Clare PPN statement on the proposal to open a direct provision centre in Lisdoonvarna

March 1st 2018

Clare Public Participation Network Statement on the proposal to open a direct provision centre for asylum seekers in Lisdoonvarna 

This week Clare PPN received an informal request to provide a chairperson for a public meeting between the community in Lisdoonvarna and RIA the Reception and Integration Agency which has the responsibility for the procurement and administration of state provided services for asylum seekers and refugees. RIA were responsible for the tender process which determined that the King Thomond Hotel in Lisdoonvarna was a suitable location for a direct provision centre. Following a meeting of the secretariat of Clare PPN which took place on February 27th 2018 Clare PPN turned down the invitation to chair the meeting in Lisdoonvarna which took place last night.

At Clare Public Participation Network’s plenary meeting which took place on November 30th 2017 those attending from Clare PPN’s Social Inclusion College identified ending the system of direct provision and working to support those currently living in direct provision in Clare as one of the priority areas for Clare PPN in 2018. Clare PPN secretariat decided that chairing a meeting between the community and those who wish to open a direct provision centre would compromise the position taken by its social inclusion members which committed Clare PPN to lending its support to efforts to end the system of direct provision in Ireland.

Clare PPN’s secretariat and social inclusion representatives fully recognise and agree with Ireland’s obligations to accept and support asylum seekers, refugees and migrants. They furthermore consider that diversity and inward migration are beneficial to host communities and in particular to rural Ireland where populations are declining. Clare PPN secretariat and social inclusion representatives do not however consider the system of direct provision suitable for the needs of asylum seekers. They insist that system of direct provision itself is a barrier to integration, to family life and to self- sufficiency which denies those within it the opportunity to reach their potential and to live safe dignified lives. Clare PPN has previously taken action to support the resettlement of refugees in various areas in Clare and will continue to do so when the opportunity presents itself. Clare PPN will do its best within its resources to ensure that it supports and welcomes the people who come to live in direct provision in Clare and reaches out to those already living in the direct provision centre in Knocknalisheen, whilst continuing to voice its opposition to the system of direct provision which it considers an abuse of human rights and a failure of the state.

Clare PPN would further recommend that communities should be fully informed and consulted on all plans that affect them and notes that consultations with relevant stakeholders such as schools, doctors and other service providers do not appear to have taken place in Lisdoonvarna. Representatives from Clare PPN attended the meeting which took place last night in Lisdoonvarna and noted that many people attending raised concerns that could easily have been addressed through proper planning, information sharing and consultation. Clare PPN calls on RIA and the Department of Justice to act in the interests both of asylum seekers and host communities to ensure that the necessary services, staff vetting and resource provision take place before any attempt to relocate people to any area.

About Clare PPN

Clare PPN is a network of community, voluntary, environmental and social inclusion groups from Clare. It exists to facilitate the formal participation by the community sector in Clare County Council’s decision making structures. It is funded jointly by the Department of Housing, Planning Environment Community and Local Government and Clare County Council but is independent and its activities are directed by its members through an elected secretariat.

Clare PPN’s website is www.clareppn.ie and they are on twitter @clare_ppn and https://facebook.com/clareppn/

Brief report from Creative Ireland Clare Focus Group meeting January 16th 2018

Creative Ireland Clare – Focus Group, January 16th 2018  Lead by Deirdre Enright

I was invited to attend the above focus group as a representative of Clare PPN last week. We received short notice of the invitation and so I asked on social media if there was anything in particular that people wanted raised at the focus group-  here’s how I got on and what I learned-

The first thing to say was that this focus group was about how Creative Ireland Clare might achieve its aims in 2018. Creative Ireland is a national initiative which was started as a result of the perceived success of the 1916 100 anniversary commemorations around the country- as I remember the idea behind it was to try and capture the energy and enthusiasm for events at local level organised by communities and local authorities into something lasting which could build on culture and community for everyone’s benefit.  More on Creative Ireland here https://creative.ireland.ie/en

