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: email@example.com. 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: