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Dublin Docklands Development Authority's

 

Speech by the Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern, T.D.,at the announcement of the recipients of theDublin Docklands Development Authority'sCommunity Development Project Initiative AwardsI am delighted to be here with you today to announce this year's recipients of the Community Development Project Initiative awards. This is an important annual occasion for all of us who are committed to the all round development of Docklands as a thriving and active community.It may seem hard to believe, but the Docklands Development Authority is now in its fifth year of working to achieve that goal. And the positive results of your work are a source of pride and confidence in the future to the people of this area.The Authority has a very broad regeneration mandate and today we are gathered to focus on only one, but a key aspect of that mandate - namely social regeneration. The Community Development Project Initiative is one of the foundation stones of the Dockland Authority's programme of social regeneration. It really is a great programme and it has been highly successful, so far.For example, last year, the Authority approved grant-in-aid of £750,000 and £500,000 the year before for community development. That £1.25m grants aid has been put to very good work by over 24 local groups. Many of you will have seen the changes for the better in the area. Take, for example;- the great work done by the East Wall Water Sports Group where grant-in-aid of £210,000 was approved for the development of a new Club House Yard and Launch Area.- the refurbishment of a Senior Citizens Facilities Room in the North Wall- the new all weather pitch by Clanna Gael Fontenoy Gaelic Club which was grant aided to the tune of £184,000- the refurbished Life Centre, run by Brother Paul Hendrick in Pearse Street, which received £45,000 and,- the extension made to the Ringsend District Community CentreBuilding on the excellent work done at local level, this year 18 projects will benefit from grant-in-aid totalling £600,000.Among the successful projects are:- a significant extension to the Pearse Area Recreation Centre;- an Internet Café Access Point for the local community in St Andrew's Resource Centre;- the restoration of the Church Organ in St Agatha's Church, and- the provision of computers for literacy and computer training for the Community After Schools Project.Of course, being an avid football fan myself, I would have to say that one or two of the projects particularly caught my eye. Last year, as you know, the Clanna Gael Fontenoy Gaelic Club received grant-in-aid towards the provision of an all-weather pitch. This year the Docklands Authority is providing further grant-in-aid towards a second all-weather pitch.East Wall Wharf United in co-operation with St. Joseph's has received funding towards the provision of an all-weather training facility under lights in East Wall.I see also that St Joseph's Football Club and Sheriff United have received grant-in-aid towards the purchase of new equipment and gear.This is in addition to funding provided for Cambridge Boys towards the purchase of a new Club Minibus.I wish every success to these projects and I know that these funds will be invested in the community as wisely, and as carefully, as any funds in the financial houses around here are for the clients !There are many other important elements to the programme of social regeneration for Docklands area. Many people are joining education and training initiatives. One that I have great time for is the Parents in Education Programme, where over 150 parents now have an opportunity to access education in a way that would not have been possible before. The Schools Job Placement Programme is also making a big difference and striking a big chord with young people in Docklands too.The current year also sees the continuation of the Docklands Authority's Third Level Scholarship Programme. I know that my colleague Noel Dempsey Minister for the Environment and Local Government will be announcing this shortly. And since I am not being allowed to say any more good news today, let me just say that a total of over 50 Docklands students have now been awarded scholarships under this programme.Going forward, the next big day will be the 1st of September next year when the National College of Ireland will open its doors for the first time ever in Dublin's Docklands, I am very much looking forward to that momentous event. I plan to be here - in my current capacity !Of course, the success of programmes such as these goes hand in hand with strong community development. That is why the Community Development Project Initiative is so important in our work to improve the quality of life and quality of opportunity for young people in Docklands.I wish the Dockland Authority's programme of social regeneration success as it evolves and develops. International links are on the cards I hear. The Parish of North Wall is now twinned with a town in Normandy and Father Ivan Tonge, the new Parish Priest, has great plans. I hear that with the agreement of Father Ivan and Lar Bradshaw, the Authority is sponsoring French classes for our primary school children and a trip to Normandy to experience French life at first hand. I knew that I left school too early !!!So, I suppose I should think about saying "Au revoir" at this point - and wish all the groups every success going forward. Our success so far rests on a special partnership between the community, the Docklands Authority and the business sector. Let's keep that going strong - because it's a winning formula for us all !It now gives me great pleasure to present this years Community Development Project Initiative Awards.