Proposal for a north inner city Authority must deliver a safe, sustainable, vibrant and hopeful community – McDonald

Sinn Féin Dublin Central TD Mary Lou McDonald today warned that the limited ambition and scope of the Dublin North Inner City Authority proposed by Fianna Fáil could result in the delivery of another underperforming state quango that fails to deliver for the long term.

Speaking in the Dáil the Sinn Féin leader said:

“Fianna Fáil’s legislation is a welcome recognition by the party of its historic failure to grip the declining fortunes of the inner city and hopefully signals a new and long-term commitment to transforming the lives of those who live there. Their party leader spent twenty consecutive years in cabinet yet did little to advance social and economic progress in this historically deprived area of the city.

“Sinn Féin will enable this legislation move to the next stage but we do so on the basis that if it is to progress through the Oireachtas we will submit significant changes to the Bill. We are concerned that its limited provisions mirror those of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority Act. Repeating the mistakes of the past cannot be accepted.

“The Bill enables the Authority to dispose of land that is in the ownership of the state. Sinn Féin cannot accept conferring such a right on the Authority.  Even if the Bill could bypass existing legislation that governs the disposal of public land I would be surprised if Fianna Fáil Dublin City Councillors would support a legal mechanism that would in effect strip them of their democratic powers.

“It is also disappointing to note that the legislation side-lines community representation on the Authority’s Board. It provides for nine government and state agency officials but just three community representatives.

“Another glaring omission is the absence of an official from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and the provision of an independent Chairperson.

“The Authority’s Board does not include local elected representatives or indeed experts in the various fields necessary to deliver the transformative public policy needed to address the community’s imbedded challenges.

“The deliverables from an Authority of this nature must be properly resourced. That’s means real investment in infrastructure, in personnel and the supports necessary to eradicate poverty within this community.

“In short my ambition for this community is much greater than what is outlined in Fianna Fáil’s legislation. Regeneration is just one component of the objective to build a safe, sustainable, vibrant and hopeful community in the north inner city.” ENDS