Part of Creative Ireland’s plan involved setting up Creative Ireland Teams in all local authority areas which include Arts office staff, Library Staff, Heritage Staff, Rural and Social Development Staff and others.  Last year’s Creative Ireland Clare Plan is here  https://creative.ireland.ie/en/local-plans/clare

The purpose of this focus group seemed to be to examine how Clare County Council’s Creative Ireland Team and in particular the Arts Office could best use the funds available to help make the arts thrive in Clare. The total funding per county for Creative Ireland is €94,000 this year. This does not include local government funding for the arts or arts council funding etc it is just a Creative Ireland fund. Creative Ireland has also got an ambitious plan to enhance arts and cultural participation in schools but that is funded separately to the general Local Authority Fund.

The discussions were on the need for arts infrastructure, for artists to be supported with places to make large works, for the money to go directly to artists, for the money to be used to help provide professional arts staff who might be able to support artists/festivals in getting work done and made.

Because it was a focus group rather than a strategy session things were more brainstormed than decided upon but in an attempt to sum up the main themes of the discussion or the main points of agreement-

Clare could do with a creative hub or space where people could make work and network –an arts place.

The arts and cultural scene in Clare has a severe lack of human infrastructure-  staff paid in sustainable positions to promote and develop the arts in Clare – and to help artists and festivals with the business of keeping themselves working- funding, grant applications, promotions, work spaces etc.  The Arts Office has only one full time staff member and so growing the arts and being available and accessible to people county wide is a huge ask at this level of staffing.

The arts office could also do with its own dedicated website separate from Clare County Council’s main page. This would help it communicate, promote arts events and be more accessible to people in the county.

Clare needs to ensure that artists can where possible earn sustainable livelihoods in Clare and that those who are from the county and leave for university or to go further afield are included in the artistic life of the county where possible –so attention should be paid to artists living and working in Clare and to the internal and international diaspora many of whom are engaged in the arts.

A suggestion was also made to investigate the possibilities of corporate supports such as businesses that might want an artist in residence etc as a way of putting arts at the core of life in Clare.

The focus group concluded with that with the next step being for Deirdre Enright the consultant to collate the findings from all the sectoral focus groups they conducted and to help draft a creative Ireland programme for 2018 from it.

This is not the County Arts Development Plan 2018 – although some issues raised at the focus groups may be reflected in that plan. Apparently there will be consultation on that in the near future- I will keep you posted if I hear anything about that.

Join us for Rural Rejigs in Corofin Community Hall Saturday 9th December

Clare Public Participation Network and Clare Local Development Company invite you to Rural Rejigs- a day of ideas and discussions on how our communities can thrive. 

Clare PPN Rural Rejig

When: Saturday December 9th 2017

Where: Corofin Community Hall

What time: 09.30 – 5.00 pm

Tickets are free and you can register at this link: 

https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/rural-rejigs-tickets-39708599490?aff=efbeventtix

Please note that children are most welcome and there will be childcare and activities for children during the day but please book a child ticket at the link above for each child. This venue is wheelchair accessible.

Clare Public Participation Network and Clare Local Development Company are holding a community think- in this Saturday December 9th in Corofin Community Hall.  The day which is free of charge and open to the public will provide an opportunity for people from all over Clare to discuss and learn from each other’s efforts in building vibrant thriving communities. There will also be invited guest speakers from organisations such as award winning start up social enterprise FoodCloud, Social Farming Ireland, Loop Head Tourism, Wild Kitchen, Feasta, Clare County Council, the Leader Programme in Clare and others.

The day’s events will be chaired by Clare based journalist and author Michael McCaughan, who during his time as the Latin American Correspondent for the Irish Times and Guardian Newspapers reported extensively on communities’ efforts to organise themselves in places such as Bolivia, Colombia and Mexico. There will also be music from internationally renowned Palestinian percussionist Raed Said who will discuss the role of art and culture in communities under pressure.

