Workshop: Understanding and Challenging Racism Thursday 2 pm.

Workshop: Understanding and Challenging Racism Thursday 2 pm.

 

Understanding and Challenging Racism – a free online workshop on Thursday June 18th at 2pm

hosted by Fridays For Future Clare and Clare PPN

We are delighted to be joined by Vicky Donnelly of Galway One World Centre, Ryma Halfaoui and Oein De Bhairduin for this workshop.

The recent Black Lives Matter protests in the US and beyond have raised the issue of racism like never before. In this free online workshop, hosted by Clare PPN and Fridays For Future Clare, we’ll take time to explore and clarify some questions, including understanding what racism is in the first place, how racism operates in Ireland – including racism against Travellers – and ways of taking action.

This participatory workshop, at 2pm on Thursday 18th June, will be led by Vicky Donnelly, Ryma Halfaoui and Oein De Bhairduin. We aim to create an open space for people to share, listen, reflect, discover, grow and learn together. There will be a short break halfway through the workshop.

IMPORTANT! If you would like to take part in this workshop please email newsletter@clareppn.ie to reserve a place. Because of some unusual activity on a booking site regarding this event we will need your name, address and phone number to secure a place. This information will be handled in line with Clare PPN’s GDPR policies and will be deleted immediately the event is over. You can read our privacy and data policies here: http://clareppn.ie/privacy-policy/

We will confirm receipt of your registration by email and will send a zoom link to all participants on the morning of the event.

Register by sending your name, address, and phone number to newsletter@clareppn.ie

Minutes of representatives and secretariat meeting June 3rd 2020

Minutes of Clare PPN Reps meeting 

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

Present: Damon Matthew Wise, Emma Karan, Eugene Cremins, Fionnuala Collins, George Atijohn, Hilary Tonge, James Giller, Mary Leahy, Mary O’Donoghue, Noel Kearney, Oonagh O’Dwyer, Padraic Hayes, Madeline McAleer, Sarah Clancy, Sarah Ferrigan, William Hederman

Apologies: Aisling Wheeler, Annie Wise, Elaine Dalton, Helen Liddy, Jean O’Keefe

Facilitated by: Sarah Ferrigan

Minutes: William Hederman

UPDATE FROM LAST MEETING

Suggestions on the Work Plan from the last meeting included: developing a Communications Strategy, both media and social media; encouraging people to support local businesses; encouraging people to protect bees and biodiversity.

UPDATES ON COUNTY COUNCIL, SPCs etc

County Council due to meet next Monday, 8th June, in Glór. SPCs due to start meeting in June. This week a call was also made for the LCDC to meet soon.

Several people said the PPN Reps had been ignored for the past three months. The Council has not involved the voice of the community during the pandemic, when in fact this is exactly when community’s input is needed. Agreed that this should be raised, but noted that councillors are not necessarily the ones to target, as they may also be feeling left out.

UPDATE ON FINANCES & RESOURCES AVAILABLE

Sarah Ferrigan gave an update. Once running/fixed costs have been accounted for, we have approx €4,500, to spend mostly on ‘Training & Development’ and ‘Projects & Events’. This is a low amount.

We have pre-paid €1,800 for training in three areas: Cultural Diversity & Anti-Racism; Local Government; Media. This can be online.

We also have paid for some venues for events. And for some transport with Clare Bus.

DISCUSSION ON WORK PLAN

Sarah Clancy: key ambitions are becoming more effective at having the views of community and voluntary sector taken on board at local authority level; and encouraging participation and a sense of ownership of the PPN among people in Clare.

Open discussion – suggestions were based mostly around:

  1. i) mental health, especially due to effects of lockdown;
  2. ii) supporting people to retrain, refocus careers, an ideas fair;

iii) seminars / webinars

Noel: Can we include in PPN people with mental health difficulties? Also, we should tie in with Aoife Boland of  AIRES Mid West/ HSE.

Sarah C: We can do events around mental health, but note that our role is to influence policy, not to provide service. We need to make sure mental health is considered in all relevant forums. Should we declare that we are a mental health friendly organisation?

Mary O’D: Suggests a poster and a spread in Clare Champion about all the orgs and agencies you can contact if you’re feeling down.

Hilary: Good time to boost the PPN online, as everyone is at home and online. Boost posts. Perhaps a weekly training session; life coaching.

Damon: Disabled People need social events, some don’t use social media very much.

Mary O’Donoghue: Points we are raising here should be expanded and input into Clare LECP (Local Economic and Community Plan), which is up for review soon, and other county-wide plans. Good opportunity to gather people’s views.

