Donegal Meeting Wed 24th November

You are invited to attend an open event on

Wednesday 24th November 2010 at 7.30pm

in the Station House Hotel, Pearse Road, Letterkenny

Following a successful national ‘Claiming Our Future’ event in the RDS Dublin on 30th October 2010, a number of local groups involved in the East Donegal Forum along with Donegal Community Workers Co-operative have collaborated to organise a local event to bring civil society organisations and interested individuals from other sectors together to discuss issues of concern in Donegal.

Claiming Our Future describes itself as “a nationwide progressive civil society movement for an equal, sustainable and thriving Ireland,” which is “made up of individuals and organisations that believe the economic and social crisis can be a turning point for reshaping Ireland’s economic recovery and reasserting progressive social values.”

All Welcome : Refreshments with be served.

Enquires to: Annette Patton (Claiming Our Future – Donegal Convenor) [email protected] or Kathleen Bonner, East Donegal Forum [email protected]

The flyer for this event can be downloaded here

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Leitrim Meeting 23rd November

Leitrim Claiming our future Meeting:

Venue: Bee Park centre, Manorhamilton, Leitrim.

When: Tuesday, 23rd of November 2010, 8.30pm.

Meet to continue the process of Claiming Our Future

There will be a meeting held on Tuesday the 23rd of Nov at 8.30 in the Bee Park Manorhamilton. This meeting will follow on from the success of the Claiming Our Future meeting held in the RDS, Dublin and the inaugural Leitrim meeting held last month. We wish to review situation and plan a strategy of action.

It would be very much appreciated if you could spread the word far and wide and encourage people to come.

Our Ireland is at a critical point in its history.

You can help turn the crisis around and create a positive future for us all

Claiming our Future is a unique movement. It offers a chance for individual people, including members of trade unions, community organisations, environmental groups and other civil society organisations to not just talk about a better way – but to take new inspiring steps. It aims to foster a unity across civil society and to power a progressive movement to reshape Ireland’s recovery and claim our social values.

Claiming our Future will launch and mould that movement for an equal, sustainable and thriving Ireland. Already, individuals, communities and progressive groups from every corner of Ireland have begun to get involved.

It’s time to turn the despair and frustration into positive and decisive action for real change.

For further information please ring Pat on

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Galway update 28th Oct

On October 28th over 60 people gathered in the Galway City Museum on a wet and windy night under the banner of Claiming our Future to explore the naked truth about economics. ”Economics the naked truth: exploring & dispelling the myths” was addressed by Terrence McDonagh (Economist NUI Galway) who told us that economics is ideologically driven and the current dominant ideology has resulted (and continues to result ) in the policies that we have seen fail us economically, socially and environmentally. Michael Taft (Economist Unite Trade Union) outlined the way that current Government policy is not working and will result in deflation. Crucially Michael provided tangible alternatives to this direction. Building on this, Anne Costello (Community Platform) outlined a concrete example of alternatives to the current emphasis on cuts in her presentation of the 4Steps2Recovery Progressive Tax Campaign. One of the key messages was that there is no consensus that the current policy direction is inevitable amongst economists (despite what the media would have us believe) and there are alternatives.

In her introduction Rachel Doyle (National Women’s Council) outlined the Claiming our Future movement and spoke about the need to motivate people locally. The subsequent very dynamic discussion was chaired by Ann Irwin (Community Workers’ Co-operative). There were suggestions for moving forward in Galway and an overwhelming consensus that Galway will play its part in the development of a very necessary social movement.

Our next steps will include a meeting to feedback from the Claiming our Future event in the RDS and a bit of planning for the other suggestions that included organising a mini Claiming our Future event in Galway and organising meetings with political candidates in the ever looming election to outline the values and policies agreed.

Thanks to the speakers who were very generous with their time & thanks to the  great and diverse crowd. Keep an eye on the Facebook page (!/pages/Claiming-Our-Future-Galway/153905024642878 ) for details of further events.