Speaking on the plans for the day Clare PPN Coordinator Sarah Clancy said;

‘Very often people involved in community development don’t get a chance to get together to think or plan, we have to keep reacting, keep chasing funding and deadlines and trying to provide services on a shoestring.  Even though community groups and activists are vital to the survival of all that is good about rural Ireland they are under a lot of pressure now and Clare PPN wants this day to be a break from that- a day at the end of the year to regroup, to think, and to imagine what is possible for us to achieve working together in County Clare.

Clare PPN and Clare Local Development Company invite everyone with an interest in building sustainable thriving and inclusive communities to come and join us in Corofin on Saturday. The only request we have is that attendees come with open minds and a willingness to share their experiences and to listen to others.

Lovely vegetarian lunch will be provided by Moonbear Catering and childcare and activities will be available.

Guest speakers joining us include: 

  • Micheal McCaughan, Journalist and author
  • Stephanie Jaeger of Social Farming Ireland
  • Dr Mark Garavan, Applied Social Care Lecturer GMIT
  • Oonagh O’Dwyer – Wild Kitchen
  • Eoin MacCuirc Founding Director of award winning social enterprise FoodCloud
  • Cillian Murphy, Loop Head Tourism
  • Raed Said- Master Percussionist from Palestine
  • Leonard Cleary- Acting Director of Rural Development Clare County Council
  • Gloria Callinan, Clare Local Development Company

Programme for the day: 

Clare PPN calls for emergency plan to be put in place for roadside dwelling Travellers during weather alerts

Clare PPN Logo

Clare Public Participation Network Statement:  Date: 17/10/2017 

Clare PPN calls for emergency plan to be put in place for roadside-dwelling Travellers during weather alerts.

Clare Public Participation Network’s Social Inclusion Representatives commend Clare County Council and the county’s emergency services for their swift actions and clear and frequent updates during the status red weather alert which accompanied ex hurricane Ophelia on the 15th  of October. It came to the representatives’ attention however that there had been no provisions made to ensure the safety of the members of the Traveller community who live on the roadside in temporary dwellings. People contacting the Council’s emergency number were advised that no plan was in place for roadside dwelling Travellers and that they should ‘stay put’ until the storm abated. Clare PPN calls on the Council management and on elected representatives to ensure that a contingency plan is immediately put in place for any future such weather events which would at a minimum offer temporary secure shelter to all of those who need it. Clare PPN’s Social Inclusion Representatives are concerned that a failure to do this could result in injuries or fatalities which could be prevented by advance planning and so it calls on all those responsible to take action before the winter sets in fully.

Signed:

Mary O’Donoghue, Local Community Development Committee.

Sarah Clancy, Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee.

Dermot Hayes, Social Development Strategic Policy Committee.

George Atijohn, Clare Public Participation Network Secretariat.

Damon Matthew Wise Âû, Physical Development Strategic Policy Committee.

Details: Enquiries about anything to do with Clare PPN can be directed to sarah@clareppn.ie or 087 1617375.

Notes: 

Clare PPN is a network of community, voluntary, environmental and social inclusion groups from Clare. It exists to facilitate the formal participation by the community sector in Clare County Council’s decision making structures. It is funded jointly by the Department of Community and Rural Development and Clare County Council but is autonomous and its activities are directed by its members through an elected secretariat.

Clare PPN’s website is www.clareppn.ie and they are on twitter @clare_ppn and https://facebook.com/clareppn/

 

Clare PPN announces a new mediation service for community groups 

Clare PPN announces a new mediation service for community groups 

Press Release: October 4th 2017

Clare PPN announces a new mediation service for community groups 

Clare Public Participation Network is delighted to announce the launch of its mediation service which will be available to Community and Voluntary Groups in County Clare. October 7th – 14th is national Mediation Awareness Week in Ireland and Clare PPN wishes to draw communities’ attention to the fact that this useful method of resolving difficulties is now available to them in the county.

