NorDubCo was established in 1996 to promote the social, economic and civic development of North Dublin. At the time a very specific set of challenges faced the region and NorDubCo was configured to address those challenges. The Celtic Tiger period of prolonged economic growth changed many of the issues facing the region. In some cases, they were no longer problematic. In others, economic growth had created a completely new set of issues to be addressed by the members of NorDubCo. However the post-Celtic Tiger situation, both the retrenchment and subsequent economic growth, presents a rather different set of challenges.
Since our establishment NorDubCo has worked to ensure that sustainable economic, social and civic development takes place in the region. In this context we have worked to create a positive vision for community and working life in the region, a vision that sought to embrace all of the region’s communities and we this ethos will continue to inform our work.
In operationalizing this vision, NorDubCo’s work had three distinct aims:
- To develop a more inclusive policy debate within the region;
- To promote new thinking to influence the economic, social and civic environment;
- To enhance the effectiveness of NorDubCo.
As part of this process, we have worked with representatives from the business community, local government, the local development sector, public representatives (both local and national), education establishments (secondary, further and higher), the media, state and semi-state agencies and other local organisations. The development of these relationships allows NorDubCo to participate in a broad range of policy discussions and encourage the various stakeholders to engage in the strategic development of the region.
The institutional and public policy context in which NorDubCo operates has changed dramatically since 2008. As noted above, the changes brought about by the prolonged period of economic growth, crisis and partial economic recovery have been considerable. In this regard it is worth noting the changes brought about, or likely to be brought about by:
- EU Budget Framework 2014-2020;
- European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund Programme for Ireland;
- National Reform Programme (Europe 2020);
- Action Plan for Jobs 2016;
- DCU Strategic Plan 2012-2017;
- Dublin/Fingal Development Plans;
- Dublin/Fingal Local Economic Community Plans 2015-2021;
- Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme;
- Local Government (Reform) Act, 2014;
- Reordering of higher education provision in North Dublin;
- Further education and labour market support restructuring;
- The post-September 2008 economic circumstances, in particular the collapse in unskilled and semi-skilled employment opportunities.
It is also important to remember that North Dublin continues to play a significant role both in the metropolitan and national economy. Its sits astride a potentially powerful east coast economic corridor, and is crossed by some of the most important transports routes on the island. It also contains a very substantial educational and research infrastructure. In addition, it is home to Dublin Airport. Many of Ireland’s most innovative enterprises are located in or adjacent to the region.
Our role in the region demands that we develop and implement projects that provide benefit to our stakeholders and the wider region. Whether it is through developing pioneering labour market initiatives, e.g. the Accelerated Skills Development Programme, or managing multi-partner regional research projects, e.g. the North Dublin Economic Clusters project, NorDubCo will continue to combine an ability to ‘think’ in the broadest sense about the issues facing the region and ‘deliver’ for the region’s stakeholders. As part of this, NorDubCo will work to remain a neutral forum for discussion and decision-making between the region’s stakeholders and work to ensure our work is relevant, accessible and of practical use to the region.