulent week in his own personal career, Taoiseach Enda Kenny was in a packed-out hall for the launch of the north inner city task force report.
The Mulvey report, which was commissioned during the summer in the wake of a run of gangland killings in the city centre associated with the Hutch-Kinahan gangland feud, has big goals to regenerate the area.
Discrimination and stigma
Kenny, who said he will look into McKeown’s individual situation, said the young man had seen correspondence after his interview describing him in such a way.
“No one, no one should have to deal with that,” said Kenny speaking about the blatant discrimination.
One of the overriding themes in Mulvey’s report is how the area can leave “the stigma of the past behind while retaining its proud history”.
Kenny told the media last night that he has met with the leading companies located in and around Sheriff Street to instruct them to integrate their business into the community to ensure there are fair job opportunities and training opportunities for local people. A number of apprenticeship programmes are to be announced next week, the Taoiseach confirmed.
Last night, Kenny and other ministers, including Paschal Donohoe, Damien English and Finian McGrath, listened to the stories from the local people about life in the area.
While the report was widely welcomed, some are sceptical because they have heard promises before and yet – due to a lack of government will and commitment – nothing changed.
The government has accepted the report’s recommendations and committed an additional €5 million funding for the area. This is in addition to the €4.7 million received in 2016.
Gardaí on the streets
The key recommendations in the report include boosting police resources in the area, with 30 additional gardaí on the beat by end 2017. The report also commits to the reopening of the Fitzgibbon Street Garda Station.
There were big questions hanging over the Rutland Street School, but tonight Minister for Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe acknowledged that although the planned upgrade had fallen through in the past, he was now standing firmly behind its upgrade and development as a community hub. It will also remain State ownership, he said.
There are also big promises to improve the physical landscape of the area with one action calling for the “rebranding” of the area – specifically renaming it Dublin’s North Inner City Quarter.
When put to the Taoiseach that many locals have heard all these promises before, with some even stating this evening that they will never become a reality, Kenny said “they’re wrong”.
“We’re going to prove it. It’s not the case of publishing this report and then throwing the report out the window… we’re going to deliver.”
The Taoiseach said the implementation of the plan will be overseen by the Secretary General in his department, with a special community office also opening up in the area.