Fionnuala Collins : suggests holding an online conference on belonging to a democracy, focusing on the need for open, transparent input and decision-making. Also, we should signpost about options for getting back into the community – classes, social interaction, which places offer counselling, community garden etc

James Giller: Good time to invite public to participate, like the ‘What do we want?’ submissions. Also, pandemic has highlighted discrimination. Ask Council to push for policies to prevent and lessen discrimination. And suggests training for use of online tools.

Madeline: A webinar on ‘Where to post-Covid?’, with follow-up events and trainings, with the PPN leading with the message that community representation needs to be very strong now at decision-making level.

AOB:

Madeline was contacted by a Colin McGann, who is making a documentary on people’s experiences in Clare during COVID:

Please note that we have his contacts but don’t want to share them online

http://www.clare.fm/podcasts/new-documentary-tell-story-clare-covid/

NEXT MEETING: 

Monday 15th June, 2020 at 6:30pm

ENDS

May 29th Message from Covid-19 Health Communications Stakeholder Support

We hope this message finds you well. Thanks for your continuing support in helping to share information about COVID-19. This update is particularly aimed at sharing, and drawing your attention to the COVID-19 public health information translated resources. We would be very grateful for your help in sharing these resources as widely as possible with relevant communities.

Translated COVID-19 Resources
For those whose first language is neither English nor Irish, we have translated public health information into 24 other languages. These include Albanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Simplified Chinese, Czech, Farsi, French, Georgian, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Kurdish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Pashto, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Urdu and Yoruba. We are also working on developing resources in Somali and Eritrean. The most up to date translated partner resources for COVID-19 can be found here.

Roma
Under the resources listed above you will also find a video for the Roma Community in Romanian. This video can also be found here. There is a Roma specific resources page which includes easy read and image based communication documents and a translation of the Phase 1 government re-opening roadmap which can be found here.

Migrant Health
There is also a Migrant Health resources page, which includes videos in various languages and further specific translated resources.

Other Resources:
The Covid 19 World Service is a joint initiative of Nasc and Together Ireland. The Covid 19 World Service has video messages from doctors and other healthcare professionals in several languages for migrants living in Ireland.

  • Video 1:  General advice on how to prevent the contraction and spread of the virus.
  • Video 2: Information on self-isolation, what to do if you test positive for Covid 19 or are a contact of someone who has.

These videos can be found here.  

The Government’s ‘Community Call – Advice and Contact Information for Your County’ leaflet has been translated into 12 different languages and is available here.

Public Health Information:
As always, for the most up to date information and advice on Coronavirus, please go to:

https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/

https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/c36c85-covid-19-coronavirus/

https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/

Please share and pass on these resources as widely as possible to relevant communities.   Keep well, remember we’re #InThisTogether and #HoldFirm

Covid-19 Health Communications Stakeholder Support

Postcards from the Edge: Aisling Wheeler – ‘We must re-learn the skills to grow our own food’

Postcards from the Edge: Aisling Wheeler – ‘We must re-learn the skills to grow our own food’

Postcards from the Edge: ‘We must re-learn the skills to grow our own food’

In our continuing ‘Postcards from the Edge’ series, Aisling Wheeler, a small food producer in Kilfenora, hopes that a silver lining to the coronavirus cloud will be a realisation that Ireland has a food security problem, and hopes the new enthusiasm for gardening will translate into more community farms, fewer imports, more biodiverse agriculture and more people skilled in how to produce food.

I started learning how to grow my own food 16 years ago, mainly because I was concerned about climate change and food security. I was aware of how, as a society, we were losing our basic food production skills and I wanted to be one of the people passing on those skills. In 2011 my partner and I bought a small-holding near Kilfenora with the intention of meeting some of our own food needs and starting some kind of food business.

We have planted hundreds of trees, including apple, cherry, plum and nut trees. We keep poultry for meat and eggs and grow many of our own vegetables. Everything is done by hand, with no machinery, fossil fuels or synthetic fertiliser, and no herbicides or pesticides. Recently I have started experimenting with grain-growing.

In 2015 I started ‘Clare Farm to Fork’ to sell our surplus fruit, vegetables, eggs and plants at markets, through farm-gate sales and online. Small-scale production is uncompetitive and ill-suited to the food retail system, so our focus has been on high nutrition and environmental standards, with the intention of being ready to scale up if food imports were disrupted.

The reasons I had in mind were more climate related – droughts in Spain or flooding in China could lead to higher prices and less availability worldwide. I hadn’t anticipated a global pandemic, but the same principle applies – when things go wrong, the best kind of food supply chain is a short one.

