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Taking a seat at policy-making level

Pile of newspapers

Cork County Council Welcomes Local Representatives to Policy Committees

Demonstrating that democracy is rooted at local level, Cork County Council welcomes Local Representatives to Policy Committees from community groups who will participate in decision-making at the council’s highest strategic policy level.

The local representatives were nominated and elected by member groups of the Cork County Public Participation Network (PPN), a network of over 400 non-profit, community and voluntary groups which range from community councils to tidy towns groups, sports clubs, environmental conservation groups and groups representing minorities.

The PPN’s mission is to empower community groups and representatives to take their seats at policy-making tables where decisions are made that impact people and communities all across Cork County.

In welcoming the local representatives, Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Gillian Coughlan highlighted the importance of engagement with local government, “I have seen time and time again how listening to, and collaborating with, volunteers and community leaders results in better decisions with lasting positive impacts for communities.  This is a testament to what can be accomplished when Local Authorities work side by side with the people we serve.”

Mair Kelly (22) from Comhairle na nÓg, who is passionate about youth work, empowerment and is a strong advocate for youth participation. The Mizen Head local has been selected to join local councillors, council staff and other sectoral representatives on the council’s Social Inclusion, Community and Rural Development Strategic Policy Committee.

“I’m excited and proud to now be the voice for local democracy and to represent the needs of communities at grassroots as key policies are being drafted and decisions being made,” she stated.

Meanwhile, Margarita O’Driscoll, a Traveller Community Health Worker with Travellers of North Cork will take a seat on the council’s Housing Committee.

“It’s hugely important that the views of people at the grassroots are heard and represented,” she stated.

“This is a tangible example of active participation and democracy at work. I look forward to getting involved and to making a contribution on behalf of marginalised groups who seek equal access and support in housing provision.”

Conor O’Brien from Glounthaune Community Association is also among those who will take up a seat on Cork County Council’s Environment, Climate Action and Biodiversity Strategic Policy Committee.

“I look forward to representing my local group and community and to being able to keep abreast of plans and decisions that may affect my local area, while contributing to advancing environmental and climate change policies” he stated.

Tim Lucey, Chief Executive of Cork County Council added, “Working alongside Cork County Council, the Cork County PPN plays a key role in supporting developments locally. As a Council, we recognise the enormous value and contribution community representatives bring to our committees and we look forward to working with our new committee members.”

Cork County PPN was hugely encouraged by the level of submissions to its recent call-out for nominations for the committees.

“It was very positive to see such engagement and interest from local community groups which proved just how important it is to ensure the local voice is heard and to be involved in key decisions that impact communities across the county. We’re really pleased to have not only a good geographical but a demographic spread ensuring that all areas and age groups are represented also.”

Sandy McGroarty, PPN Coordinator