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RAPID in Dublin North – History of the programme


  • RAPID (Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment and Development) was launched by An Taoiseach Mr. Bertie Ahern on the 8th February 2001.
  • This very important government programme, honoured a commitment by the government in the “Programme for Prosperity and Fairness” to target investment in the most deprived areas.
  • Twenty-five of these, including eight in Dublin City were identified for this programme. This was later to extend to nine areas with the addition of Ballyfermot. See Pobal website for further information
  • Initially the programme was under the aegis of the then Minister of State with responsibility for Local Development, Mr. Eoin Ryan.

The Task

  • Each area was asked to prepare an overall plan to address the social exclusion problems and disadvantage being experienced in its own area.
  • Each area was asked to look at ways to get all the community and state agencies, working together to improve local people’s lives.
  • Each plan was to look at what new resources and facilities were required in the area.
  • Each plan was to look at ways which the agencies could improve the delivery of their existing services.
  • Only 24 weeks was available (as the plan was to be submitted by 31st December 2001) for putting the plan together as well as for developing a strategy for putting this plan into action. 

What was available?

  • Initially only the RAPID Co-ordinator Mr. Tony Flynn who was appointed in July 2001 was available to get the work underway.
  • Fortunately, the local Partnership Company and the statutory agencies had carried out much preparatory work.
  • This enabled the Inter Agency/Community Area Implementation Team (AIT) to be set up and swing into action quickly.
  • The Community had also mobilised and were ready to appoint community representatives to the AIT.
  • The Government had also committed significant resources through the National Development plan to address Social Inclusion Measures and it was intended that the RAPID programme would prioritise expenditure for State services and facilities in the 25 RAPID areas.  

The Work begins

  • The RAPID AIT held its first meeting on the 8th October 2002, chaired by the Partnership.
  • Due to the very tight timescale they decided that the plan they would submit by the 31st December would be an initial or baseline plan.
  • They also agreed that work would continue in 2002 on devising solutions to issues raised as well as developing proposals, which needed more detailed work.
  • Over the following weeks a further seven AIT meetings were held to develop the plan

The People

The initial members of the AIT was designed to maximise the representation of the Communities being served by Northside RAPID and the Agencies who were expected to invest additional resources or front-load existing or planned resources to deliver the RAPID Action Plan. These were: -

 Community:  Agencies:
Bunratty Maisonettes: Carmel McPartlin Dublin  City Council: Declan Wallace & John McEvilly
Darndale: Irene Dunne    Drugs Task Force: Peter Foran
Belcamp: Noel Byrne   Northern Area Health Board: Adrian Charles
Moatview: Mary Doheny   DSCFA Des Kernan
Travellers: Paddy McDonagh   FAS: Eamonn Earley
 Northside Partnership: Marian Vickers 
   Gardai: Inspector Donal Waters
  CDYSB: Marian Dooley

The AIT is chaired and facilitated by Independent Chairman, George Ryan, Business Consultant.

The Area:

The Northside RAPID Area is made up of two distinct pockets.  The main body of the area is the northern portion and it contains three areas, Darndale, Belcamp and Moatview, each of which has its own separate identity

In addition there are a number of Traveller estates and sites.  This northern part of the area is made up of the two DEDs of Priorswood B and Priorswood C.  It is bordered on the west by: Clonshaugh Drive, on the east by: Malahide Road, on the south by: Clonshaugh Avenue, and to the north it includes a narrow strip of land north of the Belcamp Lane to the banks of the stream. The Traveller Community are grouped in four ‘estates’, Cara Park, Tara Lawns, St. Dominic’s Park and Northern Close: all near to each other and all in the northern part of this area. The final part of the area is Bunratty Road Maisonettes, which is a physically separate, pocket some distance to the south of the main area.  The maisonettes form only a small part of the DED of Kilmore C.  The Bunratty Maisonettes are bordered by the Oscar Traynor Road (south) and the Bunratty Road (north). The RAPID area has a population of 7,435 people living in 1,882 dwellings with Darndale forming over 48% (916 dwellings).  Belcamp and Moatview each have around 19% (347 and 351 respectively) while Bunratty Maisonettes consist of 144 dwellings (8%). The travellers with 123 households make up the remaining 8%.  However these bare statistics believe the fact that: -

