Karen O’Donnell O’Connor is the Community Development Officer with PAUL Partnership and is a member of the organising committee of ‘Make A Move’ in Limerick.
Friday, June 7, 2013
“Wake up! We need to open ourselves up and embrace what is around us" - Catherine O'Halloran, youth worker, Limerick.
Community organisations with a reputation to uphold with the general public, never mind their funders, enter “risky territory” when they agree to fund hip-hop activities.
Many people misunderstand hip-hop to be nothing more than a woman-hating, gangster-led movement dominated by hoodies.
The rewards however can be incredible, according to Catherine O’Halloran, one of the organisers behind one such festival that benefitted from an open-minded approach by its local development company.
- It can be used as a community and personal development tool
FRONT COVER NEWS FEATURE
Robert McNamara reports
Hip-hop is a cultural phenomenon we all know about.
Whether we like it or not - or even understand it - it’s everywhere.
It’s on TV, the radio, the internet, in clothes shops and on the streets.
Kids love it, they engage with it; more importantly, they identify with it.
It’s a subculture that originated in the seventies on the other side of the Atlantic, in the clamour of the Bronx, a concrete jungle dominated by high-rise buildings and apartment blocks, far different to the rural/urban overlap of most Irish towns.
“I never imagined the volunteering would lead to paid work.”
John Lyons from Limerick worked in construction for 20 years, felt the brunt of the decline, began volunteering and, lo and behold, 18 months later he’s looking at being paid once more for construction related work.
Along the way, he and colleague Ursula Mullane have become social entrepreneurs, though he doesn’t accord himself any fancy titles.
“I’m just the handyman,” he says, modestly. “I saw an advert in the paper looking for volunteers to help the elderly and I said, ‘Yeah, by all means’.”
Two volunteers have set up a new company in the Mid-West after spotting a niche area of the construction sector that the multi-nationals are ill-equipped to compete in.
The two directors of Community Repair and Maintenance (CRM) could be in clover by year’s end, REPORTS ALLEN MEAGHER.
IN FAVOUR: “This document represents a fundamental re-imagining of the system and it sees local government leading economic, social and community development… Unlike many previous reform documents, this Programme sets out firm decisions by Government rather than proposals for discussion.”
- Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan.
OPPOSED: “While we recognise the need for stronger and more accountable local government, we caution against any attempt to subsume community-led local development bodies into local authorities.”
- 21 academics writing in the Irish Times.
REPORTS, ANALYSIS, RESPONSES
The following are links to 30 or so online news reports, academic articles and Government papers. Along with our own sources and a review or Oireachtas debates, they helped inform 'Changing Ireland's reportage on local government reform and the debate around 'alignment':
FOCUS, HOPE, SYNERGY and RISKS
- Excerpts from reports
by Dr Brendan O’Keeffe, Niall Crowley, Debra Mountford, Seán
“The introduction, through a new committee (Socio-Economic Committee), of a Local and Community Plan will give added focus to mainstreaming local, community and rural development issues into local government services.
“More interestingly is that this local effort will be underpinned by a national policy framework which will be overseen by an inter-departmental committee, providing, hopefully, a similar level of integration and policy alignment at the national level.
“Coming up with workable models to do so is going to be a major challenge, but given the pressures on communities across the State, no one will be thanked if local, rural and community development are disrupted, no matter the benefits of underpinning local democracy.
Representation on the Socio-Economic Committees (SEC) and their terms of reference are currently the subject of discussion. Currently, this is what is envisaged.
Late last year, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Phil Hogan launched ‘Putting People First’ describing it as “one of the most radical, ambitious and far-reaching governance reform plans ever put forward by an Irish Government.”
- Government policy outlined
The Programme for Government committed to reviewing the delivery of services at local level in order to improve service delivery from the point of view of the citizen. It has committed to reducing the duplication of services while ensuring greater democratic accountability in decision-making at a local level.
One initiative through which this will be achieved is the alignment of local government and local development sectors in a way that builds on the strengths of both sectors.
A high level Alignment Steering Group was established in September 2011 by Minister Phil Hogan to make recommendations on improving alignment between the sectors.
The Group’s final report (including the text of an interim report) was approved for implementation by Government last October.
Alignment forms part of the broader Local Government reform proposals as laid out in ‘Putting People First – An Action Programme for Effective Local Government’.
The alignment of local government and local development will be pursued on a phased basis over the period 2012-2014, in a way that will secure optimum value from available resources and enhance service delivery for local communities.
The alignment report recognised “the key strengths of local development companies, including their reach into their communities, their proven track record of leading social inclusion and local and community development initiatives, and their significant local knowledge and expertise in service planning and delivery.”
It noted: “The approach and ethos of the local development companies, based on community involvement, and interventions tailored to address particular local needs, are fundamental elements of the local development model in Ireland. Considerable care should be taken to maintain the integrity of this model.”Further information including the full reports are available on the Department’s website: http://www.environ.ie
- Talks continue over small but
significant detail of reform plans
Allen Meagher reports:
Talks are continuing between Government officials
and representatives from the Irish Local Development Network (ILDN) the
representative body for the country’s Local Development Companies (LDCs).
By Allen Meagher, editor 'Changing Ireland'
The public generally understands two things about local authorities. On the one hand, the elected representatives deserve more power - too much rests with officials. The second commonly held view is that local authorities are sometimes responsible for the problems they’re trying to solve.
They struggle to connect with ‘hard-to-reach’ citizens.
Recently, in Moyross, we had 30 balaclava-clad young people riding around on horseback firing stones at public buildings after dozens of horses were taken by the pound on orders from the local authority. More restrained horse-owners protested outside council offices. Neither the crude and dangerous protest nor the dignified one sought jobs or training, just social inclusion and an end to persecution. However, all four could be delivered together if those holding the reins of power put their thinking caps on.