Public Participation Networks - Launch of the 2022 Annual Report
Posted on Friday, 12 January 2024
In 2014, the Local Government Act was amended to introduce Public Participation Networks (PPNs). They were set up to provide a mechanism by which citizens can have a greater say in local government decisions which affect their own communities.
Real participation goes beyond voting (representative democracy) to a situation where people and government work in partnership to co-create infrastructure and services, solve problems and work towards the well-being of all in this generation and the generations to come (deliberative democracy). By definition, such an approach requires a leaving aside of power differentials, and making a specific effort to ensure that the voices and views of people who are not traditionally influential are heard and taken into account.
The PPN recognises the contribution of volunteer-led organisations to local economic, social and environmental capital. It facilitates input by these organisations into local government through a structure that ensures public participation and representation on decision-making committees within local government. These PPNs have been established in every local authority area in Ireland. By the end of 2022, over 18,053 community and voluntary, social inclusion and environmental organisations were members of a PPN. Over 901 PPN representatives were elected to over 418 committees on issues such as strategic policy, local community development, joint policing and so on.
In the foreword by Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities, Minister Joe O'Brien states that " Throughout 2022, PPNs were at the forefront of Ireland’s community response to the challenges for local communities and society brought about by the war in Ukraine, and the ongoing ripple effect of the Covid-19 virus, which affected every aspect of life in Ireland. PPNs worked tirelessly within communities to put invaluable supports in place to meet a wide variety of community needs including embracing our new communities from Ukraine and other countries. Many of the wonderful initiatives undertaken in 2022 are outlined in more detail in this report. PPNs have an important role to play in climate action, and great potential to champion and impact climate action at both local and national level. During 2022, PPNs continued their involvement with, and contribution to, the Department of Environment, Climate and Communication’s Climate Conversations. PPNs were invited to host Climate Conversation Workshops as part of the National Dialogue on Climate Action. The focus of this initiative was to bring local perspective into the national conversation....In what has been another challenging year, PPNs have shown great commitment and agility in delivering on their agenda and bringing the voice of community to the decision making table."
The full text of the PPN Annual Report 2020 is available HERE.