RADID funding earmarked for development in Ballyfermot

The Ballyfermot area has been designated the 46th RAPID area by the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Éamon Ó Cuív. Under the RAPID (Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment and Development) Programme, the area is now eligible for funding from a range of programmes including the Dormant Accounts, from which it will get €300,000.

In 2001 the government announced the RAPID initiative to reduce poverty and deprivation in 25 geographical areas around the country. Since then 21 more areas, including Ballyfermot, have been added. Although at the time the government committed to £16.5bn to the programme, a recent evaluation, published last month, showed government departments spent only €337m on RAPID projects since 2001. The evaluation also criticised the slow implementation of the scheme. Ciarán Reid, manager of the Ballyfermot Partnership, welcomed the RAPID designation and hoped "they will be able to learn from past mistakes in the RAPID programme".

Although Ballyfermot has received funding of €11.4m under the EU's URBAN programme since 2000, unemployment and early school-leaving remain high. Figures show long-term unemployment in the area increased by 52 per cent between 2001 and 2003. Figures from the 2002 census show that 45.7 per cent of the population did not continue with education after primary school. The number of lone parents is at 24 per cent – twice the national average. The percentage of people unemployed is also twice the national average, at 17.4 per cent.

Emma Browne