Chairperson's Message

Message from the Chairperson – Dec 2020

On behalf of the North East Inner City (NEIC) Programme Implementation Board, I would like to welcome you to our 2020 Progress Report. This is the fourth progress report since I was appointed as Chairperson of the NEIC Programme Implementation Board.

It has been another busy and productive year for the Board, with the various subgroups and the Programme Office continuing to work diligently on behalf of those living and working in the NEIC. The €6.5 million funding allocation that we received from Government in 2020 enabled us to continue to implement a wide range of programmes and projects as we worked to achieve the goals of the Mulvey Report – Creating a Brighter Future - and the NEIC Strategic Plan 2020-2022. An overview and details of this work can be found in this report.

In 2020, the Board undertook an extensive programme of work to support the continued regeneration of the NEIC. The NEIC has faced particular challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March, all parties and agencies involved with the NEIC Initiative have engaged in information sharing for best practice, and on how best to serve the local community during these unprecedented times. For example, Dublin City Council established a COVID-19 Community Call Forum. This local Forum works with State agencies and community and voluntary groups to provide supports or services to any vulnerable person who needs them. This Forum brings together different organisations to provide important services such as the collection and delivery of essential items like food, ‘meals-on-wheels’, household items, fuel or medicine (in line with guidance) and support for those experiencing social isolation. Furthermore, An Garda Síochána have placed a strong emphasis on community policing in the area, thereby enabling them to help the most vulnerable members of society. This has involved helping with food deliveries and shopping for the elderly and vulnerable and generally being a visible, helpful presence within the community during this time.

With the 2020 funding allocation, the Board prioritised the funding of measures under six distinct work streams, as identified in the NEIC Strategic Plan 2020 – 2022.

This work represents strong collaboration across the statutory, community and business sectors at all levels of the NEIC structures. Through this dedicated funding, and the leveraging of additional support from existing resources among the statutory partners, the Board has continued to deliver benefits for the NEIC in 2020, as detailed throughout this report.

As in previous years, €1 million (of the €6.5 million budget) was allocated in 2020 to the NEIC Social Employment Fund. 55 posts have been filled across a number of community projects providing childcare, youth services, elder care and environmental services. The Social Employment Fund is having an enduring positive impact on crucial local community services which were carrying high numbers of Community Employment vacancies and struggling to provide services with reduced staffing levels. This responsive and innovative initiative has been widely welcomed within the community, ensuring future sustainability of essential services and providing a dividend to the community through increased childcare places and reduced childcare, elder care and youth service waiting lists.

The Programme Implementation Board’s ambition for 2021 is to continue implementing the NEIC Strategic Plan 2020 – 2022 and the remaining actions set out in the Mulvey Report, focusing on long-term sustainable outcomes, which operate in an integrated framework and add value to the existing service infrastructure.

I want to thank my fellow Board members for their continued support, in particular given the challenges that 2020 has brought. I want to take this opportunity to offer them my sincere thanks for their determined work and commitment to the NEIC. I am also grateful to the Programme Office staff for their tireless efforts and dedication.

I also want to acknowledge in a special way the very significant contribution of a former Board member – the inimitable Fergus McCabe – who sadly passed away earlier this year. Fergus will be remembered fondly for over 40 years of passionate and powerful advocacy for the Inner City. I, and my fellow Board members, feel privileged to have known Fergus, to have worked alongside him, and to have learned so much from him. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Finally, I want to thank the Government for their support and the priority they have attached to this Initiative. In 2021, I look forward to continued close cooperation with the community, businesses, Dublin City Council and Government Departments and agencies as we continue to work together to implement the NEIC Strategic Plan 2020-2022 for the benefit of all who live and work in the NEIC.

Michael Stone

Chairperson, NEIC Programme Implementation Board