Recruiting Community Development Officer
Muintir are currently recruiting a Community Development Officer to work with community groups nationally. This is an exciting opportunity for persons with a keen interest in Community Development. Full details are available here:
Action Plan for Rural Development
Muintir na Tíre, the National Association for Community Development, has greeted the new Government Action Plan for Rural Development with a cautious welcome. The plan has been launched through a 70-page document, with 276 actions listed.
Muintir na Tíre CEO, Niall Garvey said “We have been lobbying for many years on the need for a comprehensive Government policy for Rural Ireland. This has included our Save Rural Ireland campaign in partnership with other national bodies, and our call for a full Government ministry for rural affairs.”
“We therefore welcome the issuing of this comprehensive action plan. It still does not include an overall policy – we envisaged this including a vision of future Rural Ireland – what it would be like to live and work in, what essential services would be required for this, and what baseline commitment would be given on the provision of these services.”
“Neither has the commitment given to “rural proofing” in last year’s Rural Charter been continued. This was to be a mandatory system of assessment of Government policies, to ensure all future Government policies were designed with full and stated consideration of their impact on Rural Ireland. The previous Government also had committed to review all current, relevant, national policy frameworks in the same context, with a view to their amendment if necessary.”
“On the positive side, though, the Action Plan builds on the previous CEDRA (Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas) report. It goes further, recognising that economic development is essential, but that social and cultural development are also vital components for communities.”
Muintir na Tíre President, Paddy Byrne, said “We look forward to working with the Minister and other stakeholders in helping to implement many of these actions, particularly in the pillars of Supporting Sustainable Communities, and Improving Rural Infrastructure and Connectivity. This is what we do – enable communities.”
“Many of the actions are areas we are already involved in such as the Text Alert scheme and Seniors Alert (socially monitored alarms for the elderly), but we already receiving calls from our 1,000+ groups looking for information on many of the other actions.”
“Of course, many of the actions listed are already in place, or have previously been announced, but there are plenty of new actions and having them all together in one reference document is essential – it will now be easy to monitor their implementation or otherwise.”
Niall Garvey added “This Action Plan must be a living document. There is a commitment to a six-monthly review process and this must happen – with significant, measurable, outputs in each period. We have had worthwhile reports before, particularly the CEDRA report, but the pace of implementation was very slow. Our member organisations are generally progressive, and will support any action in a positive way but they are giving us a very clear message – it is now time for action. We look forward to it.”
23 January 2017
Garda Action – What To Do?
Muintir na Tíre, the National Association for Community Development, has welcomed the decision of the GRA to provide skeletal policing tomorrow but says it will do little to change the concerns of rural communities.
Muintir CEO, Niall Garvey, said “Muintir na Tíre has operated Community Alert in partnership with An Garda Síochána for over 30 years. It has been to the forefront in preventing crime in rural areas. In the last three years, the Text Alert programme has been rolled out to over 1,000 groups and has been very effective in preventing and solving crime”.
“This deterrent will not operate effectively on Friday in the absence of adequate Garda support. The units which it is proposed will operate are vital to the security of the State and we welcome that. However, the absence of local Gardaí to respond is a serious concern to our members. They are particularly worried about potential burglary and other attacks on their property. The Emergency Response Unit or Regional Support Units will not be able to provide adequate cover for rural and isolated areas.”
He said “We are urging the 1,400 Community Alert Groups we support to remember the original principles of Community Alert and to look after their neighbours. We suggest they be active, be alert, and be careful. Activity discourages crime so we ask people to be out and about and watch for suspicious activity. We ask that people be particularly aware of vulnerable or isolated neighbours and to call on them if possible, particularly when darkness falls. Activity, cars, and lights are all effective deterrents.”
“We also remind people to be cautious and not to put themselves in harm’s way. We are all hopeful the issues can be resolved or progressed even at this late stage, and we know all parties are eager to do so. Hopefully the proposed action can be cancelled, or at least postponed.”
Irish National Flood Forum COnference
Gullane’s Hotel, Ballinasloe, Co Galway – Saturday 15 October 2016
Does your community have issues with flooding or flood insurance? If so you may be interested in the conference being hosted by the Irish National Flood Forum – our partners in Save Rural Ireland. This is a free event and members of the public are welcome.
See the time-table and conference information.
Last Saturday, Muintir na Tíre launched Operation ID to a packed hall in Schull, Co Cork. Operation ID is a crime prevention programme using property marking to reduce theft and facilitate recovery of stolen property. Paddy Byrne, National President of Muintir na Tíre launched the pilot project in conjunction with three local Community Councils – Schull, Ballydehob and Goleen.
