More than 70 representatives of community groups from across Clare gathered in glór on Wednesday evening (3 December 2014) for the launch of the Public Participation Network (PPN), a new representative body for the County’s community, voluntary social inclusion and environmental sectors.
The aim of the PPN, which replaces the Clare Community Forum, will be to enhance and expand the role played by the public in the formulation of local government policy and the future development of local communities.
The keynote address on the evening was delivered by Dr Seán Healy, Director of Social Justice Ireland and Chairman of the National Working Group on Citizen Engagement, who provided a detailed presentation on how community, voluntary, social inclusion and environmental groups can benefit from the new network and why they should consider becoming members.
“The information evening was very successful with over 70 community groups represented at the event. Gerard Dollard, Director of Service, Clare County Council and Dr Healy addressed a very useful Questions and Answers session which outlined how the PPN will enable community groups to interact with local government at different levels, as well as facilitate the Council in developing policy and in plan making,” stated Ms. Monica Meehan, Senior Executive Officer, Tourism and Community, Clare County Council.
Ms. Meehan continued: “The Network will be the main link through which the Council connects with the community and voluntary, social inclusion and environmental sectors. The PPN’s primary objective is to enable the public to take an active formal role in the policy making and oversight activities of the Local Authority’s areas of responsibility.”
Outlining the next stage of the process, Ms. Meehan explained: “The next step is to hold a meeting of all registered groups within each of the four Municipal Districts for the purpose of electing one representative from each Municipal District PPN on to the County Secretariat.
The meetings will take place on Monday, 19th January 2015 at 7pm at the Temple Gate Hotel in Ennis (Municipal District of Ennis), Thursday, 22nd January 2015 at 7pm at the Oakwood Arms Hotel in Shannon (Municipal District of Shannon), Monday, 26th January 2015 at 7pm at the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon (Municipal District of West Clare), and Wednesday, 28th January 2015 at 7pm at the Lakeside Hotel in Killaloe (Municipal District of Killaloe).
This series of meetings will be followed by a County meeting to elect two representatives from each of the three colleges on to the Secretariat.
Groups that do not register with the PPN will not be eligible to participate at PPN meetings, or be involved in the nomination process for seats on the Secretariat or on the decision making bodies of Clare County Council. All groups that have previously registered with the Clare Community Forum / Clare County Council must register under this process if they wish to participate in the new structure.
PPN registration forms can be downloaded from www.clarecoco.ie and must be returned to Valerie Fleming, Tourism & Community, Clare County Council, New Road, Ennis, Co. Clare by Friday, 9th January 2015.