For the first time in the history of the Irish State, the inclusion of the community & voluntary sector in Council decision-making structures has been provided for by law, via the Local Government Reform Act 2014.
The Act charges the local authority with:
– adopting a Framework for Public Participation, which lays out how the Council will include the public and the community & voluntary sector in its decision-making
– setting up and maintaining a Public Participation Network, enabling all community and voluntary groups to participate in a structured, representative way
– sourcing community & voluntary representatives for the various Council decision-making committees from the membership of the PPN
– providing resources to the PPN so that they can keep all groups in touch with their representatives and ensure meaningful participation.
How this is to be done is laid out in Dept Guidelines for PPNs provided by the Dept of the Environment, Community & Local Government. However, in Co Monaghan, we have added a few ‘tweaks’ to adapt the Guidelines to take advantage of the strong community structures which already exist in the county.