He said “Muintir na Tíre has long been associated with community development and is well known for the operation of the Community Alert and Text Alert programmes. It is wonderful to see three of our groups come together to launch another innovative programme which will improve the quality of life on the Mizen peninsula and ultimately all over Ireland.”
Chie Superintendent Tom Hayes outlined the Garda support for all new crime prevention programmes and that the Gardaí looked forward to working with the communities on this one. He added “Time and again these communities identify solutions to their own issues”.
Niall Garvey, CEO of Muintir na Tíre, outlined how the programme would operate in some detail. He said “This programme is different to anything else out there in that it is Community led and this is what will ensure its success”. He explained how communities would deliver the programme through existing structures and that “this will ensure that entire areas have their property marked and will have signage to this effect. This will give notice to would-be criminals that it is not worth operating in that area”.
He added this would be done at nominal cost to the communities and that “the equipment we are using is state of the art engraving equipment widely used by UK Police forces. It provides discrete but professional marking in seconds”.
He continued “We believe this will greatly reduce the numbers of items being stolen, but if items are stolen and then recovered, they can be easily returned to their rightful owners. This is done through a national database recording the owner details. The item will be marked with the owner’s Eircode – possibly the best use yet of the new system – but the database will have further contact details. The database can also be used for subsequent changes of ownership, checking if items are stolen and so on.”
There then followed a demonstration of the marking equipment from the suppliers, showing how all common items – bicycles, garden equipment, sports equipment, computer equipment and so on – could be easily and effectively marked.
In concluding Paddy Byrne, thanked everybody for their involvement in getting to this stage – the local Community Councils, An Garda Síochána, Neighbourhood Watch, and Development Officer James O’Neill. He said Muintir na Tíre continues to enable communities throughout Ireland, including such recent initiatives as Save Rural Ireland. We look forward to Operation ID improving the quality of life for all communities.
Floods, the good and the bad
Muintir na Tíre, the National Association for Community Development, has commended the work carried out by Community groups in the recent flooding crisis. National President, Paddy Byrne, said “much recognition has been given to the work carried out by Emergency Services, and rightly so, as they have often gone beyond the call of duty. However the work carried out by Community Councils, Community Alert Groups and other voluntary community groups should also be recognised.”
He continued “these groups provided manpower, day and night, to protect their neighbours, particularly the elderly and the vulnerable. They stacked sandbags, manned pumps, and delivered emergency supplies. This prevented much more damage to life and property.”
“Muintir na Tíre Community Councils are well known for their community initiatives such as running community centres, community crèches and other facilities and providing much needed services such as Meals on Wheels, youth services, and many others. However it is when the chips are down in a community that they really come to the fore.”
CEO, Niall Garvey also added that Muintir na Tíre has been raising flooding issues for some time now and seeking solutions before the current crisis. He said “early in 2015, Muintir na Tíre launched the Save Rural Ireland initiative, in partnership with several other national bodies.”
“One of the first common issues identified by the bodies was that of flooding and its impact on communities. In particular Save Rural Ireland identified the difficulties with insurance cover as being of primary importance to communities. We highlighted the anomaly that the state has spent over €500 million on flood relief works to date producing very successful engineering solutions, yet people are still being refused flood insurance in areas where the problem has been solved.”
“We made a number of recommendations to Government, including that the Memorandum of Understanding with the insurance industry be amended to guarantee insurance cover for homes and businesses in areas where flood prevention measures have been completed by the OPW.”
“Unfortunately it is now too late for some, but we still hope this will be implemented urgently so that people can continue to live in their homes and businesses can continue to operate. Otherwise communities with any history, or even slight future risk, of flooding, face extinction.”
Save our Rural Shops, By Paddy Byrne, President of Muintir
Recently, renowned chef, food writer and TV personality Darina Allen highlighted the need to Save Our Small Shops. Which essentially is about saving the very fibre of every local economy, on a national scale.
Muintir na Tire, along with a number of national bodies, came together earlier this year to launch their Save Rural Ireland campaign. It’s a campaign that aims to improve the existing standard of life in rural Ireland. But, crucially, it’s a campaign that ultimately spreads to all urban areas also.
The significance and the mere symbol that the small shop represents in this country cannot be overstated. And we are grateful to somebody as well-known and regarded as Darina Allen for highlighting this.
We will campaign, lobby and exercise every means possible to protect and better the life of people in rural Ireland. What happens in rural Ireland economically has a knock-on effect socially and we wish to highlight too that retrospectively this has an impact on urban areas.
The simple example of the small shop that Darina Allen referred to is not just about one stand-alone building employing one or two people. It’s about a long list of local suppliers whose livelihoods can depend on a few or maybe just one shop. It’s also about the social connection, adding vibrancy to an area, and basically securing the viability of every community.