Mediation is a process where a trained, neutral ‘mediator’ helps people involved in disputes or disagreements to resolve them. The process is confidential and is only offered in situations where all parties to a dispute wish to engage in mediation.  Over the spring and summer this year seven members of Clare PPN undertook an intensive training programme in mediation skills and completed their assessment successfully. These seven mediators who come from a range of backgrounds are now available to provide fully confidential mediation to member groups of Clare PPN.

Sharon Meaney of Clare Volunteer Centre who is one of the newly qualified mediators said ‘Undertaking this training was a great opportunity for us and for the whole community and voluntary sector in Clare. There are now seven people who are already involved in their own communities and groups who have a new skill and resource to contribute to the whole community.’ 

Marie Therese Carroll of Clare PPN’s Secretariat said ‘this project which is the first of its kind by any Public Participation Network is one which should provide a lasting benefit in the county. In rural areas people have always had to work together for progress and this is particularly relevant now when community groups are coming under pressure both from rural depopulation and from the increasing bureaucratic requirements they face in going about their work. Mediation is a tool that can help people to work together well and to sustain working relationships over the long term and will be a great advantage to any organisation or group that are experiencing difficulties or want help to see their way forward from a place of conflict.’

Each of the 7 mediators will be available for 2 sessions each per year and these sessions will be available free of charge to members of the PPN. The group that requires the mediation will be asked to pay the out of pocket expenses for the mediators who will work in pairs.

Inquiries about mediation or anything to do with Clare PPN can be directed to sarah@clareppn.ie or 087 1617375.

                                                                                        Ends

Notes for editors:

Clare PPN is a network of community, voluntary, environmental and social inclusion groups from Clare. It exists to facilitate the formal participation by the community sector in Clare County Council’s decision making structures. It is funded jointly by the Department Rural and Community Development and Clare County Council but is autonomous and its activities are directed by its members through an elected secretariat.

 

Clare PPN’s website is www.clareppn.ie and they are on twitter @clare_ppn and https://facebook.com/clareppn/

Report from Sarah Clancy on meeting of the Local Traveller Consultative Committee meeting of 19th September 2017

Report from Sarah Clancy Clare PPN’s representative on Clare County Council’s Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee of meeting of September 19th 2017

Chair Mike McKee welcomed Siobhan Mulcahy to the role of representing Clare County Council’s Social Development Directorate on the LTACC. Siobhan took over from Sean Lenihan who has been moved.

Several actions which had been discussed at previous meetings were again discussed here and decisions were made as follows:

Traveller Needs Analysis:  It was agreed by the LTACC that Sarah Clancy should investigate how Traveller Needs Analysis for other counties were carried out and at what cost. Following this she will report back via email to the chair and Siobhan Mulcahy and they will see if funding can be allocated or sourced elsewhere for this work to be carried out.  The purpose of this project would be to make contact with all Travellers in Clare and to consult them as to their current and future housing needs and preferences and to ensure that all of those who are seeking accommodation from the Local Authority have applied through the correct channels in order to be considered for it and if not that they would be assisted to do so.

Sanitation for Roadside Sites: It was decided that the community, Traveller and Councillor representatives on this committee would once again make a request by letter to the CE of Clare County Council Pat Dowling, that provisions should be made for sanitation, waste disposal and electricity for Travellers currently living in unofficial sites around the county with particular reference to the onset of winter. Cllr Mike McKee is to draft this letter with the assistance of Bernie McDonagh.

It was decided that Sarah Clancy would write to the new traveller led Approved Housing Body CENA and invite them to present to Clare LTACC.

It was noted that due to the current market, relying on the private sector to provide housing for the Traveller community is not feasible or likely to be successful and on that basis it was agreed that a discussion about the possibility of using ethnic identifiers for Travellers applying for housing and the possibility of investigating whether a ‘positive discrimination’ approach where approved housing bodies working with Clare County Council could be requested/required and funded to provide Traveller specific or quotas for Travellers should take place at the next meeting.

 

The next meeting was scheduled for November 7th.