Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Pay of 100,000 workers cannot be ignored

Read more opinion and news in Issue 56 - Winter 2016/’17 of ‘Changing Ireland’!

 Debate is continuing in regard to “restoring” pay, particularly in the public sector. However, the Community & Voluntary Sector hasn’t got much of a look in.
   When it comes to this Sector, the media is focused on high CEO salaries. Recently, the asked: Should there be a salary cap for CEOs of charities? They pointed to well-publicised scandals and a survey they conducted earlier last year into CEO salaries in charity organisations. As we know, some CEOs were being paid almost €150,000 a year. They also noted a wide variation in pay to senior management personnel in not- for-pro ts. Whatever about high salaries in some charity organisations, most workers in the Community & Voluntary feel their pay is too low and if anyone deserves pay “restoration” perhaps it should be the Sector’s lower-paid workers.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Read the full article in Issue 56 - Winter 2016/’17 of ‘Changing Ireland’!

- Particularly for strengthening the ‘SICAP’ programme from 2017


Robert Carey (pictured) is SICAP 
Programme Manager with North East 
and West Kerry Development Company. 
He writes here in a private capacity and 
is a regular contributor to ‘Changing Ireland’. 

The election of Donald Trump should be a catalyst for community development in general and SICAP in particular.

There has already been a barrage of discussion on why and how Trump won the election. Of relevance to community development is the fact that working class and middle class people are voicing their disaffection with growing economic inequality. In addition, the equality agenda is under attack with many  not convinced of its merits.

While America and Brexit may be totemic examples of these issues there are similar themes emerging across Western Europe, including Ireland.

Economic inequality has been increasing since the era of increased globalisation and neo-liberal capitalism was ushered in under Regan and Thatcher in the 1980s. Issues such as precarious low paid work (Ireland has one of the highest levels of low paid workers in the OECD) unemployment, high debt and insufficient services are causing angst.

Against this backdrop there is increased tension around migration accompanied by reported increases in racism and a hardening of opinions in some quarters with less empathy shown towards those in great need.  So how is this relevant to  community development?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Is Zero Waste Possible, asks Mindy O'Brien

Read the full article in Issue 56 - Winter 2016/’17 of ‘Changing Ireland’!

Not all borrowing is bad

- We need to share more, writes Mindy O'Brien of 'VOICE'.

Not all borrowing is bad. We’re not talking about money for once, but borrowing and loaning out items that reduce the amount of waste and needless dumping in society.  But is zero waste possible? Can we chuck out our bins and live with no waste at all?
   Unfortunately not, as our current system of supplying consumers prevents us from achieving lower levels of waste easily. Between plastic wrapped bags of fruits and vegetables and over packaged products, zero waste seems out of reach.
   However, the definition of ‘zero waste’ is forgiving. It refers to the journey towards zero waste rather than the destination. It means looking at current consumption patterns and finding solutions through waste prevention, re-using and repairing products and recycling and composting.

Friday, May 13, 2016

A "milestone" for Community-Led Local Development, say winning Clare & Kilkenny groups.

The FULL TEXT of this interview is below - scroll down.
Interview with Doirin by 'Changing Ireland' editor Allen Meagher. 

Doirin Graham's company took on a challenge and won. The prize - community-led control over an €8.9million pot of EU/Irish funding for the next five years under LEADER. On Monday, they learned of their success.
That morning, staff and board members literally ate cake (pictured). The cake was a gift from a local bakery.

In impressing the judges, Clare Local Development Company proved to all and sundry that old ways can still be better than new ways. Losing out in the competition was the Local Community Development Committee (LDCD) in Co. Clare. In most counties, such committees confidently expect to oversee the delivery of the next LEADER programme.
However, long-established local development companies are competing with the new committees for LEADER funding in three remaining counties.
Clare was the first to get the green light - they received confirmation that their bid was the favoured one on Monday morning. 
It marked “a milestone” in the advancement of Community-led over “Council-led” local development, as Doirin put it.
Clare Local Development Company was established in 1992 and Doirin has been employed by the company since ‘93.
On Thursday, Kilkenny LEADER Partnership learned that they also had been successful. Responding to Doirin's interview, they said: “Well done Doirin on providing an excellent account of the challenges to community-led local development. Also well done of having the ability and courage to resist the pressure to leave the LEADER application process clear to the local authority-led Local Community Development Committee.”
“Local is not enough- it must be community-led to be LEADER,” the statement concluded.
CLICK TO ENLARGE - Earlier local newspaper coverage of Kilkenny LEADER Partnership's "fight" to continue operating as a Local Action Group  for delivering LEADER in the county.
This first interview regarding the rollout of LEADER funding and the selection of 'Local Action Groups' through a competitive process will be augmented by others.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Manifesto for My Generation - By Vivien Whelan, Wexford

- We're right to be angry. We're young, educated and unemployed. This is a call for action to my generation. Let's get organised! 

