North Inner City Task Force must be two way process

20 July 2016

Statement by Joe Costello

The second visit by the Taoiseach and some of his cabinet and junior ministers to the North Inner City at 4pm today to announce the establishment of the promised North Inner City Drugs Task Force is to be welcomed. The Task Force is the Government’s response to the epidemic of drug and gang-related murders in the area and the public outcry for action.

Long-term neglect has resulted in a critical shortage of opportunities and services for the local people in the North Inner City. At the same time new affluent communities are locating all over the Docklands but no benefits are accruing to the indigenous communities.

It is essential that the Taoiseach and his Government establish an effective Task Force and not a talking shop.

The Task Force should be given a time span of approximately ten years. It should have a short and long-term agenda with fixed targets. It should report directly to the Taoiseach and to the relevant Joint Oireachtas Committee to ensure that targets are met and commitments are honoured.

The fragility of the present Government and timespan required to carry out the necessary work makes it imperative that the Task Force is supported by all the major Political Parties in the Dáil.

The Task Force must, of course, contain the necessary ingredients to be acceptable to the many local communities, organisations and residents’ associations in the North Inner City. An umbrella structure, the North Inner City Community Coalition (NICCC) has been established to represent the local bodies and to liaise with the Task  Force.  A two -way process between the Community and the Task Force is essential for the duration of the Task Force plan.