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Enda Kenny says he wants to see a 'resurgence of pride' in Dublin's North inner city

A special task force was rolled out following a spate of gangland shootings in the area in 2017.

Image: Christina Finn

FORMER TAOISEACH ENDA Kenny said today that he wants to see a “resurgence of pride” in Dublin’s North inner city.

Launching a strategic plan for the northeast inner city for the next three years at  Ballybough Community Centre this morning, Kenny issued a challenge for the young and old people in the area to make the area a place to be “recognised for quality, integrity, trust and opportunity” both at home and abroad.

Speaking at the launch of the progress report on the north inner city task force report today, his first public engagement since he stepped down as Taoiseach, Kenny said “it’s your area, its your place, your people”.

To applause, Kenny told the crowd that he wanted to see a “resurgence of pride so that when people are asked where are they from, they say ‘the North inner city, a place that we transformed with the help of a lot of people”".

The task force, launched in 2017 by Kenny, is a major initiative focused on the development of north-east inner city. It was rolled out following a spate of gangland shootings in the region.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said that the programme was set up in a “moment of darkness”, when the government and the community came together in the aftermath of a “truly extraordinary cycle of murder and violence”.

Donohoe, commended Kenny for his work on the project, stating that despite no longer being Taoiseach, Kenny is a frequent visitor of the area and champion of the project. 

In his speech, Kenny said he spoke to one woman who had recently completed an apprenticeship in one of the large corporations situated just off Sheriff Street, highlighting what it meant to the local woman to get such an opportunity. 

Developing apprenticeships with local businesses and industry in the IFSC for young people is one of the key focuses of the plan, with 18 paid student work placements taking place during the summer. 

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The chair of the taskforce, Michael Stone, sent out a clear message to companies located in the area, stating it is “the duty of businesses in the North inner city to get involved in the area”. He added that companies can’t come into the area, and build buildings in the area, without supporting the community.

In 2017, when visiting the area, Kenny spoke to one man who said he was discriminated against in a job interview because he came from the area.

“How could a knacker like that speak Portuguese,” is what the young man claimed was said about him when applying for a job in the area.

The local man, Paul McKeown told Kenny at the time that he had experienced discrimination while job-seeking, despite having a Master’s degree and being fluent in Portuguese.

“No one, no one should have to deal with that,” said Kenny at the time.

Since 2017, a number of companies in the area have been offering internships, jobs and funds have been established to give young people experience as part of a youth diversion programme.

In 2019, €6.5 million in funding was dedicated to the project which helped set up a new inclusion health hub as well as a rehab centre for drug users from the Dublin 1 area.

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