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.