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Leitrim Update 22 Oct

Update on Leitrim meeting in the Bee Park on 22/10/10

22 people attended an enthusiastic meeting in Leitrim on the 22nd of October. The organisers were delighted at the turnout as it was a particularly bad night. People still made an effort to come out which was greatly appreciated. These are briefly the main themes that were identified at the meet

1. Accountability/Responsibility in public office.

  • Ethical, Transparent, Accountable not corrupt or sectional interest
  • Can one have democracy with a party whip system?
  • Change legislation to make those responsible for economic mess accountable in court
  • Equity within society
  • Taking responsibility
  • Accountability
  • Tough measures for white-collar crime
  • Issue taken with lack of thoughtfulness and consideration of public servants
  • In the future we must be able to TRUST our politician’s
  • Accountability in governance and public service
  • Political structures > corruption

2. Change in governance structures required to reflect

  • Decisions get made at lowest level possible
  • Call for overhaul of all public bodies, change of structure starting locally.
  • Citizens information/advice offices to replace politicians constituency offices
  • Decrease the number of politician’s
  • Change political system to allow more women excel within it
  • Issue taken with attitudes to small local businesses too much regulation.
  • Property tax on unused land/property
  • Local non-governmental democracy
  • Streamlined, effective, value driven public services
  • Redefined governance structures and funding
  • Local
    County     ) Minimize central government

3. Items that reflect the need for Social Inclusion and fairness.

  • Driven by a specific set of values, endorsed by citizens
  • An economy designed to benefit people not institutions
  • Equity within society
  • Re-balance of property; rent must be allowed to change
  • Issue taken with local media being non representative of local opinion and airing too many adds
  • For the media to be more independent
  • People and environment centred
  • “Green” protected environment and good public access
  • Socially inclusive society, priority, cross cutting

4. Sustainable business model

  • Sustainable
  • Need for local solutions for a sustainable local economy
  • Farmers reorganizing in co-operative or similar self help
  • Sustainable agriculture

5. The notion of more active citizenship.

  • Encourage public participation, including criticism of decisions
  • Transition town developments example
  • Widen into active citizenship
  • Growing ourselves out self reliance/ frugality
  • Call for a Day of Action in Sligo/Leitrim, this to happen before the budget
  • Find ways of extending this conversation more widely

6. A few other ideas were also discussed.

  • Strive towards best health service in Europe
  • Strive towards best education system
  • Burn the bond holders
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Fingal Centre Dublin 26th Oct meeting update

Claiming Our Future
Discussion – 26th October 2010 – The Fingal Centre

General feedback from discussion:

  • Consensus on the absolute need for “Claiming Our Future” movement – there is currently an absence of anything to believe in or get behind collectively.  No strong leader.  Nothing to motivate people.
  • Value on children through education, childcare etc…
  • It was felt that an additional piece was needed specifically relating to the childcare issue in order to increase participation in the labour market.
  • Country being run more like a business – full accountability, performance related salaries etc…
  • So much expertise already within various departments being lost with each new Minister putting their own “stamp” on how things are done.  Need to make full us of all available resources.
  • Less bureaucracy – more frontline services.
  • Promote social economy – change the way it’s perceived.
  • Important to get people to take this from an aspirational stage to a reality.
  • Agreement on the “ensure minimum income” but a lot of disagreement on “ensure maximum income” – felt it would lead to entrepreneurs’ taking ideas elsewhere / possibly be demotivating.
  • A lot of discussion on having an open and transparent government and what that would mean for people.
  • A lot of “reforms” suggested from how people are elected to government, party politics, local government and how decisions are made, Ministers and their expertise or lack of expertise in certain departments.
  • The part the media have to play – accountability / publicity for Claiming Our Future / currently very negative.
  • Important to get our basic values right and have something strong for the country to not only get behind but to believe in.
  • Great that the event on Saturday is sold out, everyone looking forward to it and to showing people that there are many choices that can be made.
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Sligo 18th October meeting update

“What kind of Ireland do we want today and in the future”

Held in Sligo Northside Community Centre on the 18th October 2010 at 8pm.

Convened by Sligo County Community Forum

SWOT Analysis

The group agreed to carry out a SWOT analysis of ‘Ireland’ being led by the theme:  What kind of Ireland do we want now and in the future, in terms of

Method for the SWOT:  Group members moved around the room dealing with the different issues, moving from strengths and weaknesses to opportunities and threats.  This allowed everyone to have an equal say and to exchange views with other group members.  All members had a chance to contribute to each category.

Following this process the key issues were announced to the group and there was a general consensus that these were priorities for those at the meeting:

Key strengths prioritised by the Group:

  • Natural Resources  in Ireland
  • People and the high level of volunteerism in Ireland, good community spirit and our young educated population
  • People are adaptable and creative
  • Strong business dynamic in the country

Key Weaknesses Prioritised by the group:

  • System is not planned – election politics/vote led
  • System is not democratic in structure – led by the demands of the market not people
  • There is a lack of faith in the political system and our politicians
  • There is no wealth tax –higher taxes on lower earners
  • Lack of recognition of others systems of governance
  • The system confines ideas
  • Too much on an economy focus, rather than an society focus

Key Threats recognised by the group:

  • There is a threat to democracy, there is no accountability to the people.  This is from the top down and the bottom up, as the people do not demand accountability
  • The media is biased, they go for consensus and there is a lack of debate (particularly in relation to Public Service Broadcasting).  This means that the populace is uninformed and the media is representing the interests of government.
  • Class based education opportunities exists, there is a threat that this will get worse.
  • Wealthy lobby groups and the elite, have too much power in influencing government
  • High emigration, losing our brightest and best, breaking up families.

Key Opportunities recognised by the group:

  • An opportunity is that the people can make their voice heard – the people are the biggest threat to change the system (positively)
  • The society is serviced by the economy and not the other way round
  • There needs to be greater accountability to the people, not the bond markets
  • New spaces need to be created for deeper democracy – at a local, regional and national level
  • ‘Needs’ based models need to be utilised more
  • Greater opportunities for indigenous business
  • There is a public mentality that the political class being wealthy is acceptable – people should not come out of politics richer than when they went in.

What Actions can be taken to make change for the better:

Overall there was a consensus in the group that greater accountability to the people is crucial. This means changing systems from the top down, but also means that people need to demand more from their political leaders so there are consequences for not responding to people’s needs.  The key outcomes from the discussion are listed below:

Spaces for deeper democracy:

  • There needs to be a layering of the democratic structure at a village, town and county level
  • Greater distribution of decision making through citizens
  • Change can only be achieved through wider citizen participation, it has to be wider than ‘party politics’

Citizens taking a greater role in demanding accountability

  • People need to take on power for themselves – people have to demand consequences for politicians not meeting people’s needs
  • Small community campaigns around particular issues
  • Ensure that current mechanisms for civic participation are utilised.
  • Demand real ‘consultation’ not ones where the decision has already been made.
  • People need to become more politically aware and educated at a local level, through education system and bringing decision making closer to the people

Greater accountability

  • Need to look at mechanisms to be more accountable
  • Break the power of the lobbyists by making it compulsory for politicians to declare who has approached them on a weekly basis – this information could be updated on websites.  It would lead to much greater transparency


  • There is little ‘real’ opposition in the Dail, capitalism is at the centre of governance.
  • Politics and politicians need to have a vision for greater equality for all citizens, in the areas of health and education.  The current dominant ideology does not aim for this.
  • Ireland is still clinging onto ‘civil war politics’.  The two main parties in the Dail hold a very similar position politically.  Nees to be a re-alignment of politics and recognistion of left and right wing ideologies in the Dail

Appendix: Full list of Strengths, Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats facing Irish state (using themes below)  identified by the group


  • People, our young people
  • Great natural resources
  • Education system – however questions over equal access and outcomes
  • Dedicated voluntary sector and good community spirit
  • A strong business dynamic
  • Size, adaptability and creativity
  • A strong and diverse arts community
  • An organised workforce
  • Reputable image?
  • Commitment of sort to an equality agenda –although this is questionable
  • Relative wealth compared to other countries
  • A stable political system – also named as a weakness
  • Level of political awareness
  • Minimum wage
  • Union membership


  • We need new spaces for much deeper and more meaningful democracy – this means at a grass roots level, locally, regionally and nationally and from the top down.  Establishment of local committees to feed ideas up to government.
  • What does the crisis say about the nature of our society – environmentally and socially capitalism is not sustainable.
  • Society should be serviced by the economy and not vice versa, it raises the question who has power
  • Need for genuine teaching of democratic structure in school
  • Accountability – courts of law and training for all public servants in constitution and that they serve the public and expert advice democratically based for all policy making.
  • The people for whom policies are meant to serve, have a say in the making of policy and in monitoring policy.
  • Opportunties for greater diversity of people in society.
  • A totally new system is needed, that is not based on greed – based on achieving equality
  • Opportunities to use creativity in devising a new society
  • Cooperation not competition


  • Exclusion and further exclusion
  • Class division
  • Unfair society
  • Democracy is under threat, there is a lack of accountability
  • Disempowerment of the people
  • Biased media – ‘conditioning’; their use of ‘government’ language – austerity/cuts
  • Loss of sense of community
  • Deflationary  cycle and poverty
  • Poverty of real choice
  • Political stagnation is leading to societal stagnation
  • Education opportunities work according to a class based education system
  • Loss of civic and societal supports
  • Loss of culture, arts and voluntary sector
  • Loss of young talent
  • Global/environmental damage
  • Diminishing equality.
  • Loss of confidence, leadership and access to information
  • Lack of a shared vision and a shared purpose
  • Market driven world – globalism – IMF/EU support or a threat?
  • Emigration – loss of the educated workforce
  • Focus on deficits not assets
  • Tendancy to see immigrants as a threat not as an opportunity
  • Power of wealth in Ireland is paramount
  • Public services cutbacks are aimed at front line services and not at management levels.


  • Tax:
  • Unequal tax system – poor are screwed by the rich, including foreign multinationals
  • Mentality of tax avoidance and social responsibility
  • Undemocratic tax system – the rich decide
  • Tax are not designated for purposes but are decided adhoc
  • Democratic Reform:
  • System allows governments to buy elections by wasting revenue
  • Parties should have a programme, instead of voting for individuals
  • No equity – fear of losing jobs leads to apathy and powerlessness
  • People don’t realise there are other systems possible
  • General election is needed
  • No accountability in all fields – government and public service – this means a lack of democracy
  • Legislation is unequal and too late, no forward long term planning
  • Economy –
  • Unemployed are regarded as lazy
  • Gap between rich and poor is seen as acceptable and is too large
  • No union for unemployed people
  • Too much focus on ‘economy’ rather than society
  • Environment:
  • Lack of choice (fuels) and we get penalized for the choices we have
  • Lack of control over natural resources for peoples benefit – gas giveaway
  • No public transport – people who can’t drive not accommodated outside cities
  • Social Development
  • Lost the art of public debate
  • Local government antiquated and not funded
  • Increasing sense of being marginalised within communities

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The Base Youth Centre meeting update

Claiming Our Future

The Base Youth Centre

Wednesday 6th oct 2010

Part One

Welcome and introduction: Brendan Cummins and Michael O Flanagan

Youth forum heard of Claiming Our Future and asked how they could get involved. They were invited to a meeting in ICTU building - from there they decided to host a local event to support the campaign.

Brendan Cummins

In the first section of the event we labeled the participants foreheads with numbers 1,2,3,4 explaining that each number represented a class from on the poverty line to the super rich, They were asked to treat each other the way society treats that class and  arrange themselves into groups of  the same class, using the way  they thought people were treated as a guide to finding their group.

There were photos scattered around the floor and five flipchart pages stuck up on the walls, with the headings Health, Equality, Environment, Economy & Employment and Education. The participants were given yellow stickies and asked to walk around looking at the pictures. If they saw a change that could be made in today’s society they were to write it down on the yellow sticky and post it on the flip chart page they felt it fit with. The participants were spilt up into five groups at five tables.

