You are here

Policy issues concerning Participation


Citizen participation and building real engagement at local level is vital to re-engage people in the democratic process.  Ensuring that people are involved in making the decisions that affect them and their communities is a key element of real democracy. True involvement requires participation that goes beyond voting and representative democracy.


The National Economic and Social Council (NESC) have published a review of Community Call, the programme which delivered co-ordinated support to vulnerable people remaining at home during Covid-19 lockdowns.  Community Call is an experiment in partnership between national and local government, and the community and voluntary sector.  It delivered the state organised and community-based support programme for those aged over 70 and the medically vulnerable during Covid-19. 

How normal was the world before Covid-19? The last decade has been anything but normal – whether viewed at national or European level, or in broader geopolitical terms.  We, as a planet, face a choice between attempting to develop responses cognitively through a new dialogue, political and social, or simply marching on, brainless, based on some notion of the old normal.

Today (19th November 2020), the Department of Rural and Community Development launched the PPN Handbook and the PPN Annual Report 2019Social Justice Ireland was delighted to be involved in the development of both of these documents and warmly welcome their publication.

Tuesday, 15th September 2020 was UN Day of Democracy. Here we take a look at how Public Participation Networks help to deliver deliberative democracy for more capable communities and a sustainable society.

The COVID-19 crisis highlighted, among other things, the importance of community and a community-based response.  Yet this importance is often not reflected in the decision-making processes that affect those communities.  While the draft Programme for Government makes welcome reference to Social Dialogue at national level, there is a role for local level Social Dialogue also.

Community volunteers have rightly been in receipt of high praise for their response to the COVID-19 crisis.  This community spirit is to be commended, however harnessing that engagement for real social change remains a challenge in the context of a highly centralised Government structure. 

What can the next Government do to ensure we have a society which ensures that all people from different cultures are welcomed in a way that is consistent with our history, our obligations as world citizens and with our economic status, and that every person has a genuine voice in shaping the decisions that affect them?  Read Social Justice Ireland's Election Briefing People and Participation for an outline of a number of key challenges and some policy proposals that should be in the next Programme for Government.

On Tuesday, 12th November 2019, President Michael D. Higgins hosted a seminar entitled "Rethinking Economics:  The Role of the State in Fostering a Sustaiable and Inclusive Economy".

In his opening remarks, he cautioned "the prevailing neoliberal model which features markets without regulation, distorted trade and unrestricted globalisation, the priority of the price mechanism and the practice of commodification, speculative investment, and which results in unbridled consumption, yawning inequality and destructive extraction of natural resources is unsustainable from economic, environmental and social standpoints."

Minister Seán Canney TD, Minister for State in the Department of Rural and Community Development, yesterday launched the 2018 Annual Report of the Public Participation Networks (PPNs).  The PPNs are an independent network of community organisations, established in every Local Authority area, which supports meaningful democratic participation in their communities.  Social Justice Ireland were delighted to support the Department in drafting the 2018 Annual Report which provides detail on the huge body of work undertaken by each of the PPNs on behalf of almost 15,000 member organisations.

Pages