The vital skills we have lost
It’s not so long since food production in Clare was almost entirely local. A typical Clare person born before 1960 could kill and pluck a chicken; grow, harvest and store vegetables, milk a cow and make butter; and grind grain to make bread. A smaller, but significant number could kill and butcher a medium-sized animal such as a pig or goat and, crucially, select and save seed for next year’s crop. If they couldn’t do these things themselves, everyone certainly knew dozens of people who could. These days, most people wouldn’t know where to start.

Irish agriculture is, of course, still an important part of our economy and way of life. However, it is so specialised now, that most farmers produce only meat or milk, and mixed farming is a thing of the past. Between 1916 and 2010, the area used to produce potatoes and oats in Ireland dropped by 90%. The skills and knowledge required to produce those crops, and many others, were built up over many generations, and lost in just two.

I really hope this pandemic makes more people realise we need mixed farming to be the farming of the future too. Roughly 80% of the meat and milk produced on Irish farms is exported, and pretty much everything else we eat is imported. Whereas 50 years ago Irish wheat was milled and baked to make our bread, today our wheat and barley is used almost exclusively for animal feed, and all our flour is imported. It is rare to see Irish fruit and vegetables for sale. We spend €100 million on apples each year, 95 per cent of which are imported.

Since the pandemic took hold in February I have been inundated with calls, emails and texts from friends asking for advice on growing vegetables or keeping chickens at home. I have posted seeds out to about 60 people around the country who weren’t able to buy seeds online, as seed suppliers were inundated with orders. It has brought home to me how fragile our food supply system is and how deskilled we have become.

My good friend Eanna Byrt has just set up a new company, Clare Local Delivery, a sort of online farmers’ market – local produce is delivered to your door every Friday. We’re selling our eggs, vegetables and plants this way, and it’s a lot more convenient than doing a market, as we only need to harvest what is ordered, resulting in less waste. They are delivering in North Clare, with the intention of expanding it countywide.

The scramble for seeds 
Disconnected from our food supply, disempowered by lack of practical skills, disenfranchised by lack of access to affordable land and housing, we are more and more dependent on a handful of corporations for our basic sustenance. Covid-19 has thrown this into sharp relief, hence the scramble for seeds.

Ability to generate profits – not necessarily profits for farmers – is the only criterion successive governments have applied to our agricultural system. But what about food security, local employment and basic skills?

I’m hoping the silver lining to the coronavirus cloud will be the realisation that we have a national food security problem, and that the current enthusiasm for gardening will translate into more community farms, less imported food, more biodiverse agricultural systems and more people skilled in the basics of food production.

Government policy must focus on food security and soil fertility. This will also benefit human health and biodiversity. This year it’s a global pandemic, but undoubtedly the future will bring climate-related disasters that will affect our food supply. Let’s hope we’re ready.

Aisling Wheeler has a small-holding near Kilfenora and is an environmental campaigner. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of all of Clare PPN.

We’d like to hear from you! Back to normal or time for radical change? We’re asking people for their views (in less than 350 words) on how to move forward together in Clare in the wake of Covid-19. You can win a €50 restaurant/take-away voucher. Details of how to submit here: http://clareppn.ie/what-do-we-want/

Postcards from the Edge – Siobhain Landy: ‘Time to step back 2 metres from the world and reflect’

Postcards from the Edge – Siobhain Landy: ‘Time to step back 2 metres from the world and reflect’

Postcards from the Edge: ‘Time to step back 2 metres from the world and reflect’

In the first of our ‘Postcards from the Edge’ series, Siobhain Landy, an Aer Lingus cabin crew member at Shannon and co-owner of Sweet N Green cafe in Ennis, describes how the pandemic brought her world to a standstill but has also given her time to reflect and make new plans. She wonders if the coronavirus spells the end of over-tourism in cities and whether it’s time to promote less crowded places like Clare.

January 30th this year was an important day for me as it marked my 25th year working for Aer Lingus. I started the job with an 11th-month old boy. Twenty-five years on, I have two girls as well. A career in Shannon Airport has given me the capacity to live and work in Clare, a great career which has grown with me and my family.

Another landmark moment came as I was asked to be part of the new brand launch of Aer Lingus. I was immensely proud to be part of this change and the optimism that surrounded our base, new uniforms, new aircraft and new routes to Barcelona and Paris. It felt like we were being refreshed ourselves and the anticipation of a thriving summer ahead with new exciting opportunities.

Then coronavirus brought our world to a standstill. Optimism and positivity gave way to fear and unknowing. The new uniform I had the pleasure of introducing to the world had now being introduced to hangers in my wardrobe. The travel and tourism industry is the first to bear brunt of this crisis as 16,000 passenger jets are grounded and the number flying is the lowest in 26 years.

Last year I went part-time in Aer Lingus, to help run our new cafe and be around more for my children. The first impact of the pandemic for me was that my part-time hours were reduced to half.

Then came the announcement of 900 redundancies; the uncertainty of when normal flying could resume; the difficulties of social distancing in airplanes on reduced capacity until a vaccine is found; the question of economic ability to travel; and fewer airlines with fewer flights.

In Shannon we managed to survive the impact of 9/11, the volcanic ash cloud, the removal of Heathrow slots to Belfast and the financial crisis of 2008. As a small base in the west of Ireland we always had to fight for survival. As a workforce we are strong and resilient, proving ourselves to be adaptable and flexible in the rollercoaster of aviation.

A way of life
For me and my devoted colleagues, Aer Lingus is not just a job, but a way of life – one that has opened many doors and broadened our horizons. We are not just colleagues but life-long friends.

April saw clear blue skies, no jet streams, no airplanes. Grounded and in lockdown, with a lingering uncertainty. Tough decisions to be made as we await our fate in unprecedented times. Even in recession people were still travelling. This time it will take longer to recover.

Maybe it’s the end of over-tourism in heavily populated areas and time to market Shannon and the western corridor as a more attractive, less populated area to visit? Post-pandemic, let’s look for the silver lining by using the advantage of being rural. The government needs to support Shannon Airport and the west of Ireland.

Almost 18 months ago my husband Frank and I opened ‘Sweet N Green’, our cafe in Ennis, along with Frank’s brother Martin and our fantastic team. Our ethos is creative, healthy menus with innovative choices in a warm, relaxed, friendly atmosphere.

We hit the ground running and the reaction was positive. Now not only responsible for our own family, we have a young vibrant team who look to us for guidance and security. Almost a year later we won an award from Ennis Chamber of Commerce – ‘Best Place to Eat in Clare’ – a fantastic achievement by the team.

Personal sacrifice
The first two years are crucial in business and we put our heart and soul into it while trying to raise a family. Nobody tells you about the countless hours and personal sacrifice in making a business a success. It’s still a work in progress, seven days a week, but we were determined as it was Frank’s lifelong dream to own his own cafe.

Then the virus became a reality. Our first responsibility was the health and wellbeing of our staff and customers so, with a heavy heart, we closed the doors on March 16th.

Life hasn’t stopped, it’s just paused. We had to adjust, to slow down, to reset. When things are out of control, all you can do is control how you react. We had more time to reconnect as a family, making memories. One thing I’ve realised with an older son is how quickly they grow up.

In business it’s hard to see the changes you need to make until you step back. This has given us time to reflect and redirect and lead through change positively, to get online and adapt our business while it’s still in its infancy.

Challenges
Post-Covid-19, the challenges for small business are reduced capacity through social distancing; static overheads on already tight margins; high unemployment with less disposable income for ‘luxuries’ such as dining out; and new health and safety guidelines.

On the flip-side, as an employer, with your employees’ destiny in your hands, I understand the financial constraints and mental anguish as they await and I await – tough decisions to be made.

As an employee of a large company and a small business employer facing an uncertain future, we need continued support from the government with wage subsidies, grants, VAT reductions and abolished rates until further notice.

We need to support each other, our local businesses, food growers and small shop owners. We need to step back two metres from the world and get ready to come back and embrace it when we can – and we will.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of all of the Clare PPN.

Back to ‘normal’ or time for radical change? Send us your views and win a prize

Back to ‘normal’ or time for radical change? Send us your views and win a prize

Back to ‘normal’ or time for radical change? Send us your views and win a prize

What would you say to the parties forming the next government?

New deadline of Friday, May 29th at 5pm – see below

 

By William Hederman

As politicians from three parties sit down in a room in Dublin this week – socially distanced – to thrash out a programme for government, it’s likely there will be a big focus on getting things ‘back to normal’ as quickly as public health considerations will allow. But is a return to the old normal what we need? Or is this a once-in-a-generation opportunity to find new ways of organising our society and economy?

The Covid-19 crisis has been traumatic, bringing tragedy and distress to many people. But the crisis and the lockdown have also brought changes that may be worth holding on to. As Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party try to plan our collective futures, Clare PPN would like to hear your views on what they or any other grouping that emerges should be prioritising. We will publish submissions and there will be prizes of €50 vouchers for meals from local restaurants. Read on to find out more.

