It took brutal gangland murders for Taoiseach Enda Kenny to acknowledge inequality in Dublin’s north inner city, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has claimed.
After a two-hour meeting with community leaders on Tuesday evening, where the lack of investment in education, services and law and order was highlighted, Mr Kenny vowed to make the streets safe to walk.
He also claimed some of the issues raised were small but mattered for ordinary, daily lives and accused the Sinn Fein leader of “taking a political line”.
“I am not going to make a political football of this issue,” the Taoiseach said.
Mr Kenny and six ministers visited St Laurence O’Toole’s school in Seville Place to hear first-hand from local community workers, representatives and residents.
The meeting was held three weeks to the day since the murder of Gareth Hutch, who was in his 30s and the father of a young son, outside his flat a few hundred yards from O’Connell Street.
A nephew of Gerry “The Monk” Hutch, he is believed to be the seventh victim of a violent dispute between the Kinahan and Hutch families that has spiralled out of control.
Mr Adams, speaking in the Dail, said community activists in Dublin’s north inner city have been arguing for the last 30 years for the same measures to fight inequality but they have been let down time and again.
“Poverty is not an accident. Inequality is not an accident,” he said.
“And the reality is it took brutal murders by criminal gangs to get you to acknowledge the inequalities faced by the communities you visited last night.
“You have to name the problem and then you have to deliver the solution.”
The Taoiseach rejected calls for the Dublin north inner city taskforce to be copied in other disadvantaged communities across the country.
“Much of the stuff I heard last night, many of the problems that I heard are small by nature but they are important and they are the ones that people want to see in the first instance being dealt with,” he said.
“They want to be able to walk their streets without fear. They want to have opportunity for their children to go to school. They want to have opportunities for young people to get training and jobs.
“They want to be able to take that road towards a better opportunity and not be faced with the influence of power and misery that comes from drugs.”