Inequality and deprivation highlighted in Cork communities 

Inequality and deprivation highlighted in Cork communities 
Cork City skyline including a silouette of the Church of Saint Anne, Shandon and the water tower at KnocknaheeyPic; Larry Cummins

APPEALS have been made for increased resources in parts of the city that have been ranked ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ disadvantaged by a Government-backed agency.

Parts of Knocknaheeny have been categorised as ‘extremely disadvantaged’, according to statistics compiled for the Pobal Deprivation Index. 

Pobal, funded by the Government and the EU Commission, used a number of factors in its calculations, including unemployment rates, educational attainment and single-parent households. 

Areas were then divided into eight categories, ranging from ‘extremely affluent’ to ‘extremely disadvantaged’.

A section of Knocknaheeny qualified for the most extreme end of the deprivation scale but a number of areas in Mayfield, The Glen, and Togher were also categorised as ‘very disadvantaged’. 

Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald said it was important to acknowledge that “progress has been made” in these areas, especially with the housing regeneration programme in Knocknaheeny.

He said education initiatives would help tackle the inequality. 

"There are social issues that continue to be challenging," he added.

"Early intervention is key to help meet the needs of all while maintaining the strong community spirit in these areas."

Local councillor Mick Nugent said where figures show economic and educational inequality, Government departments must take action to address this.

“One key thing that I have been saying is that the Knocknaheeny regeneration programme cannot just be about knocking and building houses,” he said. "We need to ensure the parallel social programmes are kept in there as well.

“When the regeneration is completed it will see a huge increase in housing in the area but you need recreational facilities to go with that.” 

The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) said the data shows that those in disadvantaged communities in urban areas saw further increases in deprivation in the past number of years.

“There is a real danger, that without a concerted effort to tackle entrenched poverty, entire communities will continue to be left behind,” said Kieran Stafford, SVP National President.

But Mr Nugent was keen to point out that labels don’t show the whole story and describing an area as ‘disadvantaged’ should not hide the huge work being done.

“I live in the area and there are challenges there, you can’t shy away from the figures. But a lot has been put into the community over the years. We have the like of Barnardos and Young Knocknaheeny, so there are a range of ongoing social programmes.

“There are plenty of positive things happening here too, women in the area going back to education and programmes like that. It is a balance between addressing the issues that are there but not being too negative.” Mr Fitzgerald said programmes like the apprentice scheme operated by FÁS also need to be promoted to improve employment.

By contrast, areas in Shanakiel were classed as ‘very affluent’ as was Lehenagh, near Cork airport. Douglas, Tivoli and Glanmire all contained both ‘affluent’ and ‘very affluent’ areas.

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