Monday, November 29, 2010

PHOTO-REPORT from ICTU's mass rally in Dublin, Nov 27

We've posted
photos from the mass rally outside the GPO on Saturday on our Facebook page.
For the record, our estimate of the numbers who took part are: 70,000 people on O'Connell Street and approx 100,000 who took part at one point or another in the march.
The speeches included powerful and well-received contributions from Siobhan O'Donoghue, Fintan O'Toole and Christy Moore among others.
Christy sang a song for Joe McNamara, about the only person who faces charges due to the banking crisis - he was the man who parked up his cement mixer outside the Dail when it returned after the summer recess.

Top image: Fintan O'Toole addresses the rally outside the GPO.
Lower image: Minimum wage cut protesters call for the return of the Irish pound.
Photos copyleft 'Changing Ireland': - meaning you can use the photos but you must name the source.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Minister Carey's comments on the budget and 10% cut to Dept funding

The overall reduction in the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs budget for 2011 will be of the order of 10%.

For more information on the budget cuts, click here for Minister Pat Carey's statement on the four-year plan.

This is what he had to say about funding under the following sub-head:

Developing Communities

"There will continue to be an emphasis on the prioritisation of front-line services and supports to customers and beneficiaries at the expense of administration, overheads and ancillary costs."

"My Department will shortly commence a structured dialogue with the Community & Voluntary Sector with the aim of ensuring that the impact of any budgetary adjustments to the services provided by the Sector are minimised, as far as possible. To this end, my Department will be working with the sector to achieve greater consolidation, coordination and efficiencies among service providers."

For more download the document via the link (above in the text).


A Dail debate on the "Status of Community Development Projects' (click here for the report) took place on November 3rd, in the run-up to the budget.

In the debate, Minister Pat Carey responded to questions from Fine Gael TD Paul Connaughton, FG's Frank Feighan and Labour's Jack Wall and the Minister indicated that staff in CDPs should not fear losing their jobs, that the focus was on frontline services. He said the Local and Community Development Programme would "enhance" community development activity across the State and argued that it would not lead to a reduction in such activity.

For more information on 'Where CDPs now stand' read our blog posting from last week.

The Local & Community Development Programme (LCDP)

The Local & Community Development Programme (LCDP) is managed by POBAL on behalf of the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs. It forms part of the National Development Plan 2007 -2013.

The Programme is an amalgamation of two former programmes, Local Development Social Inclusion Programme and the Community Development Programme.

AIM: The LCDP aims to tackle poverty and social exclusion through partnership between Government and people in the most disadvantaged communities.

PROGRAMME GOALS: There are four key goals under LCDP.

  • GOAL 1: Promote awareness, knowledge and uptake of a wide range of statutory, voluntary and community services;

  • GOAL 2: Increase access to formal and informal educational, recreational and cultural activities and resources

  • GOAL 3: Increase in people’s work readiness and employment prospects

  • GOAL 4: Promote engagement with policy, practice, and decision-making processes on matters affecting local communities

‘Changing Ireland’/ is the national magazine for the Programme. It is setting up as an independent company, having for the past 9 years being managed by the voluntary board of management of the CDN Moyross Ltd.

We will shortly be publishing a map showing the distribution of companies nationwide within the Programme.

For more on CDPs and their place within the Programme, check our earlier blog entry.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Thousands of people have been directly helped to set up in business or find suitable work since the start of this year, through the Local and Community Development Programme.

For instance, Donegal Local Development Company directly supported over 153 small family businesses to open up in the first 11 months of this year. That compares with 146 people who directly set up in small businesses upon finishing a course run by the Northside Partnership in Dublin.

Some companies focused on supporting people on the margins, for instance long-term unemployed people with mental health challenges, to better prepare for and find suitable work.

In our upcoming print edition, we have short reports from Cork, Dublin, Galway, Donegal and Laois showing how Local Development Companies are slowly but steadily getting people into business or helping them find suitable work. The courses and local programmes on offer are giving people opportunities they didn't have before.

These are jobs you don't hear about in IDA announcements, because they come about through the work of Local Development Companies, they usually involve the establishment of small or family businesses, and they're emerging one-by-one around the country.

Our reports indicate that thousands of people are benefitting and by that we mean finding work. The full tally should emerge in time through data-collection systems operating within the Programme.