The Local Multiplier Effect is long established and recognised and means that every €1 spent locally circulates approximately five times and so is worth €5 to the community. Of course local shops must recognise consumers are under increasing price pressure and must ensure they have competitive offerings. Where they do, the consumer should remember that there is no point in complaining in a few years that there is nowhere local to buy an emergency pint of milk if they never supported the local shop before.
Population trends of course are a factor in the social and economic changes of the country. The number of people living in rural Ireland now makes up 38% of the total population. Five decades ago this figure was 54%, and percentage is dropping at a rate of 1% every two to three years.
The power of the people is what will decide the future of every village and town. Bringing all those networks of people together through community councils, community alert groups and the many bodies and associations that Muintir na Tire serves as the umbrella body for are among our most powerful tools to mend and improve our state.
And the power of the masses will dictate to an extent any policy change at government level.
FLOOD INSURANCE ‘It works in Europe who not in Ireland’?
CFRAMS has identified 300 communities (AFAs) threatened by flooding. CFRAMS is crucial to the medium and long term reduction/management of flood risk in Ireland.
. OPW has spent €325m since 1995 to date on flood relief and €225m will be spent
over the next 5 years.
. The OPW has mapped 7000km of river courses in Ireland.
. This mapping has a suite of 13 overlay maps for each community at risk which
outline how many homes/businesses could be at risk ,what depth and the extent
flooding can occur over a range of varied flood events.
. The mapping also includes areas that have been effected by coastal flooding.
. The reason for this mapping is three fold
1.To comply with EU directives.
2.To help plan for and alleviate flooding in communities.
3.To highlight areas which should not be built on or developed.
BECAUSE INSURANCE COMPANIES HAVE ACCESS TO THESE MAPS THE FORUM IS VERY CONCERNED THAT THEY WILL ATTEMPT TO LOAD INSURANCE POLICIES OR WORSE REFUSE INSURANCE TO COMMUNITIES WHO FIND THEMSELVES IN THESE AREAS.
On the 16/10/’14 a meeting was held in Dublin Castle where the OPW outlined their work to date. The forum has outlined its long standing belief that the government must intervene and stop insurance companies ‘cherry picking’ when it comes to insurance cover. The forum wishes to put the following argument to government:
. Adverse selection (cherry picking) is illegal in many countries in Europe.
. All households/businesses in France and many other countries in Europe must
legally hold insurance and flood cover is automatically included. This has led to a
very broad insurance base where ALL communities have flood cover.
. The crude methodology used by insurance companies has led to many businesses
and householders losing their insurance and therefore becoming worthless .What
will the future hold for these communities? These property owners are still paying
full rates and property tax which is a wholly inequitable situation and unsustainable
. Without flood insurance these communities will not be able to invest in their
properties or attract inward investment to these areas .Without insurance these
communities will become the slums of tomorrow.
. What will become of elderly people who have spent a life time paying off their
mortgages ? Will they become more dependant on the state? Will they become the
new poor? With their single biggest asset becoming worthless because they can’t
get flood cover and therefore banks will not grant mortgages to perspective new
. What will become of the SME’s and their employees in the cities ,towns and
villages who can’t get flood cover? Loss of jobs and no inward investment ,
even closure and loss of rates.
. The OPW has made communities like Fermoy, Clonmel etc. much safer and has
invested millions of tax payer monies in building magnificent engineering solutions
to prevent flooding in these areas ,yet insurance companies are still refusing flood
cover. This is a wreckless and anti community stance by insurance companies.
. The Minister for Finance has the power to refuse these insurance companies
a licence to trade in this country and we would ask that he uses his powers to put
an end to this intolerable situation where insurance companies won’t comply.
. There are many other clever solutions that have been introduced in areas where
people haven’t been able to get reasonable insurance e.g. Health Insurance for the
elderly through community rating and the national insurance scheme should
someone be hit by an uninsured driver.
WHY SHOULD COMMUNITIES (AFA’S) THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN BE
LEFT ‘HUNG OUT TO DRY’ !
BHP Home Insurance for Muintir na Tíre Members
As part of our work in assisting member Groups, Muintir Na Tíre is delighted to announce that we have arranged with our partners BHP Insurances, a House Insurance Scheme for our members. Click on the following link BHP House Insurance to download details of the offer.
RTE Primetime Programme
Click on the link below to watch the Nationwide Programme on Muintir na Tire’s Community Alert Text Alert programme.
Nationwide – Muintir na Tire’s Community Alert Text Alert programme
Click on the link below to watch Muintir na Tire Community Alert Development Officer Vanessa Clarke contribution to the discussion on Rural Post Offices Closures.
RTE Primetime – Rural Post Offices