Cavan Meeting 4th Oct - Update

Cavan Claiming Our Future – Meeting 4 October 2010. Cavan.

12 people attended the meeting and a few apologies were given. There
was interesting discussion ranging over the following areas.

Fairness and Equality

Need to think about maximum wages as well as minimum wage. We
need a vision which focuses on quality of life rather than servicing the
economy. This needs to incorporate the potential and importance of
family/community life.

This would involve creating local employment opportunities, a strong
sense of community and active volunteering. Need to target young
people with appropriate training.

Democratic Accountability
Elections are key but we need to develop ‘voter responsibility’ and
encourage engagement. This should be part of life skills training.
Should it be mandatory to vote?

Voter education is essential – particularly around the PR system which
can impede potentially good candidates. Responsibilities as well as
rights need to be addressed and debated.

We have a strong EU and central government but local government
is very weak. Should local government have more responsibilities
(social services/education) and power to balance the engagement?
This would enable people to participate more and possibly attract more
experienced and able candidates for local councils. Accountability and
participation of people in our communities is crucial objective.

Need more diverse and representative Politicians at all levels – current
system is not attracting same – e.g. women etc. under represented -
ways to improve this need to be examined

The role of the EU and our ability to implement regulations and
legislation needs to be discussed.

Can we look at the Nordic approach?

Environmental Opportunities
Strong feeling that we need to invest in sustainable technologies –
wind turbine, bio-mass energy, grow it ourselves. This provides many
opportunities for small businesses that would benefit from better
supports. Already in Cavan there are small businesses evolving in this

Would like to see better training of under employed trades people in
this area of work. Cavan is an agricultural based county and we need

to improve our local food production – this would have economic, social
and agricultural benefits.

New initiatives could include better networking around sustainable
technology opportunities, specific training programmes for trades
people, investment in local community initiatives.

We need to support expansion of Cavan Institute services/courses and
promote ideas about back to work community initiatives that are both
about community services and creating sustainable employment in our
local comnmmunities.

Economic Strategies
Ireland’s economic strategy needs to be developed on sustainable
technologies. Because of the country’s geographic location and its
geological make up, investment in sustainable energy will provide the
jobs and new industrial base we need and it dovetails neatly with our
agricultural background.

Specifically we need to create new initiatives in job growth in this area
looking at part time posts and the social economy which would enable
us to forge the community and family commitments as well.

The role of County Enterprise Boards in providing grants & support for
new small businesses needs to be strengthened and also the grant
system across CEBs / LEADERs etc. needs to be streamlined and
application processes simplified for people

We need stronger mentoring role for people and some streamlining of
information and training provision so that training and information is
easier to access.

Can we develop a stronger co-operative movement?

Role and Interaction of Public and Private Sectors.
We would like to make better use of local expertise – be it in the
private, public and community sector. Each sector has developed
specific expertises which would benefit the other sectors if supported.
We need to have more hands on, cross sectoral engagement in the
operation of county wide initiatives. More secondments between the

Public services need to b improved…there could be NGOs set up
which put profits back into the services. This could be achieved through
new approaches involving co-operative bodies.

Policy Making
How is money allocated – need more transparency and discussion as
to how Ireland spends money. There seems to top heavy influence of

the big farmers and the international players (supermakets) – global
capitalism needs to be addressed.

Is there a better way of people engaging in policy making? This might
foster more social and civic responsibility. How can political parties
be more open and responsive to local concerns in terms of policy
development as opposed to individual needs.

How can we improve and support participatory democracy at local
level. Volunteers and local community activists need better support
from local authorities and state sector.

Volunteers are relied on to provide the face of engagement but no
support or resources are provided.

Taxation and Income
Cuts cannot be accepted as the basis for recovery. We need new jobs
initiatives and a focus on developing a sustainable technology industrial
base in Ireland.

We need to reward risk takers but have a balanced equality in our
taxation system (maximum pay?). The self employed and PAYE
operation is not balanced. We need progressive taxation based on the
principle that people on higher incomes contribute accordingly. Wages
need to be addressed in all sectors. The principle of a living wage for
all needs to be considered.

There must be transparency in our taxation and wages system and we
must avoid poverty traps.

General Comments

In this globalised Neo-liberal society we need critical citizens to develop
democracy because to create democracy is to build a knowledge
society for the public good as apposed to a knowledge economy
which serves privet interests.
Education, in my view is the vehicle needed in this bleak landscape
and it can provides hope, meaning and purpose for participants in this
contemporary environment as up-skilling and back to work schemes.
Knowledge Society needs knowledgeable citizens – remembering that
the present economic environment will pass.

When it comes to 30th October event can Cavan COF consider/
think that there is an alternative to the current concensus
(amongst economists & all main parties) that spending cuts (3%
deficit reduction target by 2014) is the only answer. Alternatives have
to include some spending cuts and increasing some taxes but also
stimulus funding measures that create jobs and grow the economy and
thus avoid deflation and a sustained economic and social depression.

Community enterprise fights back. Vision and hope and optimism are

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