Clare Public Participation Network Submission to the Citizen’s Assembly
on the Issue
‘How can the state make Ireland a leader at tackling climate change?’
11th August 2017
Clare Public Participation Network wishes to make the following submission for consideration by the Citizen’s Assembly:
Leadership: Clare PPN calls for strong leadership from all levels of government to ensure that every department’s actions, and every piece of legislation passed is climate proofed. Further to this we call on the government to ensure no further licences for fossil fuel exploration are granted in Ireland’s territory. Clare PPN calls for every measure that is introduced to be poverty proofed and for mitigating steps to be taken if and when steps designed to tackle climate change have a negative effect on people’s socio economic status.
Climate Positive Communities Fund:Clare PPN wishes to suggest that the national government should pilot a programme where it rewards communities and individuals who come up with ways to reduce Ireland’s carbon footprint, to generate clean energy or to move towards food sovereignty in their own communities or in the country as a whole. Clare PPN suggests that a national organisation employing people with the expertise to evaluate the climate impact of each proposal should be set up and should have the dual role of working to remove any barriers that exist for effective community action and of determining level of financial reward that each project merits. Clare PPN notes that based on current targets the Irish state will be liable for significant financial penalties for failing to meet its climate targets and suggests that the funding spent on a national programme such as the one suggested above would have the potential, if successful to reduce our exposure to such fines and to increase participation by the public in tackling climate change. This suggestion would ensure that Ireland could help become a leader in tackling climate change by harnessing the power, creativity, local knowledge and resourcefulness that are features of every townland and village in Ireland.
Community Participation:Clare PPN calls on the government to radically alter how public consultations are conducted. In line with the Aarhus Convention it calls on the government to adopt policies and commit resources to ensuring that communities are engaged in decision making, planning, ownership, and ongoing management of any clean energy projects that are proposed in their areas. This approach should be followed in regard to all natural resources with particular reference to seaweed harvesting which appears likely to experience increased interest from private companies given recent findings that it may contribute to lessening climate impact from cattle farming. Clare PPN wishes to stress that communities should be engaged from the conception stage in any project such as wind, wave or solar energy. Further to this communities must be resourced and supported to consider themselves as energy producers rather than only consumers. This requires significant action to ensure that micro producers of energy are able to efficiently and effectively sell any excess energy produced to the grid and able to access energy from the national grid. It is imperative than any blocks to this process or to communities becoming sustainable energy communities are removed. Clare PPN would like to call for the removal of prohibitions on Virtual Private Networks as these restrictions prevent collaborative approaches to sustainable energy generation for small groups or clusters where this may otherwise be an option.
Infrastructure: Clare PPN is based in a rural, agricultural county, parts of which are dependent on tourism for its sustainability. Clare PPN calls for more supports for environmentally sound tourism practices, for significant investment in environmentally sustainable public transport within the county and for support for innovative, sustainable land use including forestry. Clare PPN notes the existence of successful Community Supported Agriculture projects in Clare and wishes to commend and recommend these as models which could be developed and which are worthy of support. Clare PPN also notes the existence of wetland regeneration projects in County Clare and calls for these to be supported. Clare PPN also recognises the very successful Clare Bus company and call for additional support for them in their moves to become more sustainable, particularly in the area of EV based public transport. Clare PPN calls for a national and local programme of financial and administrative support for individuals and businesses to become self-sufficient in energy needs.
Any enquiries in relation to this submission may be directed to
Clare PPN Environmental College Representative
Phone: 087- 2244569
Submission to Rebuilding Ireland from Clare Public Participation Network:
August 10th 2017
Clare Public Participation Network wishes to make the following submissions to this review of Rebuilding Ireland:
- Clare PPN wishes in this submission to highlight and draw attention to the fact that a housing crisis exists in rural and regional areas and is not restricted to Ireland’s cities. Whilst the crisis may differ from region to region County Clare is experiencing an extreme shortage of all types of rental accommodation, an increase in homelessness, prevalent over- crowding as well as rural depopulation. There are more than 6000 houses vacant in the county and housing waiting lists stand at approximately 2500 households which when children are figured in means that more than 4,000 people are currently waiting for housing.
- Clare PPN calls for a renewed effort in ensuring accuracy and transparency in reporting of figures: Clare PPN notes the tendency of reports issued from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government to minimise the extent of the crisis and to maximise the figures in terms of improvements made. Clare PPN considers it of the utmost importance to proper budgeting and policy making that accurate inclusive figures should be maintained and published. We have noted that the following groups who all experience housing need and homelessness are frequently omitted from official figures:
- People living in the direct provision system who have received leave to remain in Ireland but who are unable to leave direct provision because there is no available affordable or supported accommodation for them.
- Travellers who are currently in overcrowded, roadside, or shared accommodation* due to difficulty in accessing social housing/Traveller specific accommodation and housing in the private rental sector.
- People with disabilities who are currently sharing with families, in residential care or living in nursing homes when their choice is to live independently. In Ireland 600,000 people have some form of disability and in County Clare alone there are 217 people on the housing waiting list in this category.
- On a national level, Clare PPN wishes to add its voice to that of the many other organisations who are calling for an end to the over-reliance on the private rental sector in addressing housing need in Ireland. Clare PPN notes and supports in particular the contribution to the debate made by TASC and the Nevin Institute, both of whom call for a significant change of direction in Irish housing policy and envisage a special purpose company set up by the government to build, purchase and maintain a large stock of state-owned housing which will be available on a cost rental model for long term rental to tenants of all income levels in Ireland. Even in the absence of a shift of direction in policy as described above Clare PPN wishes to stress that there is an urgent need for national and local authorities to invest in directly building or purchasing social housing for the long term secure use of those who cannot access the private rental sector or face barriers doing so. It should also be noted that figures recently released demonstrate that there are over 1200 properties vacant in Ennis where demand for social housing stands at approximately 1100 households. On this basis for sustainable town development it is clear that more emphasis must be placed on all programmes which will bring these properties back into use up to and including compulsory leasing and purchasing. Apart from the poor use of space, dereliction and urban blight which a concentration of empty properties causes in a town, the turnaround for getting such properties renovated and fit for use is in general much faster than bringing new developments from planning to completion.
- Clare PPN regards the following as essential to ensure that housing policy in Ireland in general and the Rebuilding Ireland programme specifically are effective for all groups who make up our diverse communities.
- The need for housing lists to be divided between those with a long term housing need and those with a short term need. People who qualify for housing assistance should be able to select which list they wish to belong to.
- There is an urgent need for a review of the effectiveness or otherwise of the Housing Assistance Payment particularly with regard to people with long term social housing needs. People identified with long term housing need should not be removed from Housing waiting lists even when they are in receipt of HAP. There is also a need for a review in each county and its urban areas as regards the availability of rental accommodation within HAP limits. In Clare, whilst there is housing for sale, there is a shortage of appropriate rental accommodation in almost all areas within the limits of the HAP scheme. This exposes people to greater risks of becoming homeless and of accepting substandard accommodation. Whilst HAP figures can indicate that people have accommodation, they do not provide any guarantee as to the quality or suitability of that accommodation.
- In Clare where Clare PPN is active there is no targeted scheme that addresses the difficulties that members of the Traveller Community face when accessing private rental accommodation even when they are approved for a Housing Assistance Payment. Attention to this issue is urgently needed at a national level, with there being obvious justification and need for an intervention designed through consultation with the Traveller community which obliges, finances and monitors local authorities, approved housing bodies, or private developers to provide appropriate accommodation for Travellers.
- Local Authorities should be held to account as regards their application for and draw down of the funding available for Traveller Accommodation. Local Authorities should jointly conduct an annual Traveller needs and future needs analysis with the Travelling community in each county. The results of this needs analysis should be agreed on by all parties and the Traveller Accommodation Plan should be developed on the basis of it. A realistic budget should be adopted for Traveller accommodation nationally and for each county’s Traveller Accommodation Plan. The Travelling community should be resourced to participate fully in all decisions which concern them and all Local Authority staff who engage with Travellers should be given training on diversity and on the particular challenges that face the Traveller Community. The Trespass Act should be repealed and where members of the Travelling Community who are on the Housing waiting list are dwelling in unofficial sites and the Local Authority has no other suitable accommodation available for them then the Local Authorities should be directed to provide emergency sanitation, waste disposal services and electricity to them for a reasonable fee within the means of the families in question. Local Authorities should be resourced and directed to conduct all of the above.
