A NORTHSIDE TD has described high levels of unemployment and a lack of education in Dublin’s north inner city as “disturbing”.
Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello (Lab) said recently released small area population statistics from the 2011 Census have highlighted alarming disadvantages between people living in Dublin’s north inner city compared to other parts of the country and city.
The Dublin Central TD said he believes the statistics reinforce the perception that this particular area is a black spot for poverty and deprivation.
According to the statistics, 61 per cent of people in the Gardiner Street and Sherrard Street area were unemployed on the date of the 2011 Census, with 50 per cent never undertaking any form of employment in their lives.
In addition, 82.4 per cent of people had only primary or lower-secondary education.
“These education and unemployment black spots are only a couple of hundred yards from O’Connell Street, the main thoroughfare in the capital city of the country,” said Minister Costello. “The north city centre has been a black spot since the foundation of the State and it is imperative that we as Government now break this cycle of poverty and deprivation. The Government is taking this challenge seriously but clearly a job of work remains.”
The minister also said the recent announcement for the development of the new DIT Campus at Grangegorman would help transform Dublin’s entire inner city.
He outlined how he believes the development will provide employment opportunities as well as catering to the educational needs of the area.
Deputy Costello explained that the recent announcement of funding for two new primary schools in Dominick Street and Gaelscoil Bharra would also greatly benefit residents in the area.
In addition, he said funding earmarked by the Government for two key regeneration projects in Hill Street and Gardiner Street and Liberty House would benefit the residential stock of housing in the area.
“A new development plan to co-ordinate these and other initiatives is needed. Consideration could be given to establishing a special Task Force for the north inner city. I have spoken to the Tánaiste on this issue and I intend to raise this issue with the Chairman of the Grangegorman Development Authority, the President of the DIT and the City Manager,” Minister Costello said.
Meanwhile, Anne Flannery, Community Education Co-Coordinator at the Larkin Unemployment Centre in North Strand, said there is a process some people in the area have to go through prior to taking on employment.
Ms Flannery said long periods of unemployment can lead to serious issues surrounding a person’s confidence and optimism.
“Sometimes when a person is unemployed, going straight back to work is not the immediate solution,” she said.
“There are a number of steps that need to be taken into account to address underlying problems such as depression and confidence issues.”
Ms Flannery cited a programme run by the centre known as the ‘Men’s Health and Wellbeing Programme’. She said such programmes help to promote confidence among men before they take on work.
“From our experience, the highest levels of unemployment are generally among men,” she said. “This can lead to depression or issues with alcohol.
“We need to put in place a number of interventions to prevent this from happening, such as programmes for upskilling. It is important that the Government continues to support such initiatives that contribute to helping people deal with confidence issues and general coping.”
Ms Flannery said the average age of people attending the centre is 35-55.