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Louth - Event Notice
Saturday January 25 2014
02:00 PM

Sustainable Economic Development in The Local Area, The Cooley Peninsula: An Alternative to Austerity

category louth | environment | event notice author Thursday January 23, 2014 11:48author by Seán Crudden - Cooley Environmental and Health Group Report this post to the editors

14th Annual Winter Workshop

This year's Cooley Environmental and Health Group's winter workshop is planned to take place in The Strand, Omeath, on Saturday 25 January 2014 starting at 14:00. Professor Dennis Pringle is director and academic advisor of this year's workshop. However the workshop is not meant to be expert. All views and ideas are more than welcome.

Our workshop usually consists of a circle of less than 20 people who roll up their sleeves for a forthright discussion which lasts 3 or 4 hours at this time of year every year since the millennium. Will it be different this year?

We have often discussed controversial themes, including themes on the subject of mental health. But my feeling is that this year's seemingly uncontroversial theme has drawn much more negativity than usual.

Previous workshops which may have a relevance to this year's workshop were the second on "Energy," and a subsequent workshop on "Urban Sprawl." It seems to me that where people live is the one single factor which has the greatest bearing on sustainability in general.

author by Seán Crudden - Cooley Environmental and Health Grouppublication date Tue Jan 28, 2014 13:54author email sean_crudden at hotmail dot comauthor address Jenkinstown, Dundalk, Co. Louthauthor phone 0879739945Report this post to the editors

At Saturday's successful, smoothly run, enjoyable winter workshop Paul Smyth was ratified as chairperson of Cooley Environmental and Health Group for 2014.

The group was founded at a public meeting in Ballymascanlon Hotel in 1994. So we're looking good for another 20.

A short report on the workshop will follow, if not today then in a few days time.

Photos available on Cooley Environmental and Health Group CEHG page on Facebook.

L - R.  Paul Smyth, Michael Corrigan.
L - R. Paul Smyth, Michael Corrigan.

author by Seán Crudden - Cooley Environmental and Health Grouppublication date Tue Jan 28, 2014 20:00author email sean_crudden at hotmail dot comauthor address Jenkinstown, Dundalk, Co. Louthauthor phone 0879739945Report this post to the editors

Sustainable Economic Development in The Local Area, The Cooley Peninsula: An Alternative to Austerity?

"The Cooley Peninsula looks like a comfortable prosperous area. There are many small businesses embedded in the countryside demonstrating some native enterprise," Michael Corrigan said.

Seán Crudden opened the workshop offering sympathy to the family and friends of Nuala McAnoy and Barry Shaughnessy recently deceased. He pointed out that the day of the workshop was the exact anniversary of the murder of Detective Adrian O'Donoghoe. He also presented apologies from Joan Hardy, Suzanne Carroll, Glenda Byrne, Brendan Rafferty, Seán O'Connor.

Professor Dennis Pringle outlined in detail what is meant by "Austerity," "Sustainable," "Development." He pointed out that we were not talking about alternatives rather we meant something in addition to what is already there not something instead of what we have now. He pointed out that a local business was locally rooted but not confined to local customers.

The workshop separated into 3 groups in which all participants were asked to cast about for ideas. Reputation of Carlingford as a gourmet centre. Need for a railway track at Greenore. The Greenore port is underdeveloped. Warehousing around Greenore. Water sports. Sea-angling. Develop a visitors' centre like Bushmills at Cooley Distillery. Link with surrounding areas like Mourne and The Silent Valley to attract day-tourists. Cycling. Hill walking. More attractive rates for micro-generated electricity. School of Speech and Drama. Music. Dancing. Fleadh. A ferry between Omeath and Warrenpoint. Genealogical tourism (The Vice-President of the United States of America has relatives who are natives of Cooley). Greenway. Better broadband. Unify the whole peninsula as one. One stop shop for small businesses. Cruising on Carlingford Lough and Dundalk Bay. Upgrade commercial fishing. Cooley Whiskey, Cooley Potatoes; a market brand?

In general session the workshop considered issues like, innovation, incubation, enterprise. Educational initiatives to grow our own entrepeneurs. Leadership.