- Local Authorities should be required to make provision and account for the needs of people becoming homeless through situations of domestic violence. Local Authorities should be asked annually to demonstrate what steps they have taken to ensure that people in such circumstances are catered for.
- National Government needs to make provision for people in Direct Provision who have been granted leave to remain or refugee status but cannot secure accommodation in order to enable them to leave the direct provision centres. It should be noted that many of these people have become impoverished whilst in the asylum application process as a result of the Irish Government’s policies. Clare PPN calls for full social welfare payments to be made available immediately to every person who has been granted leave to remain. As part of its submission to this review of Rebuilding Ireland Clare PPN calls for a complete end to the system of Direct Provision as it fails to meet the housing needs of those in the asylum system. Clare PPN notes that in particular it fails to meet the basic needs of children.
- Clare PPN calls for the continued and increased provision of housing for people with disabilities and the need to include people with disabilities who are currently unable to secure their own independent accommodation in all planning processes and consultations.
Any enquiries regarding this submission may be directed to:
Public Participation Network Coordinator
Unit 1 Westgate Business Park
Phone: 087 1617375
Email: email@example.com Website: www.clareppn.ie Twitter: @clare_ppn Facebook: www.facebook.com/clareppn/
Public Library Strategy 2018-2022 Consultation With Public Participation Network
The Department of Housing Planning, Community and Local Government, in conjunction with the LGMA and the Libraries Development Committee, has commenced the development of a new 5 year strategy for the public library service in Ireland. As part of our early consultation on developing the new strategy, we would like to invite the Public Participation Networks to give some feedback on the progress of the Strategy developed to date. This is in advance of a more detailed public consultation which will take place in the Autumn.
You can read the draft strategy here: 2017 Library Strategy Draft Outline
Recent enhancements to the library service have greatly increased its value to the community. The public library service can be very proud of the many initiatives delivered as part of the last strategy ‘Opportunities for All’ 2013-2017which was a progressive programme for the development of our public library services. Indeed the latest innovation launched on the 29 May 2017 is ‘Libraries Ireland’ – a single library system providing a single access for library members to over 15 million items in the 333 library branches across the country. It is a landmark step in the positioning of the library as the ‘go to’ place for communities. Your views, as Public Participation representatives are welcomed on what you consider will add to the new strategy and assist to inform its development so the public library is positioned to realise its full potential.
The term of our current public libraries strategy Opportunities for All, ends in 2017. A review of its progress and extensive early consultations has commenced to inform the development of a new strategy for the period 2018-2022. The task is to identify key areas of focus for the next five-year strategy, taking account of new trends, developments and opportunities.
Progress to date:
3 Thematic Programmes have been identified for the development and enhancement of the public library service during the period 2018-2022.
- Community Development,
- Literacy and Learning;
- Books/Reading & the Life of the Imagination.
Under each of these themes, a number of priority programmes will be designed and pursued, for example under Literacy and Learning, services and promotion of lifelong learning will be progressed.
- Do you feel the Thematic Programmes outlined would cover the most important services provided by libraries in your locality?
- If not, what others in your opinion could be explored and pursued?
- Is this likely to change significantly over the period 2018-2022?
- Do you have any other comments/suggestions on the proposed strategy?
How to Give Feedback Deadline July 28th 2017:
Please send your observations on the attached draft strategy outline attached here – 2017 Library Strategy Draft Outline (which consists of 3 thematic programmes and 6 underpinning elements for service delivery) to firstname.lastname@example.org
Call for nominations for National Advisory Forum June 8th 2017.
Notice of election on June 29th* Call for nominations on or before June 16th at 5pm
Clare PPN has been invited to nominate one person from each of our colleges (Environmental, Social Inclusion, Community and Voluntary) to sit on the National Advisory Forum for Public Participation Networks in Ireland. Every PPN in Ireland is invited to put forward three nominees and three people will eventually be selected from the whole country to sit on the forum.
This forum will meet a minimum of four times per year and those meetings will take place in Dublin. Representatives will be paid civil service level expenses but will not receive any other payment. The forum will work to strengthen the PPN’s nationally and to develop policies for them. More information is provided for potential nominees at the foot of this page.