- Allen Meagher, Editor

€32m fund giving free training to job-seekers - is your community benefitting?


While the effectiveness and cohesion of national economic policies are questioned, there are in fact a raft of minor initiatives aimed at boosting the economy.

Community and voluntary groups including Local Development Companies have yet to take full advantage of these initiatives.

Many of them are funded under the €32m Labour Market Activation Fund which is “to stimulate innovation in the provision of training and activation measures for jobseekers seeking to upskill and get back into work.”

It was launched in June.

Of 350 tenders received, 25 were selected, from both private and public bodies. These offer everything from free college places, to short term training in specific skills, eg multimedia, tourism, green economy. For further information on these, see the Department of Education and Skills' website, where a full list of the initiatives can be downloaded.

For more information, look out for our magazine published next week, in print and online at:

CAPTION: The posters here are a selection from around the country offering free training for unemployed people, in these cases in Carlow, Meath and Tipperary.

Where CDPs now stand

The Local and Community Development Programme (LCDP) was instigated at the beginning of this year and most CDPs – we don’t yet know the final tally – are on schedule to amalgamate their work with that of the Local Development Company in their area by year’s end.

At the same time, quite a number of projects proposed alternative models and negotiated successfully in a number of instances with the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs.

The 2011-2014 budget is of course going to impact on funding for the LCDP. The extent of the cut has not been published, but an overall cut of €8.7m is planned under the subheading 'Developing Communities' (which includes funding towards the Programme, volunteering initiatives and "supports for the community and voluntary sector").

Meanwhile most of the 160 CDPs are on course to fully or partially amalgamate with the Local Development Company in their area/county, with the following exceptions applying:


From the outset, 13 projects with special responsibility, national roles or providing unique services were allowed to continue independently. ‘Changing Ireland’ was among them and is the only one that needed to establish itself as an independent not-for-profit company, which it is doing. Other examples include the Men’s Development Network.


In counties Cork and Kerry, where there are over 20 CDPs, five of them are moving to HSE funding and will not be part of the LCDP, but will continue in existence.


In Dublin, where funding was withdrawn to the Dublin Inner City Partnership and amalgamation therefore became impossible, the CDPs will continue to operate with direct support and funding from the LCDP via Pobal.


Six CDPs in Limerick city are amalgamating to become one company, to be known in future as Limerick City CDP.

Note: Documentation on how the plan to amalgamate Limerick CDPs was published on our website during the summer.


17 Women’s CDPs are amalgamating and will operate as one company under the LCDP.

(For more on this, you can read Elva O’ Callaghan’s account in the upcoming edition of ‘Changing Ireland’, out in a matter of days. Elva works with the National Women’s Collective which is central to the merger).


The Traveller CDP Network (representing 17 Traveller CDPs) has recently submitted revised proposals for integration of Traveller CDPs within the LCDP. Two different alternative models are proposed and the Traveller Network has asked that both are given equal consideration. It is expected that a decision will be made on the preferred model shortly.


A small number of (mostly large) CDPs, many of whom receive 85% or more of their funding from sources other than the LCDP may continue to operate, though under new arrangements (still being negotiated) as part of the LCDP.


Some projects have declined to become part of the Programme and will continue on independently as local community development projects.

A full list of where each CDP is now, depending on the path chosen, will be published in the next edition of ‘Changing Ireland’.


We are still gathering information relating to island CDPs and will update you when we have news.

CAPTION: Our map shows the national spread of State-funded CDPs in 2006. Click to enlarge.


Minister Pat Carey responded that day to questions from Fine Gael TD Paul Connaughton, FG's Frank Feighan and Labour's Jack Wall. At that stage, three CDPs were going it alone and were not joining the Local and Community Development Programme.

The Minister argued with the opposition party TDs saying the Programme would result in "enhanced" community development across the State and would not see a decline in such activity.

He further said that CDP staff should not worry about losing their jobs and said the emphasis was on frontline services such as they deliver: "I recognise the concerns of those who may feel their jobs are under threat. They are not. The people key to this are the recipients of the services and the volunteers driving it."

Thanks to Finbar from Mayo for the above.

The cut to the minimum wage has been widely criticised. The €1 cut equates to 11.5% of salary if you're on the minimum wage.

Business leaders have welcomed the proposal saying it will cuts costs.