Siobhan O Donaghue

Two or three of the yellow stickies were picked and an open discussion was held about what was written on the post it.  Some of the discussions were based around young lone parents being in a poverty trap, if they went back into the education system they would not be entitled to the supplementary welfare allowance and be unable to pay their rent and become unable to sustain their lives. They felt trapped, with the system keeping them there with no option to improve there skills or be in a position to get off the social welfare payment and support themselves.

Part two

In part two

Amel Yacef and Brendan Cummins

The Participants in the same groups were each given one of  the flip chart pages and asked to pick one of the changes on the page that were identified from the photos.

They followed a template to identify two options to make this change possible,  way up the pros and cons decide on one action and identify the steps they would need to take to make it happen.

Feed Back

Group 1

Accesing and maintaining education for young people in low income backrounds/families.

Option 1

Elect a Government who will enshrine a right to education for everybody in the constitution        Free

Cons: Pros

  • Tax payers will pay for it
  • Not enough resources in college/schools (all Schools)
  • Child care will be a right-provided for all

  • Everybody gets education we desire
  • Children see education as a right not a privilege
  • Raises positivity and good health
  • All benefit


Option 2


Chosen Option:

The system for accessing education , Training and Employment

Option 1

  • Entry requirements to be broader than points -

o   Interest, Experience

o   Apptitude

Cons Pros

  • Struggle academically
  • Higher cost to state
  • Higher demand, Competition
  • Reserved by privileged

  • Every level/person gets a choice
  • Happier Workers
  • Less on the welfare
  • More skills
  • More activity possible in economy

Option 2

  • Individual needs to be identified and asscessed
  • Child care
  • Learning support
  • Income
Cons Pros
  • More money for state
  • More people and time invested
  • Resistance for cruel educators
  • Happier work force
  • Less drop outs
  • Reduced poverty
  • Break the cycle

Group 2

Chosen Option:

Individual needs to be identified. Child Care , Learning support ,Income

Step By Step:

  • Build more crèches- reform-refocus
  • United- one stop shop
  • Staff have to do an assessment
  • Employer brought on board

What if it doesn’t work

Can’t be any worse

Group 3  Health


More opportunity in education

Cons Pros
  • Not enough college points (cao)
  • Funding
  • More people trained
  • People having a purpose
  • Acheivement
  • Inspiration

Option 2


Cons Pros
  • Lack of high standards
  • Lack of child care
  • Lost rights
  • Low wage
  • Losing benefits
  • Earning of money
  • Opportunity of retraining

Chosen Option:


Step by step:

  • Fighting for community employment schemes
  • Create more training
  • Redundancy Package
  • Prep for work
  • CV prep

What if it doesn’t work :

  • Keep trying don’t stop till you get enough
  • Change

Group 5 Equality

Prejudice / Discrimination

Option 1

Promote from young age in:

  • Education
  • Environment
  • Community


  • Some wont agree
  • Children wont listen
  • Learn from young age
  • Better for the Future
  • Less Bullying
  • Less suicide

Option 2

National Campaign against Using:

  • Ad’s
  • Protests



  • Cost
  • People wont pay attention
  • Riot
  • Clash of beliefs
  • Open eyes
  • Majority  awareness
  • Change peoples perceptions

Chosen Option

Promote from a young age in environment, ie schools/home

Step by Step:

  1. encourage parents to take part
  2. make it part of curriculum
  3. awareness day in schools

What if it dosnt work:

Try again change some people perceptions

Flip Chart Comments


  • Young parents should not be stereotyped
  • The government must be on another planet, if they can’t see what there doing wrong if they treated everyone the same there would be no racism
  • Equality of outcomes for women and ethnic minorities
  • Irish have lost equality since EEC
  • Racism
  • Gay marriage should be legal
  • There up there with the rich
  • Predudice and racism
  • Not enough women in politics
  • Black people being forced away and treated differently
  • Difficulty
  • Encouragement for old people to participate in there communities
  • Loneliness, poverty,  loss of family
  • They look happy, are they accepted in society as couple
  • Not all the weapons are decommissioned
  • There is no equality
  • You have to know someone important to get any were
  • Unnoticed neglect
  • Violence
  • Gays are human too
  • Children still live in poverty
  • Some people seem not to care
  • Children shouldn’t be taught to act like this, it’s a bad influence
  • Equal opportunities for men to parent their children flexible work policies
  • What about the asylum seekers?? (not treated as equal at all)
  • Poverty trap
  • Everybody has the right to respect
  • Asylum seeker
  • Isolated
  • Why are we just listening to men debate the issues in the media
  • Need new voices in our poloitcal parties or new political parties
  • He looks like the devil.

Economy and employment

  • There are no jobs for young men
  • Apprentices let go
  • Less segregated employments “womens work”
  • Unemployed
  • Access to the board room for women
  • Immigrants being deported and they don’t like it aka gamid
  • Fear
  • Need to get the present government OUT
  • Inequality in peoples work roles
  • Family carers need more support
  • If they spent less time laughing and drinking we wouldn’t be in this mess
  • Politicans always smile at voters
  • Tax  the wealthy
  • Economy
  • Job
  • Equal pay for women
  • Politicans are liars
  • The media are powerfull are they responsible
  • Desperate ways to get money


  • Isolation
  • Poor accomadtion
  • Death
  • People trapped in smoke and nothing being done about it
  • Change
  • Love
  • Cluture
  • Better grants for low income families for insulation
  • No encentive to go green
  • Under age people with vandalism drinking etc


  • To leaglise treatments for children stem cell research
  • Smoking
  • Why are these on waiting lists
  • Hurley best game in the world
  • Too many homeless people
  • Bulling
  • Poverty and neglect
  • Animals being slattard in public
  • Solidarity
  • Believe
  • Homelessness
  • Cost of health care to high
  • Community care funded by the state to remaini in there own home
  • No room to put suffering children
  • To much monet spent on poitless things ie the spire
  • Inequalities
  • To may cut backs in health care
  • Health system in this country is shit
  • Lack of care for people who need it
  • Smoking harms you
  • Down ands out
  • The mother looks tired looking after disabled boy
  • Health system is very bad
  • Road deaths
  • Its disgracefull
  • Health is still poor for travellers, Why can we not address this? Are we failing?
  • HSE
  • This is you
  • So much money to go to a doctor


  • No jobs for graduates
  • Child abuse
  • Fees
  • Focus on the needs of young men in the education system
  • Focus on the needs of young men in the education system
  • It’s a nightmare for some people to get a place
  • Stress stress stress
  • Young parents can’t complete education
  • Needs new means of being tested
  • Unfair allocation of places
  • Part time fess are unfair as women with families cant usually study fulltime
  • Is this something to look up to “motion cyclist”
  • Having to repeat school
  • People learn differently
  • Not enough funding for young people being educated
  • Too much pressure on exams
  • Young parents should have childcare provided so they finish there education
    Are all schools the same
  • Should be a better system
  • The pressure of exams is too much
  • Not enough encouragement around the education system

Siobhan O Donaghue

Thanks for your participation

Group asked that if they see anything in their community they feel is related to the future,  to take a photo with their mobile phone and upload it to facebook and tag claiming our future

40+ people in attendance ranging from 14 right up to 60+

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Cavan 4th Oct Meeting 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 area.

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 sectors.

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 essential.

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Boyle Meeting Update

Boyle Claiming Our Future Meeting 12th Oct 2010.

Present: Barry Lowe, Sean Conlan; Colette Parker, Margaret Curley, Alan Moran, Des Curley, Susanne Brindley, Marion Parker, Christy Brady, Michael Ewing

Opening remarks

The meeting began with a general discussion about what had brought people to the meeting.  The following points, presented here in no particular order, were raised.

  • Leadership alternative needed
  • Breaking point
  • Bloodless revolution
  • All the conversation in the media is aboutthe economy, where is the discussion about the kind of society we want to live in
  • Where are we as a people
  • Driven by markets and totally unsustainable
  • Market forces are pushing our children into straight jackets of consumption at earlier and earlier ages
  • What picture are we giving our children
  • Our role models areall wrong e.g. celebrities and entrepreneurs
  • Sick celebrity culture disempowers people
  • Everyone has to be a “winner” and be admired if they are ruthless
  • Exam system creates failures
  • Lifestyles based on consumption to benefit the very few
  • The ordinary person is a milch cow being used
  • The current solution is to promote the consumption of more stuff. i.e. “Growth is the solution”, when in fact it is a major part of the problem, and is causing the destruction of our life support systems
  • Elderly and children are being targeted
  • All politicians and civil servants are lost/at sea
  • Sense of Community is missing
  • Parents and children rather than being part of a school community are now “clients”
  • We are being brain-washed int o beleiving there is only one way forward
  • There is a move to divide society worker against unemployed etc
  • We are a small country in a big world, and need to realise this
  • Good legislation is not enforced
  • We accept all sorts of nonesence in politics and tribunals
  • Clientalist political system is sold as the only way for those struggling to get by
  • There is no strong sense of justice.  The big guys walk free whilst the theft of a bottle of wine = 4 months in prison
  • If you have money you can work the system and we accept this.  Golden hand shakes are given for failing
  • Media reflection of our society is distorted
  • Spritual gap in society.  The end of worshipping te Celtic Tiger leaves a hole
  • Standards are only there if you get caught
  • What is happening is particularly frightening for the younger members of society who have only ever read about slumps/depressions
  • The speed of technology is a serious stress factor in society
  • Work is defined in too narrow a way.  In past times commodities were made in amany different ways from a wide range of materials


This was followed by a discussion about the values that should underly all policy making by government.   It was noted that there were many good values held by people that were not represented in the policies or the action of government at all levels.

The following points were raised, and are presented here in no particular priority order.

  • in a healthy society good self-esteem is essential for everyone
  • Respect for every human being
  • What is really of value
  • Society should be organised for the benefit of all the people, not the elite few
  • The values that are put on work are largely wrong . Work should provide self-fulfillment
  • Greater income equality, and equality in treatment by the state. More equal societies are more successful and better places to live
  • Justice for all
  • Equality
  • Sustainability


Following from the above the following actions were proposed, again presented in no particular order:

  • Plan for food security/self-sufficiency as a nation
  • Base all policies on the need to create a more equal society (equality impact assessment of policies and plans as part of sustainability impact assessment)
  • Develop broad society values tha will underly all policy making
  • To get a wider buy inof society you need a wider engagement/involvement in thedecision-making
  • Self-belief must be an integral part of our education system
  • There is a need to develop creative systems for giving people value in their lives
  • All action is local, and this thinking should pervade our plans to create a better more stable Ireland
  • These  questions should be asked as a precursor to ploicy making.

o   What is necessary to enable people to live a fulfilled life locally

o   We should look at what people really need to live and base our income system on that.

  • Local currency systems should beencouraged as a way of giving people the opportunity of  sharing skills and services with others that have no Euro
  • Volunteering whilst unemployed should be encouraged rather than banned as at present
  • All full-time posts should be offered on a job-share basis >give better work life balance too
  • There is much meaningful work to be done in every community
  • Where property owners are receiving rent subsidised by government tax releifs should be suspended
  • Crazy public private partnerships should be closely examined.  They lean far to far towards the private benefit eg toll roads and incinerators
  • Our housing stock needs to be analysed and the stock matched with the needs of a long public housing waiting list
  • Freedom of information legislation nees to be seriously strengthened
  • Break the link between work and consumption
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Dublin meeting Tue 26th The Fingal Centre

Where The Fingal Centre

When Tues 26th Oct  1pm -2pm


  • Welcome and introductions Mary Ryan, The Fingal Centre
  • Artwork display entitled “Power” Aaron Lowry, Artist

Aaron’s story and why he is involved.

  • Group discussion on Claiming  Our Future Event
  • Tea/Coffee

Mary Ryan
The Fingal Centre
5 Cardiffsbridge Road
Dublin 11

Fax: 01 8845226

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