All member groups are invited to give us their nominations on or before Friday 16th June at 5pm
Who is eligible for nomination?
- All nominees must be in a group that is a member of Clare PPN.
- Each group can only nominate one person for one college – eg environmental groups can only nominate a person for the environmental college and so on.
- Nominees must consent to their own nomination- it is the responsibility of the group who nominates them to ensure this.
How can your group nominate someone?
Contact your nominee and ask for their permission and get them to send you a short biography – a few lines about their interests and experience and their contact details and then e-mail email@example.com before the 16th June at 5pm with the following information-
- Your name and contact number
- Name of your group
- Name of the person you are nominating and name of the group they are a member of
- Contact details and short biography of the person you are nominating
*If there is more than one nominee in each category we will hold an election by email with close of voting taking place on June 29th. Once nominations are closed the details of nominees in each college will be circulated to members of that college along with a call for votes. Each member group will have one vote.
Information for prospective nominees
The timeframe involved
It is proposed that the members of the new Advisory Group would meet for the first time in September/October 2017.
The term of office of the Advisory Group
The members of the new Advisory Group would each be appointed for a period of 3 years
(September/October 2017 – August 2020)
The National Advisory Group will meet at least four times in a full year, typically once a quarter. For convenience purposes meetings meetings to date of the Group have been held in the Custom House, Dublin 1 which is located next to national rail, bus and Luas services. It is expected that this venue will continue to serve for meeting of the new group.
Agenda and minutes are circulated to members within two weeks of a meeting.
Additional meetings may be organised as and when required.
Travelling & Subsistence.
Current Civil Service rates apply to travel and subsistence expenses incurred by members of the National PPN Advisory Group travelling to and from meetings. It is Departmental policy that public transport should be used wherever possible if it is deemed necessary to travel for meeting purposes. Members should only use their cars to travel to and from meetings in where no suitable public transport (e.g., train or bus) is available
Purpose and Objectives of the National PPN Advisory Group
The National Advisory Group’s role will be to advise and support the Department in the development and operation of the PPNs. In that the Advisory Group will
- Develop key performance indicators for PPNs and Local Authorities in conjunction with the Department.
- Analyse and discuss local progress and liaise with DHPCLG on addressing priority issues identified.
- Monitor progress on the development and implementation of PPNs across the country to ensure consistency of implementation across local authority areas.
- Where inconsistencies are identified, make proposals on how these issues can be resolved.
Submission from Clare Public Participation Network to the Draft Rural Development Strategy 2017- 2028
Clare PPN made a general submission to the Council’s new Draft Rural Development Strategy 2017 – 2028 and it is here in full for those who wish to read it. Whilst it is up to our members themselves to make specific submissions about projects in their own areas this submission was intended to ensure that some of the general priorities Clare PPN agreed at its plenary meeting were named in the new strategy.
Please find attached a list of items that Clare PPN would like to have named and detailed in the new rural development strategy for County Clare. As you know Clare PPN is a network of more than 200 community groups and these groups may take the opportunity to make separate, specific or project based submissions to this process themselves. Clare PPN as a network is committed to and recognises the importance of the protection of the human rights of people in the county and their livelihoods, the protection of the heritage, environment and landscape, and the necessity for all people within the community to be recognised and supported and these recommendations for inclusion in the Rural Development Strategy aim to ensure that these values will be highlighted and considered in all decision making. Clare PPN is committed to the sustainable economic and social development of Clare’s rural communities and welcomes this strategy. We will continue to participate in the process and make suggestions through our representative Christy Sinclair. We would much obliged if you would take these suggestions on board,
Clare PPN Representative on the Rural Development Forum.
C/O Clare Public Participation Network
Unit One Westgate Business Park,
Phone: 087 1617375
- All actions within this strategy will recognise housing as a human right and will seek to ensure that this right is realised for the people of Clare with particular attention to the urgent need for culturally appropriate accommodation for the ethnic minority Traveller community, for those escaping situations of domestic violence and those in emergency accommodation or facing homelessness.
- Clare County Council, in conjunction with the relevant agencies and organisations, will ensure that the people of Clare and the rural communities where they live will have access to the services and facilities required to live sustainably, including access to employment, education, training and medical care.