  • Approx. three thousand people in the are under the age of fifteen
  • Of the Adult population (Priorswood B and C) of 4,262, exactly half left school before their 16th birthday; and two thirds (2,850) before their 17th birthday – i.e. almost definitely before Leaving Certificate
  • 1923 Adults and their dependants depending on DSCFA Welfare payments
  • In the cases of the Traveller Community and Bunratty Maisonettes this reaches almost 100% welfare dependency
  • Known levels of registered drug users are high – and then there are the misusers unknown to the system!

Physically the area is relatively new being green fields and agricultural land as recently as fifty to sixty years ago. Bunratty Maisonettes are the oldest dwellings in the RAPID Area.  These were built in the mid/late sixties and have had very little done to them since.  These are all one-bedroom flats built in blocks of six flats per block separated from the next by a terrace of houses.

Darndale was built during the 1970s and is made up primarily of three-bedroom terraced housing with a small number of two and four-bedroom houses. Moatview and Belcamp estates were built in the late 70s. The traveller’s 'estate' of Cara Park was also built in the 70s while Tara Lawns and Northern Close (Belcamp Lane) and St. Dominic’s are even more recent (late 1990s).

The Process:

Starting in September 2001, a thorough community consultation process commenced which included:

  • The sending of a Questionnaire to all Community/Voluntary Organisations and Groups in the area.
  • A series of meetings with community groups, Voluntary groups and residents of the five RAPID Neighbourhoods.
  • “Planning for Real” process,
  • Two Focus Groups was formed, one the Life Long Learning Group looking at educational needs and the other dealing with Youth issues.
  • Consultations with the Childcare Bureau (established in 2000 in the Northside Partnership area) to develop a childcare strategy for the area.
  • A ‘planning for real’ week was held in each of the 5 RAPID neighbourhoods in early November 2001.

In addition, there were consultations with each of the statutory agencies and community and voluntary organisations active in the area.  The statutory agencies were also requested to provide comprehensive information on all the services, facilities and resources they provided in the area and to identify upcoming plans relevant to RAPID area.

The pace of work associated with the plan was tremendous with 20 community groups being involved in the development of the plan, together with 9 agencies and 20 voluntary groups.  In addition to the AIT meetings, there were 15 community RAPID focus group meetings and 30 meetings with agencies.

Due to the commitment and dedication of the people on the AIT, the involvement of the local community and the efforts of many local staff in the state agencies, this aim was realised within the timescale.


Completion of the plan

The result of this process was the production of a comprehensive yet flexible plan, within the Governments timescale.  This plan clearly names five Projects.  Each of these five projects has been given clear commitment by the relevant agency or agencies that they will be given resources and progressed within the current year while some of the projects may take more than the one year before their completion or full implementation. In addition, the plan also names 17 additional actions planned (Action Dublin Nor02PA has 6 Sub-Sections making an actual total of 22 Actions).  Each one of the actions planned is devised as a means to address one or more of the needs/issues raised through the consultation but which does not yet have information, plans or strategies advanced to an adequate level.  These actions mainly take the form of detailed consultations, research and analysis, the formation of fora, task forces, working groups or committees with strategic planning and development of recommendations. The plan represents a significant investment in time and energy by a wide range of people totalling over 70 and as such it was probably one of the most intensive collaborative processes undertaken between the communities and the agencies in the area.

Programme Co-ordinator

Photo of Mr Jim Lee In July 2002, Mr. Tony Flynn left the Dublin North RAPID Programme to take up new appointment and was replaced by Mr. Jim Lee. Jim had previously been co-ordinator in the south city and so was familiar with the issues and challenges of the programme.  Jim's background is Community Development and he has served in a number of areas of the city