However, Fine Gael have said they may revisit the proposal.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cuts of €35m over 4 years to Dept of Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs

Cuts of €35m are planned for the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs from 2011-2014.
The chart below covers some details of the cuts for the coming year, 2011. It comes from the Government's official four-year plan which is
downloadable from this page.
The Community Workers Co-op have published a 7-page response to the budget from a Community viewpoint:

Your opinion?

Friday, November 19, 2010




We've invited in foreigners to take over the running of our country's finances and decide our future for the years to come. We've lost a large part of our sovereignty.

There is anger in the air and even some Government TDs have felt it and have called on the Government to resign.



Monday, November 8, 2010

New ideas workshop on Nov 24th in Dublin

We're all looking for new ideas in these "challenging" times and Tosach is holding an innovation workshop in St. Andrew's Resource Centre in Dublin 2, on November 24th. At €25 per person, it's good value compared to certain profit-making companies who charge 10 times that for their expertise.
It will cover:
  • Using Social Media to build community
  • Building a sustainable social enterprise
  • Using successful role models in education - A positive deviance approach
  • Engaging Drug Users with the Arts
  • Restorative Justice - A new way of dealing with anti-social behaviour?
  • Mental Health - a community issue in recession
  • Facilitators include Tony Cronin, Bernie Walsh, Gerry McKeever, Eoghan O'Neill and Karl Tooher.

  • Tosach is a Dublin-based not-for-profit that offers support services to the Community and Voluntary Sector. It worked with CDPs for many years in a formal capacity as a support agency.
  • Thursday, November 4, 2010

    Disability leader proposes land taxes instead of cuts

    "I believe a €5 land tax per acre regardless of the quality of the land could yield a massive €8 billion per year straight into the coffers of Government," says Noel O'Neill, chairperson of the Kerry Network of People with Disabilities.

    While his figures don’t seem to stack up (see comments below) he makes the point that there is untapped wealth in this country and he argues that the poor can't pay for the banks' collapse.

    On his specific proposal, Noel says farmers he knows agree with him. If you want to read more advice (2 pages) to the Government on the upcoming budget from the KNPD, click the link here.

    BACKGROUND: The KNPD is one of 160 Community Development Projects that are part of the LCDP. The project is currently amalgamating with the North East Kerry Development Company.

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Find out about 'Community Economic Development (CED) Lawyering' HERE!

    There is lot of information available on the internet about a phenomena well rooted in communities in the USA called 'Community Economic Development (CED) Lawyering'.
    Maria Antonieta Nestor (pictured here) has written an article on the subject for the autumn edition of ‘Changing Ireland’ and recommends the following (click for links):
    • Community Benefit Agreements,
    National Day Labourer Organisation Network,
    CLEAN CarWash campaign,
    Taco Trucks (information partly in Spanish),
    • For inspiration on how community education can make a difference, visit the
    Institute of Popular Education of Southern California (IDEPSCA),
    Economic justice work of community coalitions,
    Immigrant initiatives in Los Angeles, particularly as reported by Victor Narro,
    • For an academic view on CED you can also read the scholarly works of Scott Cummings, Susan Bennett, Susan Jones and Roger A. Clay Jr.

    At a glance, some CED initiatives in Ireland are:
    • The
    Legal Education Programme at the Ballymun Community Law Centre
    • The work of the
    Limerick Regeneration Agencies
    • The
    Shell-to-Sea Campaign

    Are there any others you'd suggest? Comments welcome.

    * Maria Antonieta Nestor is a PhD student at the School of Law, TCD. Her research project is looking at CED lawyering in the USA and comparing it with what is happening on the ground in Ireland.

    If you would like to contact the author about your experiences, examples or questions about CED, email:

    Monday, November 1, 2010


    We're uploading video reports from Saturday's historic 'Claiming Our Future' event, the biggest Civil Society gig in the Republic Ireland in a generation.
    It wasn't a protest and it was different. And it achieved its aim of finding out what we're FOR in a new Irelan
    d. The top 3 values a new Ireland needs to emphasise, according to the final vote, are:
    - equality,
    - environmental sustainability
    -and accountability

    Also popular were policies leading to better governance and a maximum wage as well as the minimum wage.

    Our first video is with Niamh McGrath aka 'The elephant in the room'.

    An in-depth and lively 11-minute interview with one of the organisers Siobhan O'Donohue is now online at