Report from Anny Wise on the Meeting of the Rural Development Strategic Policy Committee of September 12th 2017
The official launch of the Clare Rural Development Strategy took place on Thursday 7th September in Kilmaley Day Care centre under a large Marquee. The following Tuesday the SPC for Rural Development met in the County Council offices and all the members were then informed of all aspects of this (first in Ireland) document which will set out Clare vision up to 2026.
This policy came out of a number of meetings by a Rural Development Forum which included 40 members from both elected, agencies and community organisations. The whole scheme is new from the point of view that it is a bottom up system. that involved all stake holders and instead of ignoring the problems that is effecting Rural Ireland – it takles these head on with some very new initiatives. I wish to thank the Forum of their long hours of work, mostly done on a voluntary basis and their future work – the next decision to be on the first years plan of action. If any of you want to read the document it can be found here on Clare County Council’s webpage: http://www.clarecoco.ie/community/publications/clare-rural-development-strategy-2026-26009.pdf
News report on the launch of the Rural Development Strategy can be read here:
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.clareppn.ie Twitter: @clare_ppn Facebook: www.facebook.com/clareppn/
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.
February 13th 2017
Notice of Elections: Seeking a representative from Clare PPN to participate in the Rural Development Forum.
Clare PPN is holding an online election for a representative to attend Clare County Council’s Rural Development Forum on our behalf. The forum is an initiative of Clare County Council’s CE Pat Dowling and aims to set out a new Rural Development Strategy for the County. This initiative is timed to coincide with the National Government’s Action Plan for Rural Ireland and to maximise its potential for County Clare. The forum will mostly be focused on identifying projects that can be developed within the time frames of the Action Plan and avail of whatever funding is made available.
This new Rural Development Forum will meet 5 times before summer, and may or may not continue thereafter or in fact it may continue in a different format. This means that for the moment we are seeking someone who is available between now and summer to attend meetings and who will be willing to take on the work of reporting back from each meeting to the members of Clare PPN. We would hope that the person elected will be someone who already has experience in the area of rural development but they may be from any of the three PPN colleges.
NB: The forum’s first meeting is on Wednesday 15th of February and Clare PPN’s Christy Sinclair of Burren Ecotourism Network will attend this meeting in an acting capacity and will report back until we have a representative in place.
We are open for nominations from today Mon 13th Feb until Thursday 23rd of February and every group who is a member of Clare PPN today can nominate one person for the position.
After the 23rd Feb we will circulate a list of candidates and every group who is today (Monday 13th Feb 2017 ) a member of Clare PPN will be entitled to vote for those candidates. The election will be held on March 6th 2017
According to last year’s updated guidelines for PPNs nationally, no person who already holds a representative position for the PPN can be nominated for this role although secretariat members may be nominated by their groups so long as they do not hold any other position within the PPN.
How to Nominate a Candidate:
To nominate a candidate please email email@example.com with the following information on or before Monday 13th February.
- Your name and contact details
- Your group’s name
- Your chosen candidate’s name and contact details
- A short statement (even one sentence) on your nominees suitability for the role.
Please note that even if you have nominated a candidate you will still need to cast a vote for them after the nomination period has closed. More details and reminders of how to do this will be circulated when the list of candidates is finalised.