Covid-19 has transformed Ireland and Clare like nothing in living memory. The tourism and hospitality sectors, and much of retail, have shut down. Huge numbers of people in Clare have lost their jobs. This is a very stressful and difficult time for many, especially those who have lost loved ones, those who have lost their jobs or businesses and people living in isolation or in direct provision. There is huge uncertainty about what the future holds – for tourism, live music, sport. Some businesses may not reopen. Many of us will have to retrain.

Are there silver linings?
However, without in any way minimising the huge stresses, fears and grief this crisis has caused, there have been some silver linings around the dark cloud of Covid-19. The crisis has brought us together and has revealed the great strength in community. People are learning new technologies and finding new ways to do things. Many more people are growing their own food – organisations such as Irish Seed Savers in Scariff have been overwhelmed with orders.

The pandemic has also forced society to recognise the huge value of the work done by those in the health sector, carers, shop workers and others. It has also revealed that things we were told were impossible are possible after all – the use of private hospitals for public healthcare being just one example.

The global lockdown has also had huge environmental benefits. Cleaner air resulted in some 11,000 fewer deaths from pollution in Europe in April. Greenhouse gas emissions have fallen dramatically and wildlife is returning to areas they had fled long ago. The Government’s decisive response to Covid-19 has been contrasted to its years of foot-dragging on climate action. It turns out we can follow scientific warnings and take radical action to save lives, even if that means less economic output.

What the parties have proposed
Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael’s joint document published in mid-April commits to working “towards a consensus on a united island”; plans for affordable housing and a new deal for renters; expanded universal healthcare; no rises in income tax or USC and no cuts to core social welfare rates.

Among the Green Party’s ‘red lines’ for entering government talks is a yearly reduction of 7% in greenhouse gas emissions, which climate scientists have warned is needed to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown. The party has also demanded the scrapping of the Shannon LNG fracked gas terminal on the Shannon Estuary.

Sinn Féin’s general election manifesto proposed abolishing Universal Social Charge on the first €30,000 earned; building 100,000 council homes over five years; opening 1,500 hospital beds and providing free GP care; giving people the right to retire at 65; and cutting the cost of childcare.

Solidary-People Before Profit pledged to hold a referendum to make housing a constitutional right, to build 100,000 homes over five years and a rent freeze; to push for a health service that is free at the point of use; free public transport for all and to shift the carbon tax towards big polluters.

Labour’s manifesto proposed building 80,000 homes over five years, a rent cap and rent freeze; the roll-out of Sláintecare and free GP care for under-18s; introducing more protections for casual workers and converting the minimum wage to a living wage.

Sláintecare was also central to the Social Democrats’ manifesto, as well abolishing home care waiting lists; building 100,000 homes over five years; trialling a four-day working week; ending the State subsidy for fee-paying schools; and encouraging community energy schemes.

What would you do?
So, if you could sit down – socially distanced – with the negotiators from Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party, or the other parties if they end up around the table what would you say to them? What new measures would you like to see in response to the crisis? Should they be striving to return things as close to the old ‘normal’ as possible or is this the time for a major rethink? What are the positive aspects of the lockdown and of the response to the crisis you’d like to see maintained?

Hundreds of thousands of people have switched to remote working – should this be continued? Could a four-day week become the new normal? Should Shannon Airport be bailed out and supported or should Clare be preparing for a post-air travel world by diversifying into new industries? Is it time for a universal basic income? Should we get rid of the Leaving Cert for good?

Even before coronavirus, sectors such as farming were already in crisis. Can a new approach to agriculture give farmers a decent living, protect the environment and make Ireland more food secure?

What about Clare’s musicians and arts sector? They have already been organising events, exhibitions and workshops online – what does the future look like for them? Any ideas?

Please send us your views on what Clare – and Ireland – needs now. Tell us what you would like to say to the parties forming a government or what you think is worth keeping from our experiences during this crisis.

Please keep your submissions to less than 350 words. Alternatively, you can submit a video of no more than 2 minutes. We’ve extended the deadline – email us by 5pm on Friday, May 29th, at newsletter@clareppn.ie

We will publish submissions on our website and social media and they will go into a draw for prizes. For Clare PPN meetings, we usually pay for refreshments or room hire and we get to hear what people think of whats happening in the world. We‘re really missing those interactions and so on this occasion, for each of the four people drawn out of a hat, we’ll buy a €50 voucher at a local restaurant or takeaway of your choice – helping to support local business.

We look forward to hearing from you!