Indifference from Minister Regarding the Needs of Youth in Fingal

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Dáil Issues, Parliamentary Questions, Rural and Community Development

Recently two written questions were put forward to the Minister for Rural and Community Development by Clare Daly. 

* To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development his plans to introduce funding schemes in the Fingal area to address the rapid expansion of population and lack of facilities to accommodate the large scale growth of the adolescent population in recent years in view of the fact that many are turning to anti-social behavior due to lack of facilities.

* To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development his views on the growing issue of anti-social behavior displayed in adolescents residing within newly established areas due to a lack of facilities offered to them especially in areas such as Lusk and Fingal.

In short both are asking how does the minister plan to accommodate for and help the expanding young population in Fingal.

The response returned was less than satisfactory. It lacked any genuine proof of changes that were being or planning to be made. It did not recognize any forms of facilities that could be used to prevent said behavior (for example youth groups or sports clubs). It failed to mention any specifics related to adolescents only mentioning anti-social behavior. What it managed to mention felt drenched in avoidance and a lack of understanding of the growing problem which is not the fault of the adolescents but in fact a fault of the system.

Although it did not state any genuine preventative measure it stated that funding of 447,189 provided by the CEP (Community, Enhancement, Program) for CCTV installation to monitor such behavior could be used to aid the situation. CCTV does not prevent actions, it can successfully monitor them but it will not stop the issue of anti social behavior in fact it is ludicrous to claim such. Being able to successfully catch someone committing a crime is not the same as preventing the crime from taking place. Furthermore most of the ministers focus should be on prevention if they truly wish to solve this issue.

Although there was no mention of any specific area within Fingal where these programs are being put in place and no mention of the named village Lusk. The minister goes on to speak of multiple programs such as LECPS (Local, Economic, Community, Plans) and LEADER claiming that they can aid the development of facilities avoiding the word will as clearly they are not doing so currently and there seems to be no provided, understandable and comprehensive plan they will in the future. Quite obviously facilities will eventually be made however, the where, when and how is in no way provided leading to a conclusion that areas such as Lusk and many other small towns in Fingal will be left forgotten for what is most likely to be a very long time creating and upholding the problem at hand.

Here is the response provided

REPLY

My Department provides supports to help identify the need for community facilities in specific areas, and provides some funding for these facilities.  It supports Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) who are responsible for the delivery of the community elements of their Local Economic and Community Plans (LECPs).  These plans are adopted in each local authority area, including Fingal.

Needs identified in the LECPs are funded from a range of sources including schemes and programmes provided by my Department.  For example, the Community Enhancement Programme (CEP) can contribute towards the renovation and development of community infrastructure.  In 2018, the Fingal Local Authority area received €477,189 under the CEP.  Small capital projects inclding CCTV installation for the monitoring of anti-social behaviour can be funded under the scheme.  My Department also provides capital funding under the LEADER programme, which can support the development of facilities outside of the five main cities, including some areas within Fingal.

Separately, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government administers the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF), which was launched as part of Project Ireland 2040 to support the compact growth and sustainable development of Ireland’s five cities, regional drivers and other large urban centres.  The Fund has an allocation of €2 billion to 2027.

While a community facilities project alone is unlikely to be eligible for this funding, the URDF invites a range of proposal types, which must be in line with the assigned assessment criteria, including, inter alia:

  • Whether the proposal forms part of an overall integrated vision for an area and is likely to be instrumental in the achievement of transformational, place-based change.
  • The extent to which proposal co-ordinates with and/or contributes to evidence-based strategies for social, economic and physical/environmental development, including in particular Regional Social and Economic Strategies and City/County Development Plans.
  • The need to leverage wider residential and/or commercial development.

A further call for proposals for 2020 funding will issue in 2019, with the aim to facilitate a greater focus on integrated urban projects, as such proposals require sufficient time for design, planning, procurement and construction to be advanced properly.  It will be open to Fingal County Council to submit suitable proposals for funding in respect of eligible parts of the Fingal area.  Further details can be found at www.housing.gov.ie/urdf and www.gov.ie/urdf.