Vivien Whelan, author
My generation grew up on the back of the Celtic tiger. We grew up with never before seen technology at our fingertips, and at a time when getting a good standard of education was predominant. New innovative businesses were springing up all across the country and the future looked bright. My generation grew up - in a fiercely general sense - having it all.
But this is a tale of a fleeting moment. My generation is not at its knees, carrying a sense of forlornness on our shoulders. In Wexford, my home town, the statistics show that 47% of young people are on the live register. We are emigrating in our droves - not in search of adventure, or experience - but in search of a job. Unemployment at this level is not needed in today’s world. Something has got to be done because the youth of today is the future of tomorrow.
I am angry. I am angry because I cannot afford to continue with college this year. I am angry that if I did strive to go, the grant I would receive would not even cover my rent for the year. I am angry because Ireland allegedly has free education but this is not the case, not for people who can barely make ends meet.
I am angry that I may have to consider leaving my own country in pursuit of steady employment. I am angry that a large number of my peers are joining the unemployment line. I am angry that the youth is being punished for aberrations made by ‘competent’ adults, elected at a time when my generation was not even old enough to vote.
I am angry that people on the live register- mainly the youth, get judged for being in the situation. I am angry that they are being told to sit down and accept 64 euro a week. I concede to the reality that there are many people out there who make receiving social welfare a lifestyle choice, but what about the people who want a job? The people who want an education? The people who want to better themselves? The people who want to upskill? What about the lost ones? The people swindled out of a steady future? The people robbed of a chance? The people begrudged hope of a better time?
We the people truly do not know the power we hold. This article is not intended as another tedious piece complaining about how inadequate the shower up in Dublin is. Because let’s put things into perspective here; our fair isle will improve. Throughout our history we have always come back from hard times and we went on to prosper. We are slowly but surely getting back on our feet. The youth need to step up and be the change they wish to see. Let us not stand for this economy, let us help ourselves. The key to improvement lies in education, training, entrepreneurship and the creation of jobs.
A large amount of 18 to 25 year olds do not even vote. Those who do not vote have no right to complain about the state of the contingency of the government. Those who do not go out and actively pursue a job do not have the right to claim from the social welfare. We are the future; let’s make the future bright for our generation and generations to come.
I read somewhere: “This generation wants more than any generation that has come before but is willing to work for it less than any other generation”. In many ways I think this analogy is legitimate. My generation grew up having it relatively facile, but those days are over, work is the key to coming back with a bang. Change begins at the centre of the community so setting up group initiatives and trying to change what is happening is something to think about, as opposed to sitting back and allowing others to get us out of such predicaments. We must work together for the greater benefit of all.
Recently I visited An Dail Eireann as part of a youth action group in County Wexford - set up to discuss and take action against issues young people have in today’s Ireland. I was notably impressed at how keen TDs were to listen to our opinions regarding changing the way of life for the youth. We met with many T.D’s including Mick Wallace, Paul Kehoe, John Lyons, Brendan Howlin and Michael D’Arcy. All of whom gave us feedback on the project, lent us advice on how to go about such matters and provided information on issues like The EU Youth Guarantee. Additionally the group gave a submission on how the Youth Guarantee should work to best sustain the youth. As of yet, whether these meetings will have any impact is not known to me.
My generation has a right to be angry. I call upon the Irish youth to take a stand and realise that they can make a change. We do not have to accept what is happening. There are many local development offices over the length and breadth of the country that would be more than happy to govern meetings and organise youth projects wherein young people can offer comment and criticism on issues like this. The best people to make the best of a bad situation are young people. We have the most drive, we have the freshest ideas, new ways of thinking and we have categorically the least to lose.
The society in which we live is a favourable one, a fair one, a democracy. Let’s use this for all it is worth. When one looks at things in a positive light, the future seems bright. In the grand scheme of things these hard times are just a ripple in the ocean. There is so much better to come. And we, the youth, are the bright future. Give us a chance to prosper.
Read the Winter 2013/'14 edition of 'Changing Ireland' which highlighted the work of Vivien's group. Each person had their say in the coverage. Thanks to Wexford Local Development.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

They’re Serious, We're Serious: Disband the Army - says Allen Meagher

The Government called in July 2013 for submissions on the future role of the ROI's Defence Forces. 
'Changing Ireland' editor Allen Meagher called for their near-abolition after the Celtic Tiger died and the Community & Voluntary Sector began to take the brunt of the worst budget cuts from 2009 onwards. 
Even today, those wishing to join NATO could endorse this proposal. Iceland is a NATO member. Where is Iceland's army? It doesn't have one.

Meagher's original article:

It would have been inconceivable a year ago to propose something as drastic as this, but the harm caused by closing down community resources to the degree proposed by the Government’s Bord Snip report is greater than the loss we’d incur by disbanding the army, navy and air corps:
Colm McCarthy missed an opportunity: Follow Iceland’s example and disband the army, navy and air corps.
Iceland maintains a small coastguard service and is a member of NATO without contributing personell.
The Department of Defence spends €1billion per annum out of the State’s budget total of €45billion. Well, we’ve never been at war with anyone, the border is gone, the UN will get by without our military expertise and the banks can hire armed escorts privately.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Making the Programme work on the ground

By Gearoid Fitzgibbon

The Local and Community Development Programme (LCDP) is the main state-funded community development programme in Ireland, with a budget of €63.4million.

It has a staff of around 3,000  and a wide range of social actions carried out by 51 Local Development Community.

A question of Image

These companies suffer an image/branding deficit. They all have individual names, and if locally recognised, are not readily identified by the general public as part of a single Government-funded programme.

My own organisation is the misfortunately titled 'North Tipperary LEADER Partnership”. Neither “LEADER” nor “partnership” are very intelligible to the general public.