A small little street in the North Wall community of Dublin city faces an uncertain future in the shadow of the Custom House Docklands Scheme. The development promises to bring employment to the area but the people of Sheriff Street are sceptical.(1988)
The area of Sheriff Street in Dublin's North Inner City was a vibrant and thriving community in the 1960s but things began to change with the decline of the docks and the closure of local businesses which lead to huge unemployment in the area and, in turn, offered little hope for the younger generations. The lack of employment literally tore the heart out of the community with a lot of the older, more established families, leaving the area and it began to rapidly deteriorate.
By the late 1980s, Sheriff Street was in desperate need of an injection of money or some sort of rejuvenation scheme; the pavements were littered with rubbish while sewage poured from open drains near areas where children played. Many parents complained of the serious health risks to their children as a large number of them suffered from infections as a direct result of the unsanitary conditions.
The people of Sheriff Street wonder why they have been continuously overlooked and neglected by Dublin Corporation. The flats are seriously rundown, with a huge amount of them uninhabitable, which raises the question, are the local people being forced out of their community where they have lived for generations?
With a serious lack of employment or resources being invested in the area, Sheriff Street started to get a bad name which in turn tarnished all the people in the North Wall community and made it even more difficult for them to gain employment. Crime, mainly vandalism, soared during this time and it was mainly borne out of boredom and an understanding of a lack of any real prospects for the future. Some of the young men in the area have never worked a day in their life while others have turned to crime to help provide for their families.
The development of the Custom House Dockland's Scheme guarantees to pump investment and employment into the North Wall communities, but for the local people, who have endured broken promises over the years, they remain largely sceptical.
Presented and Produced by Karen O'Connor ( First Broadcast on the 19th of July, 1988)