Dublin has always been a port city. Indeed, the port itself came before the city, just over twelve hundred years ago. The city grew in and around the activities of the port and it seagoing traffic. The community of Dubliners were all, directly and indirectly, linked with the life of what was soon to be the largest port in the north west of Europe.
Through the next seven centuries, as Dublin grew, the river Liffey was central to the City of Dublin and port activity was the daily scene for citizens on either side of the river. But as shipping modernised the size of trading vessels increased and so began the slow but inexorable movement of the port down river to deeper moorings. In time, port workers and their communities followed and became detached, slowly separated from the rest of Dubliners.
In 1988/9 Ireland, with Government leadership, decided to establish a financial services industry to take advantage of the liberalisation, worldwide, of financial markets. The land left behind by the down river movement of modern port activity, was for the first time in over 250 years reconnected with the rest of the Capital.
In 1997 the government established the Dublin Docklands Development Authority to further develop this area. Its work has been a great success. The old port, established by Vikings twelve hundred years ago, is now home to many new and peaceful invaders working in a place that the locals call Silicon Docks!
Ruairí is a T.D. for Dublin South-East and has been a public representative since 1974. Before entering public life, Ruairí was an architect and town planner. His depth of experience and political acumen is extensive, having served as a Minister in six different Departments, including as Minister for Finance from 1993-1997, and as Leader of the Labour Party between 1997 and 2002. He was director of elections for Mary Robinson’s Presidential Campaign in 1990 and is currently Treasurer of the Party of European Socialists. He was Minister for Education and Skills from 2011-2014 and is widely recognised as being one of the most reforming ministers in this portfolio since the foundation of the state where he oversaw a change agenda that spans all areas of education.