Pilot project aims to put people’s socio-economic rights ‘front and centre’ in planning Clare’s future
Leading think-tank TASC to host free workshops across Co Clare during May
What is a ‘just transition’ and what should it look like in Co Clare? That will be the focus of a series of free training workshops and brainstorming sessions across the county during the month of May, involving community groups, decision makers and members of the public.
These sessions will be hosted by the highly respected think-tank TASC, which has come on board for an innovative project led by Clare Public Participation Network (PPN) that aims to put people’s socio-economic rights and just transition principles “front and centre” in planning Clare’s future.
This pilot project, a collaboration between Clare PPN, Clare County Council, Clare Local Development Company (CLDC) and the Limerick Clare Education & Training Board (LCETB), aims to include people from as many walks of life as possible in discussing and planning the changes that need to be made as we move towards a carbon neutral future.
The project, funded by the Department of Community and Rural Development via the Dormant Accounts Fund, will build on work carried out last year by Clare PPN as part of its ground-breaking project, ‘Towards an Anti Poverty Strategy for Clare’.
“This new pilot project will place socio-economic rights front and centre, ensuring that those who experience poverty or social exclusion in Clare influence the outcomes and process,” said Clare PPN co-ordinator Sarah Clancy. “This means there will be a focus on access to health care including mental health and addiction services, transport, housing, sustainable livelihoods, education, leisure, culture and amenities as well as economic development opportunities under consideration as the project develops.
“The project partners are excited to have TASC on board, an organisation known for its work on just transition and that has specialists already working with rural communities in Donegal, Roscommon and Limerick.
“TASC has led the way in this field, developing ‘The People’s Transition’ where their work on the ground promoting community ownership and community wealth building as part of the process of transitioning to carbon neutral systems of living is already delivering practical results.”
Kieran Harrahill, senior researcher in climate justice with TASC, said: “We are delighted to be undertaking this project with Clare PPN in participation with Clare County Council, CLDC and the LCETB. Building on the recently published ‘Towards an Anti-Poverty Strategy for Clare’, this people-centred pilot project seeks to locate and foreground the voices of those who experience socio-economic deprivation in Clare and build a shared vision of a rights-based approach to a truly just transition.”
The workshops and training will be held in community venues around Clare, with the schedule due to be announced on April 27th.
As well as informing the work of all the organisations involved, the findings from this project will be used to inform Clare County Council’s Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2023-2028, which is currently being drafted.
Any group interested in participating in the training and brainstorming sessions should contact email@example.com. The organisers will do their best to provide the supports needed for groups taking part and so please let them know if your group needs any particular arrangements made.
Clare PPN Newsletter February 2023
Spring is here and so is our February newsletter. Packed with news of training, webinars, funding opportunities and more. Click here to see a PDF of the newsletter:
Seven years a growing – some Clare PPN highlights since 2016
When you’re involved with a community organisation, it can be so busy that years go by before you get a chance to stop and stock of your activities and achievements. Clare PPN recently had cause to sit down and reflect on the highlights of the seven years since the network was set up in 2016. Below is a whistle-stop tour through just some of the community events and other projects Clare PPN has been involved in.
A good deal of Clare PPN’s work, which isn’t represented here, is behind the scenes – submissions, public consultations, training and supporting our member groups – but we always love having the opportunity to get out and about in the community.
Rural Rejigs conference
“What an absolutely brilliant day this was… One of the most thought provoking events I’ve ever been to.” Just one of the comments from a participant in ‘Rural Rejigs’ in December 2017, a day of ideas and discussions about how rural communities can thrive. The event, co-hosted with the Clare Local Development Company, was stimulating, encouraging and challenging, while also being a celebration of the tireless work already being done in rural communities. ‘Hive Mind’ discussion groups gave the participants a chance to network and share how they will sustain themselves in their work for positive change. There were also live performances from musicians Katie Theasby and Raed Said.
Quare Clare Pride
The rainbows, glad rags and drag queens were out in force last September (2022) for the first Quare Clare Pride Festival. There was a great turnout for several events over two days, from a poetry reading in Ennis to a burlesque drag and DJ night in Shannon, with a Clare Youth Pride Party and display of the Irish Names Quilt. The Pride Festival was organised by Quare Clare, a group for LGBTQ+ people in the Banner County set up in 2021 by Clare PPN and several other organisations. If you’d like to be involved in Quare Clare, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow Quare Clare activities on Facebook:
In the run-up to both the local elections in 2019 and the general election in 2020, Clare PPN held very successful Election Hustings, at which candidates could make their pitches and take questions from voters. This photo shows a packed Cloughleigh Community Centre in Ennis for the general election hustings in 2020. The centre was packed to the rafters for that event, in which 12 of the candidates took part, facilitated by journalists Fiona McGarry and Andy Hamilton. The event was live-streamed, with more than 2,000 views. A poll was taken on entry and exit to add interest to proceedings. These events are part of Clare PPN’s general work to increase interest in participation in political processes in County Clare.
Big Hello Intercultural Picnic
The Big Hello Intercultural Picnic in May 2019 gave people from different communities the opportunity to share experiences and information. About 120 people attended this event, which was organised by Clare PPN, the Clare Women’s Network and Clare Immigrant Support Centre. There was catered food from local restaurants and people also brought their own to share. We also had henna tattoos and entertainment. People from the diverse communities that make up the Clare population got together and met the organisation representatives to learn about what we do and how they can be involved. Thanks to Clare County Council for providing the majority of the funding.
Towards an Anti-Poverty Strategy for Clare
A ground-breaking report on poverty in Co Clare was launched in September 2022, authored by renowned author and activist Dr Conor McCabe and funded by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. The report, which attracted extensive national media coverage, was the outcome of a nine-month participatory research project, conducted by Clare PPN and five other organisations, under the guidance of Dr McCabe. The research included ‘peer to peer’ research sessions at which people experiencing poverty shared their experiences. The aim of the project was to develop an anti-poverty strategy for Co Clare and to address the severe lack of research and data on poverty in the county and to identify the root causes of poverty. You can download the report here:
‘One-Stop Shops’ for Voters
In advance of the various general and local elections and referendums, Clare PPN has held voter registration ‘One Stop Shops’ to make it easy for people to register to vote – in particular those who have turned 18 and those who have migrated to Ireland, who can vote in local elections. To organise these events, at locations across the county, we collaborated with Clare County Council and the Clare Garda Division. This photo is of one of our One Stop Shops in 2018, in the run-up to the referendum on repealing the 8th Amendment, at which more than 200 people registered to vote.
This event in 2018 was a very successful collaboration with Clare Volunteer Centre and Clare Local Development Company. We delivered training for community and voluntary groups in how to recruit volunteers, how to access funding and how to understand conflict, with training sessions across the Banner County, including Ennis, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Killaloe, Kilrush and Ennistymon.
Supporting DP residents in Lisdoonvarna
Clare PPN has been involved in several events in Lisdoonvarna to support residents of a Direct Provision centre in the town. In August 2018, we facilitated an event with the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) who came to Lisdoonvarna to meet with asylum seekers there. The photo above is of a ‘Working Life’ event we hosted in Lisdoonvarna in 2018, offering information and support for navigating the world of work in Ireland. In 2019, during the local election campaign, we held a special voter registration and ‘meet the candidates’ event in Lisdoonvarna, specially for the residents of the DP centre. A journalist for the New Yorker magazine, Masha Gessen, attended this event, at which local election candidates made their pitches:
Green Shoots Gathering
Our Green Shoots event, way back in our first year of 2016, was held at Glór in Ennis – a family friendly environmental get together with talks, workshops, entertainment and a screening of an award-winning documentary, Atlantic. It was open to all, and Clare-based environmental and community groups displayed their materials. There were some great speakers, and the day finished with entertainment from Little John Nee – that’s him in the photo above.
Traveller Pride Awards & Clare Traveller CDP
Last July (2022), there was a wonderful evening’s entertainment and a celebration of Travellers and Traveller culture, at the first Clare Traveller Pride Awards. There was a big turnout at Cois na hAibhne in Ennis to see comedian Martin Beanz Warde act as MC for the night. Awards were presented in seven categories, and the aim of the awards was to highlight and recognise the achievements and contributions of Travellers in their communities and in Irish society. The event was organised by what was then a brand new organisation, the Clare Traveller Community Development Project (CDP), which was jointly set up by Clare PPN and other organisations. Its objective is to develop a programme responding to the needs of the Traveller community – engaging closely with the community and ensuring a strong Traveller voice and active participation from the community. Clare Traveller CDP now has three staff and shares a premises with Clare PPN.
Climate presentation to Oireachtas Committee
Clare PPN co-ordinator Sarah Clancy was one of three national PPN representatives who testified to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment and Climate Action in November 2022. The topic was the Irish experience of community-led climate action and opportunities for its enhancement. Sarah was joined by Charles Stanley-Smith and Cliona Kelliher of Tipperary PPN and Kildare PPN respectively. You can read Sarah’s opening statement here:
Clare PPN Newsletter January 2023
Our latest newsletter is here! Packed with news of training, webinars, funding opportunities and more. Click here to see a PDF of the newsletter:
Minutes of Clare PPN Plenaries Dec 2022
(one online & one in-person)
Thursday, 8th December, 2022
WORK REPORT 2022
Sarah Ferrigan gave an overview of the extensive work undertaken by Clare PPN in 2022. You can read/download our Work Report at this link:
The most significant piece of work undertaken by Clare PPN this year was the research project, ‘Towards an Anti-Poverty Strategy for Clare’. You can download a copy of the report here:
Appreciation was expressed for the County Council’s organising of a successful half-day event following on from the publication of the Anti-Poverty report, involving Councillors, Council staff, PPN reps and staff and other community representatives.
• Setting up of the Clare Traveller CDP was welcomed as an important step for Travellers in Clare.
• Membership: we now have 362 member groups. A re-registration process will take place in the first quarter of 2023.
Budget is on target. Our audited accounts are available on our website by searching ‘audited accounts’. Quarterly financial reports are also uploaded. We had a Departmental audit in 2022 – no issues raised.
All PPNs had looked for more funding from Dept of Rural & Community Development, as we don’t have enough. We had looked for €39,000 per PPN. Dept has told us there will be a modest increase. Likely to be €11,000 for each PPN. For Clare PPN, this will simply mean our funding meets our outgoings. We need further staff resources. At a minimum we need three full-time staff equivalent. Currently we are two full-time equivalent.
WORK PLAN 2023
Sarah Clancy gave an overview. The draft Work Plan can be viewed here:
The Work Plan will be finalised by 15th January.
• Something we want to achieve in 2023 is organising a Migrant Forum for Clare discussions on how to go about this took place with an acknowledgement of previous approaches which were not successful- the idea of one forum for disparate groups of varying nationalities with little in common is not a good starting point. New starting point will be to engage with individual groups first. PPN will seek resources to do this.
We are awaiting final word on a Pobal-funded project that relates to the public consultation process around the Local Economic & Community Plan (LECP). The aim of the project is to enshrine socio-economic rights and just transition principles into the LECP. This would mean funding of €40,000, which would pay for the person who will do the work (not existing PPN staff).
COP27 CLIMATE SUMMIT
Theresa O’Donohoe & Martin Vernon reported on their trip as part of a youth delegation to the COP27 summit. All in all, the summit was a talking shop but great to see so much youth protest and ‘humbling’ to meet people from regions whose existence is threatened by climate chaos. You can read Theresa’s & Martin’s report at this page:
FEASTA COP-27 Delegate Reports
CLARE PPN ELECTONS
Congratulations to Bridgie Casey and Bridget Ginnity who were both elected as Clare PPN Reps on the LCDC (Local Community Development Committee).
Theresa O’Donoghue elected to Clare PPN Secretariat.
• Upcoming elections:
We have two vacant seats on our Secretariat, one each for Killaloe and Shannon Municipal Districts (MDs). The term is three years. (You can stand for a subsequent term also). Nominations can be from groups in those MDs.
There is also a seat for an Environmental Rep on the Physical Development SPC.
We will announce the election process online, followed by a 21-day period for nominations.
LEADER FUNDING ISSUE
This EU funding is €6.6 million over 5 years, for rural and sustainable development. CLDC and Clare Co Council (LCDC) are both applying to be the delivery vehicle. An LCDC meeting has been called for next Tuesday 13th Dec to discuss whether LCDC should compete to be the body who oversees the LEADER funding in Clare – funding that CLDC has been overseeing delivery of for more than a decade. Very short notice – doesn’t allow proper PPN processes. Clare PPN can’t speak for all members without consulting them. Suggested that we will email all members to ask, via an online survey, what Clare PPN should do – vote yes, no or abstain- this later decided against in favour of an EGM instead.
Long discussion on this issue, with major concerns expressed about the Council’s move to apply for this funding through the LCDC and the conflicts and duplication that happened last time; with the lack of notice arising from this being raised under AOB rather than as an LCDC agenda item causing discontent among members.
• To call an EGM on Monday evening, 12th December via Zoom, at which the issue can be outlined to Clare PPN members, and they can decide how Clare PPN Reps should vote at Tuesday’s meeting (while noting that certain Reps may be precluded from voting due to possible conflicts of interest arising from their connections to either party).
• Agreed also that concerns should be expressed to Clare Co Council about the handling of this issue.
Some questions were raised as possible questions to put to Clare County Council/LCDC:
– Why does Council want to control the funding ?
What would be the workload and responsibility implications for members of the LCDC?
What extra resources would be assigned to LCDC members
What will happen to jobs in CLDC?
• The meeting expressed gratitude to the commitment and efforts of Cornelia Wahli to the PPN and to several other organisations who were lucky to have her as a member. Cornelia sadly died earlier this year. She was a PPN environmental Rep.
• Disappointment expressed at turnout at Plenary. Suggestion of combining another event, e.g. a guest speaker. Plenaries in future may be alternated between in-person and online (as opposed to having both for each plenary which is the current practice)
• Agreed that newsletter should include a line asking the contact person to share the newsletter within your member group. This request should be included in subject line.