ICON has its' roots in over twenty years of community organisation in the north east inner city. It was formed to bring together all the local projects to fight against increasing local disadvantage and long-term unemployment and to make sure that local voices were heard.

Previous networks and community platforms united together loosely in the face of the collapse of industry in the docks in the sixties. They came together to face the redevelopment and re-housing plans of the Inner City in the 70's, in such forms as the North Central Community Council, The Alliance for Work Forum and to face the drugs crisis of the 80's. ICON was formed in 1993 to deal with increasing disadvantage, social exclusion and long-term unemployment during a period of economic boom. Prior to the formation of ICON, other broad based community organisations had mobilised in flat complexes and for jobs and tested out new approaches to delivering services and identified problems of crime and drugs affecting local communities.

When developments such as the Custom House Docks Development Authority were set up people living and working in the north east inner city wanted to have a say. However, when the Custom House Docks were approached by groups such as the Alliance for Work Forum, they were asked the question- who do you represent?

People actively involved in the local community at this time felt that there was a need to bring people together to discuss and highlight the issues which were affecting the local community. In this way there could be strength in numbers. The Inner City Renewal Group (ICRG), which was set up in 1990, facilitated a number of meetings and it was from those meetings that ICON was established.

ICON has played a key role in the development of initiatives in an effort to combat poverty and disadvantage. ICON established the first Drugs Task Force which later became the model for the Drugs Task Forces throughout the country. ICON also set up the first Community Policing Forum and the Young People at Risk Initiative (YPAR). Most recently ICON played a major role in the establishment of the Dublin City Community Co-operative and was instrumental in winning the SICAP tender for the inner city. ICON successfully campaigned for and won a seat for the inner city on the newly established Local Community Development Committee.