- All actions within this strategy will, in consultation with people who have disabilities, seek the progressive realisation of all the rights which are codified in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- All actions within this strategy will recognise the immediate threat posed by Climate Change and will seek to ensure that all developments or actions undertaken as part of this strategy will seek to mitigate climate change.
- All actions within this strategy will take the provisions of the Aarhus convention on public participation into account and ensure public participation is resourced and supported by all agencies and groups involved.
- This strategy recognises that issues in the surrounding counties and at sea may impact on the people or environment of County Clare and will include a commitment on the part of the Local Authority to monitor such developments and take any actions available to them to ensure that the environment, health and interests of the diverse people of Clare are protected.
- This strategy will recognise, celebrate and avail of the resources from the diverse communities who live in the county.
- Clare County Council should take responsibility for circulating all information regarding local, national and international opportunities for community groups to access funding opportunities in as timely a fashion as possible. Clare PPN suggests that they should dedicate an area of their website to this function and undertake to circulate a newsletter or other communication periodically.
Report by secretariat member George Atijohn from Clare PPN’s first County Plenary Meeting of 2017.
The meeting started with a welcome message and a brief introduction of what Clare PPN worked on in 2016 which as well as all the routine work of running the PPN included The Green Shoots Gathering – an environmental conference which took place in the Glor Theatre Ennis and which was oversubscribed.
The #ClareHowAreYa? well-being survey which attracted nearly 400 responses.
Clare PPN’s collaboration with the Clare People Newspaper in publishing a special issue of the paper at Christmas which contained Proclamations written by school children from all over Clare.
Clare PPN also hosted workshops and training for its representatives and secretariat in media skills and mediation and in social media and there are plenty more such events planned for members and representatives for the year ahead.
Questions were asked by the old and new members about the activities of the Clare PPN
The following questions were asked:
- How much budget can PPN spend on training? The PPN’s budget was explained with members being told of the amounts which go towards salary, rent and representatives expenses and the remainder being available to fund the PPNs training, promotion and events budget.
- Is there any tangible outcome from the PPN’s reps participation in the various SPCs that have by now been running for about two years? This question provoked some discussion- with members of the LCDC explaining that many of the changes achieved were incremental and so were difficult to account for. Clare PPN’s resource worker explained that the previous year had mostly focussed on getting everything in place and in order and that 2017 would see the focus change towards making participation as effective as possible.
- Who controls the marketing budget within the PPN? The Secretariat
- Is there a difference between pillars and colleges? No
- What does social inclusion mean? This was explained and it was agreed to revisit the definition to ensure that this college is comprised of groups working on poverty reduction, and the active inclusion of marginalised communities.
- Can you be members of two different groups? Yes, but you may only be a contact person for one.
The following appointments were ratified at the plenary
- Graham Lightfoot’s appointment to Clare PPN secretariat
- Mary O’ Donoghue’s appointment to Clare PPN secretariat
- Oonagh O’ Dwyer’s election to the Fisheries Local action Group.
- Eugene Crimmins’ election to the Leader Programme Community Development and Social Inclusion Advisory Committee
- Ger O’ Halloran’s re-appointment to Clare Sports Partnership.
Members were informed about the vacant seat for the social inclusion on the secretariat, and for the new Rural Development Forum and the LTACC. It was explained that elections will be held to fill the vacant positions beginning in February.
Members of the Clare PPN present split into 3 colleges (Environment, Social Inclusion and Community and Voluntary) to deliberate on their work plan for the year ahead and the suggestions were all compiled for Clare PPN secretariat’s strategy day which takes place on Tuesday 28th Feb. It was agreed that both the environmental and social inclusion colleges would begin to meet as colleges more regularly with the environmental college’s first meeting due to take place on Feb 27th.
Finally two matters of Clare PPN’s policy were decided:
Firstly it was decided that Clare PPN would call for Ireland to ratify the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. Ireland is the only country in the EU which has not ratified this convention even though we signed up to it almost ten years ago and this is now an aim of Clare PPN.
Secondly a decision was taken that Clare PPN recognises Housing as a Human Right as defined in the UN Convention on Human Rights and The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and will carry out all its work on housing issues with that in mind.