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Minister’s decision to establish Public Participation Networks welcomed

Social Justice Ireland welcomes the decision by Minister Phil Hogan TD to establish Public Participation Networks (PPNs) in every local authority area as proposed by the working group.  These PPNs are to form part of the new structures for the engagement of local people and organisations at county and municipal level.

It is critically important for local democracy that effective structures are put in place to engage all people.  The new Public Participation Networks allow for local people and organisations to focus on the well-being of their county and municipal area.  PPNs will provide a basis on which people can engage with the new local authority structure which comes into place after the local elections in May.

The Public Participation Networks will focus attention on the well-being of local communities for this and future generations.  They will also nominate representatives to a range of County Council committees including the new Local Community Development Committees. They will be made up of representatives of the Environmental, Social Inclusion, and Community and Voluntary groups in each local authority area.   

The first four Pilot PPNs are to be established in counties Laois, Tipperary, Galway and South Dublin, with the roll out across the remaining 28 local authorities to follow

The PPNs will be made up of representatives of community and voluntary, social inclusion and environmental groups in each local authority, and will have nominating rights to a range of local authority committees including the new Local Community Development Committees.

Dr Seán Healy of Social Justice Ireland together with Michael Ewing, Coordinator of the Environmental Pillar and a member of the Working Group on Citizen Engagement will be hosting public seminars around the country over the next three months to discuss how this might work in each local community. 

The first seminars are as follows:

26th March 7.30pm Strand Hotel, Limerick

31st March 7.00pm Longford Women’s Link, Longford

8th April 7.30pm Tallaght

14th April 7.30pm Laois

24th April 7.30pm Galway

28th April 7.30pm LIT, Thurles

12th May Cork

Full text of Report of Working Group on Citizen Engagement with Local Government can be downloaded below