A large crowd braved the snowy weather on Wednesday night last, 28th January, to attend the inaugural meeting of the Public Participation Network (PPN) for the Carrickmacross Castleblayney Municipal District in Carrickmacross Workhouse. In attendance was Mr. Cathal Flynn, the Municipal District Co-Ordinator, who explained the new Council structures to the meeting. Arising from the introduction of the Local Government Reform Act last July, the five Town Councils in Co Monaghan have been amalgamated into the County Council, and three Municipal Districts have been introduced to facilitate a more local response to the county’s needs where appropriate.
Another feature of the Local Government Reform Act 2014 is that the Council has been given a key role in supporting community development, and has been charged with setting up Public Participation Networks to facilitate robust interaction between the Council and the local communities it serves. Ms Carol Lambe, Community Development Officer with Monaghan County Council, facilitated a discussion on the main issues affecting the quality of life for people living in the Carrickmacross Castleblayney Municipal District. The issues pinpointed on the night will feed into a wider consultation process which will inform the work of the new Local Community Development Committee – another body introduced under the Local Government Reform Act 2014.
Dara MacGabhann from Monaghan Community Forum took those present through the changing structures in the community sector; the Community Forum will cease to operate at the end of March, and the Monaghan Public Participation Network will take over. The purpose of the PPN will be to ensure that the voice of the community sector is heard when decisions are being made by the Council. Key to the success of the PPN will be the community representatives which are appointed via the PPN onto the various committees of the Council.
A Secretariat is being set up to manage the activities of the PPN. One rep from the Municipal District was sought on the night. Tom Freeman of Magheracloone was appointed to serve as the Carrickmacross Castleblayney MD rep. A full county meeting towards the end of March will provide an opportunity for further reps to be appointed.