The Director of the workshop and academic advisor was Professor Dennis Pringle who is mentor of Cooley Environmental and Health Group. The Facilitator of the workshop was Mr. Dermot Mooney, outgoing chairperson of Cooley Environmental and Health Group. Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes OMD PhD and Seán Crudden lent assistance.

Others in attendance were: Michael Corrigan, Michael Farrelly, Kevin Hynes, Eric Hynes, Edward S. Crudden, Mrs. Anne Muldowney, Councillor Eamonn O'Boyle, FG, outgoing chairperson of Dundalk Town Council, Mrs. Christina O'Boyle.

9 of those attending stayed on and sat down to a satisfying communal meal of vegetable soup, brown bread and butter; roast beef, gravy, mash, roast potatoes, kale, carrrots and parsnips; apple tart and ice-cream; tea or coffee.

The workshop commenced at 14:15 with a break for tea at 15:30. Dinner commenced at 17:30. Seán Crudden took a few photographs of participants. A selection of these can be seen on the Cooley Environmental & Health Group CEHG page on Facebook.

Dennis Pringle, Anne Muldowney
Dennis Pringle, Anne Muldowney

Related Link: http://www.cooleyehg.webs.com
author by Sean Crudden - CEHGpublication date Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:18author email sean_crudden at hotmail dot comauthor address Jenkinstown, Dundalk, Co. Louth.author phone 0879739945Report this post to the editors

The 15th annual winter workshop organised by Cooley Environmental and Health Group will take place in The Strand, Omeath, on Saturday 24 January 2015 starting at 14:00 and concluding at 17:50. The theme of this year's workshop is, "Leadership and Participation: Community Development and The Demise of Local Government."

With the passage of the 2014 Act the county community and voluntary fora have been replaced by what is termed, "Public Participation Networks." The main feature of the proposed networks is an 18-person "secretariat" which meets 5 times per year to organise and implement the decisions of the networks. Will this local politburo enhance community development or will it act as a brake and a distraction. Certainly if the experience of the fora during the last two terms of local government are anything to go by then those involved will spend a lot of time and experience a good deal of frustration in pursuit of objectives which need more clarity and transparency. Maybe the idea of local government and the idea of community development are mutually exclusive? Certainly the methodology inherent in each seems radically different. A clash of styles, perhaps? Maybe it is impossible for one to reinforce the other? Will there be a clash or struggle. Will community development survive the restrictions of "government?"

The photo shows Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes OMD PhD, secretary of Cooley Environmental and Health Group, with Dermot Mooney (centre) at the door of The Strand this morning on their way to their monthly meeting of CEHG. Dermot Mooney who hails from Glennane, Co. Armagh, will facilitate Saturday's workshop.

Dessie and Dermot
Dessie and Dermot

Related Link: http://www.cooleyehg.org
author by Donpublication date Sun Jan 18, 2015 16:41Report this post to the editors

Thanks for the update ,Sean. Eamonn addressed similar concerns over the sustainability of voluntary fora in the face of so-called Public Participation "politburos " in his doctoral thesis  on international social movements between 2000-2010. . Good to see the Cruddens sticking by Indymedia , by the way.

author by Sean Crudden - CEHGpublication date Mon Jan 26, 2015 18:46author email sean_crudden at hotmail dot comauthor address Jenkinstown, Dundalk, Co. Louth.author phone 0879739945Report this post to the editors

Leadership and Participation: Community Development and The Demise of Local Government

Introducing the theme of the workshop the facilitator, Dermot Mooney, referred to the changes in local government. Who is local government answerable to? Where does participation come into it? What are the reasons for the reorganisation?

Fergus O’Dowd TD, the keynote speaker, said he had been involved over the years in local government and subsequently as a senator, TD and Minister of State, spending so far 41 years in public life. He expressed the opinion that the new divisions of local government were not good for people living in towns. The focus on towns is gone. 60% or 70% of the population in Co. Louth lives in towns. Towns are losing their identity and consequently may lose out on investment. Drogheda which has had a Mayor since the 12th century now has none. He pointed out that those involved in local government will often vote about places other than the places they live in. Decisions may not reflect the real priorities in an absolute sense. He mentioned roads and lighting which should see greater expenditure in the town. The case of the situation of the Library in Ardee. He compared perfect roads in the Gaeltacht area with run-down streets in Drogheda.

Speaking about leadership he said anyone can be a leader. It comes from inside. You don’t have to be in a position of power, rather have a vision outside the box.
Fergus O’Dowd concluded with a plea to bring back the local identity.

Dennis Pringle compared traffic regulation in Leixlip with arrangements in Ratoath. The decisions in Leixlip made by 7 local town commissioners made sense and were effective. The arrangements in Ratoath, probably handed down from Navan, were chaos. Public Participation Networks were likely to be controlled and manipulated. Some areas would probably miss out on representation in the PPN’s. Talking shops?

Geraldine Kieran described a 20 year long losing battle to have a driveway in Blackrock taken into public ownership. She said it was frustrating dealing with the County Council. She said she can understand why people don’t bother any more.

Liam Kieran gave an account of the campaign for cycle lanes in Dundalk and for the Greenway between Carlingford and Omeath. He pointed out that people mix up politicians with administrators. He said it had been necessary to marry local qualities with politicians and to get a cohort of people behind him to get things accomplished.

Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes said some of the administrators may not be happy with the changes good or bad. There was a lot of bluffing in the Strategic Policy Committees.

Dermot Mooney pointed out that most local services in NI had been centralised and taken out of the hands of local government.

Someone raised the question of why people in certain areas of Dublin City suffered from bad health and poor education? Fergus O’Dowd raised the question of the care of older people. Leadership is about looking after everyone. He said a politician was a listener. To get things done you must get someone into a position where they have to make a decision.

Paul Smyth said that Cooley Environmental and Health Group would like to get more people involved.

Eamonn O’Boyle, the last and final chairperson of Dundalk Town Council, talked about planning decisions which were not in the best interests of the public, resistance from officials and a reluctance to correct errors. He instanced the Lough Muckno water supply system in Dundalk, the closure of the old custom’s clearance area, proposals about routing traffic away from the centre of Dundalk, the refurbishment of sea defences in Dundalk, the proposal to close the fire station from 23:00 until 08:00. To effect change is an uphill struggle, he concluded. Eamonn spent 10 consecutive years on Dundalk Town Council.

William Kieran recollected that the children of the wealthy industrialists who were his peers in St. Mary’s College, Dundalk, were usually at the bottom of the class. He maintained it is not just money he thinks Irish business should be recapitalised intellectually. He pointed out that 56% of TD’s are landlords. Hence no rent control. He asserted that Irish people are chronically mean and we are plagued by apathy. Officials listen to the wealthy.

Anne Muldowney said you get the government you vote for. Eamonn O’Boyle pointed out that not only was there a “permanent” government but they control the media.

Referring to larger issues like energy, I said, “We appear to be wedded to a system which has a death-wish embedded in it.”

Geraldine Kieran won a bottle of Connemara whiskey; Dennis Pringle won a bottle of Kilbeggan: in the raffle. Tickets cost €2.

Present: Professor Dennis Pringle, mentor CEHG; Eric Hynes; Kevin Hynes; Geraldine Kieran; William (“Liam”) Kieran; Dermot Mooney, vice-chairperson CEHG, facilitator; Michael Corrigan; Fergus O’Dowd TD; Anne Muldowney; Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes OMD PhD, secretary CEHG; Paul Smyth, chairperson CEHG; Sean Crudden, treasurer CEHG; Eamonn O’Boyle.

Apologies: Joan Hardy; Kevin McGeough; Michael O’Hanlon

9 of those attending stayed on in The Strand after the workshop for a dinner consisting of stew, brown bread, white bread, butter; apple tart, cream, ice-cream; tea, coffee, sweet biscuits.

The workshop commenced at 14:15 and concluded at 17:00. It took place in The Strand, Omeath, Co. Louth, on Saturday 24 January 2015.

Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes OMD PhD
Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes OMD PhD

Fergus O'Dowd TD
Fergus O'Dowd TD

Related Link: http://www.cooleyehg.org
 
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