Is Dublin's inner city being overlooked?

Pat Kenny spoke to some of the people living and working in the capital's north inner city

Dublin city centre in 2017 is a fascinating mix of modernity and history, containing many symbols of the Irish cultural identity.

From the GPO and Croke Park, to the Clerys building and the Moore Street market, several of our most iconic historical sites are only a short walk away from each other.

This exists alongside modern Dublin - the likes of the Spire and the International Financial Services Centre (ISFC) have become deeply embedded in the city's identity.

However, when you turn around the corner from O'Connell Street and face Cathal Brugha Street, you discover a very different side of Dublin.

The north inner city - one of the most deprived areas in the country - became a major social and political talking point in the wake of a number of gangland shootings last year.

Kieran Mulvey, former head of the Workplace Relations Commission, is due to publish the report of a taskforce looking to help rejuvenate the area - but it comes amid continued concerns from residents over the rampant drug dealing and crime in the area.

Away from the Dáil debates and media headlines, however, the north inner city remains home to thousands of people living their lives.

This week, Pat Kenny traveled to the area to talk to the residents. He visited schools and community groups, and spoke to many of the locals (old and young alike).

He heard about some of the challenges the people face - but also the incredible work being done there.

One 85-year-old resident told Pat: "In my young day, it was a nice quiet little backwater. We didn't have any problems, everybody was very neighbourly. But [there have been] massive changes over the year, and not for the best.

"I think it was just neglected the area, left as it was. Every other area was built, and new things put into it. We were just left." 

Another local, Julie O'Toole, said: "I'm an ex-drug addict, I'm 20 years clean. I wrote a book called Heroin about my addiction [...] We have such a bad name, and nobody wants to hear the good stuff.

"My sister plays for Ireland - 140 appearances. We have [Wes Hoolahan] playing over in the Premier League."

She added: "Me ma reared eight kids in the flats in St Brigid's. She had four drug addicts and an alcoholic husband. By the grace of God, every one of us is clean. Me da passed away from alcohol poisoning, but me ma was the rock of our family."

Public Expenditure Minister and local TD Paschal Donohoe, meanwhile, explained: "Part of the intention of the financial services community being located in Docklands is to deliver a benefit to the community within which it is located.

"It's definitely contributed and delivered a benefit to Dublin - but it has not delivered the kind of benefit that it can locally," he added.

You can listen back to the full report via the podcast below: