Clare PPN Autumn Plenary Meeting Draft Minutes September 15th and 23rd 2021
This meeting took place online over two evenings in order to cover all the topics for discussion.
Work Update: Key issues for October – December: Supporting reps, Joint Policing Committee pre-meeting, Social Inclusion college anti-poverty strategy, Environmental college concerns re Data Centre and general strategic work on aiming for an organic Clare, Community and Voluntary college – link between Macra/Enviro college event, training programme for community groups in collaboration with CLDC etc. Working with Quare Clare to hold Clare’s first county wide LGBTQ+ pride.
Work Report: July- September will be available on www.clareppn.ie by October 7th
Finances Update: Finances report will be available on www.clareppn.ie by October 7th
Projects Update: Announcement of two partnership projects Clare PPN is involved in:
Clare PPN is very happy to announce that its social inclusion college as mentioned above has itself been successful in being awarded a grant of €17,000 from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to develop a 5 year Participative Anti- Poverty Strategy for Clare. Clare Women’s Network, Clare Leader Forum, West Clare and Shannon Family Resource Centres and Clare Immigrant Support Centre and Clare PPN itself are the organisations who applied for this funding all members of Clare PPN will be invited to participate in the project and it will be formally announced in the next few weeks.
Clare PPN’s Social Inclusion College was also part of a successful application to the Department of Community and Rural Development’s Community Development Pilot Project. Funding of approximately €120,000 per year will be given to support the predevelopment and establishment of a Traveller Community Development Project in Clare. While this application was made with lead partner Clare Local Development Company, the HSE’s Traveller Health Unit and Clare Women’s Network as well as Clare PPN, the resulting Traveller Community Development Project will be independent and Traveller led this will be one of the criteria for the continuation of funding. The initial period of set up and draw down of funding will be managed by a project start up steering group which Clare PPN will be part of. We don’t as yet know when this project will commence but meetings to form the steering group have commenced in advance of the funding being received.
Announcement of Elections: Clare PPN announced elections for one environmental college representative to sit on Clare County Council’s Economic Development SPC and for two representatives one from our social inclusion college and one from our Community and Voluntary College to sit on the Rural Development Forum. – formal notification of election process will go out on 16th September and nominations will be accepted until 28th September at 5pm.
Managing Attendance by Reps: Request for input from members on managing attendance by reps at SPCs. Members noted that PPN reps are voluntary and that although there is a formal terms of reference for reps which details that representatives may be asked to step down for failure to participate in their committee meetings or of meetings of the PPN itself, the member groups asked that staff would contact any representatives who are not attending or participating in the PPN and try to establish why that is the case in advance of taking more formal action. This was agreed. Members also noted their ongoing concerns with how representatives are experiencing their participation on SPCs and that this also needs to be addressed. Staff updated meeting on their recent actions in this regard which included participating in the national review of PPNs and also the secretariat writing to our County Council liaison person Bernadette Haugh on 8/9/202 asking for action to be taken to ensure reps can effectively input into agendas and the meetings themselves. We have received a response from Bernie that our letter will be drawn to the attention of the corporate policy group but no further action as yet.
Formalising the Process for members to bring motions to plenary: Request from staff for input from members on formalising the process of bringing motions to plenary. Members agreed that CPPN should set a deadline in advance of plenary meetings for motions from members and circulate these motions along with the plenary meeting reminders. There is a need for further decisions on how motions are adopted and CPPN staff will work on those and present them at the next plenary. These include options for PPN as a whole to adopt motions, colleges to adopt motions separately as is currently the case, and how a motion is deemed relevant to the PPN.
As with previous years CPPN plans to collaborate this winter with other community organisations in Clare on providing training that is needed or wanted by community groups.
In the discussion the following needs were detailed:
- Fundraising training- introductory level (grant applications etc) and then follow on level (fundraising strategies, donors, etc)
- Training in hosting online events – online facilitation etc
- Boards and governance training
- Cultural competence training/Traveller culture training
- Facilities management for groups and buildings reopening after Covid-19 and holding public events
- General group facilitation training
- LGBTQ+ allies training for community groups (reminder of lgbtq+ quality mark idea from earlier in the year)
Issues/Motions Raised by members:
Motions: CPPN invite a representative group from Clare’s many migrant communities to come to each plenary meeting – Dermot Hayes. This motion was agreed however members also stressed that previous efforts in terms of reaching out and encouraging participation from migrant communities should be restarted as soon as restrictions allow. (CPPN had initiated a Migrant Forum prior to Covid-19 but was unable to secure sufficient participation in this in an online format during the restrictions) CPPN continues to support migrant communities through involvement with Failte Isteach and in social events with resettled refugees.
Motions: Clare Environmental Network proposed a motion opposing the proposed Ennis Data Centre on environmental grounds. Discussions regarding the legitimacy of CPPN adopting a motion without all members present took place (the current status of such motions is that plenaries are open to all members to attend and that all members receive 21 day’s notice of plenary meetings and that those who attend are free to make decisions at plenary). It was noted that a previous agenda item sought to formalise the motions process and so as a result an amended motion worded as followed was passed by those attending the plenary with Clare PPN’s environmental college and Clare Environmental Network free themselves to adopt other positions if they need to do so:
“In light of the stark warnings issued recently by Eirgrid, the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities and the Irish Academy of Engineering about the severe impact that the unregulated expansion of data centres will have on Ireland’s energy security and on our carbon emissions, those who attended the Plenary Meeting of Clare PPN on September 15th 2021 and of 23rd of September 2021 were concerned at the prospect of planning permission being granted for the development of Ennis Data Centre which will be dependent on carbon emitting fossil fuels in the current circumstances and on the basis of the current application which does not make sufficient provision for the use of renewable energy, or the protection and best use of water supply. Those attending the plenary meeting stressed that they would welcome and support such developments as data centres and the possibilities for employment should the proposals for them be fully compliant with our commitments to climate action and our energy and water security in particular the commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 51% over the next 9 years.
If the proposals for such a data centre can be amended to ensure that water courses and catchment areas are protected from damage and that the water supply needs for the populations of Clare and Limerick are not adversely affected, and a commitment to use renewable energy only and to generate this energy on site or offsite in a manner that does not constitute a drain on Ireland’s energy supplies or capacity to generate renewable energy, this position would be reconsidered. It was noted at the meeting that Data Centres already exist which do meet or are close to meeting these conditions
Clare PPN’s environmental college and Clare Environmental Network consider that there is an urgent need for a national policy, informed by meaningful public consultation, on how to manage the resource needs and environmental impact of data centres before far-reaching decisions are made at local level. ‘’
Motions: Cornelia Wahli of Clare PPN’s Environmental College had also proposed a series of inclusions from CPPN for Clare’s County Development Plan relating to moving towards an ‘Organic Clare’. This motion was discussed however the status of the County Development Plan in Clare as delayed by a motion passed by County Councillors does not currently invite public participation and CPPN environmental college has already made a substantial submission to the draft CDP which includes some of these aims and we await the publication of the draft generally. It has already been distributed to Councillors. CPPN staff proposed that they would work with the Environmental College on ways to progress the plans for an organic Clare in the areas which fall under the local authority’s remit. This motion was not passed as a result although actions will be taken to progress its aims.
Motions: From Mary O’Donoghue Social Inclusion College; Clare PPN should work on making climate change relevant to marginalised communities. This motion was agreed with reference also made to CPPN’s Anti-Poverty Strategy and to fuel and energy poverty in the county. Staff will work with Social Inclusion College to generate appropriate actions or training in this regard.
Any other business or items for discussion:
CPPN had received items for the agenda on the following topics however their proposers were not in attendance at part 2 of the plenary meeting CPPN staff will follow up with those who raised the issues to see what role if any the PPN or our reps can have in regard to them.
- How to campaign for outdoor exercise equipment in Shannon
- How to get action taken on overgrown river banks at Shannonbanks
- The possibility of Radio Corcai Baiscinn collaborating with other groups to apply for funding
- A review of speed limits in Ennis.