Speakers at the Longford PPN plenary meeting: Tess Murphy, Barbara Heslin, Siobhan Cronogue, Anthony Redmond, Lorraine O'Connor and Katie Smyth Picture: Shelley Corcoran
Last Tuesday evening brought another successful County Longford PPN Plenary meeting to Longford Library.
Approximately 80 community group representatives came from all across the county (Abbeylara, Ardagh, Ballinalee, Ballymahon, Ballinamuck, Clondra, Cullyfad, Drumlish, Derryhaun, Dromard, Edgeworthstown, Granard, Killoe, Killashee, Legan, Longford town, Lisryan, Mullinalaghta) to hear guest speakers and network with each other.
Tess Murphy, PPN Secretariat and Chair of the meeting started proceedings, saying: “In 2014, the Local Government Act was amended to introduce Public Participation Networks (PPNs) in recognition of the contribution of volunteer-led organisations to local economic, social and environmental issues.
Scrolling through Facebook this morning I came across this quote: 'Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections every five years but when you volunteer you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.”
Tess welcomed the first guest speaker, Barbara Heslin, Director of Services for Community & Enterprise at Longford County Council.
Barbara has been a keen supporter of County Longford PPN since their establishment and attendees welcomed her very informative and engaging presentation on the Council's Strategic Policy Committees.
Barbara said: “The Public Participation Network is an extremely important communications channel which allows the Local Authority connect with community groups around the country.
“Representation on Strategic Policy Committees give citizens a greater say in local government decisions which affect their own communities and supports the democratic process by allowing diverse views and interests to be considered as part of the policy and decision- making processes.
“We are extremely lucky in Longford to have dynamic, progressive and energetic communities.
“Longford County Council, together with the PPN, will continue to work with and support them in making Longford a better place to live, work, invest and grow old in.”
Lorraine O’ Connor, Regeneration Officer, Longford County Council was up next and she gave a very comprehensive update on the Camlin Quarter, Longford Connected (Market Square, Tesco Car Park, Public realm upgrades, Link road), projects in Granard, Edgeworthstown and European projects like MAPS and Rural Working Hubs.
Lorraine said: “Longford County Council Regeneration Department engage with, support and empower local communities to deliver transformational change to their local towns and villages.
“The close collaboration with the Public Participation Network enables and strengthens the link between the many community groups and the work undertaken by the Regeneration Department.
“This approach enhances the sustainability of projects. It is the excellent work of the local communities in their towns and villages throughout County Longford that enables the Regeneration Department to successfully deliver projects with and on behalf of local communities.”
Anthony Mac Reymond, BHP Insurance, gave an insightful presentation on Public Liability Insurance, Employers Liability Insurance, Property Insurance and Directors & Officers Insurance.
Questions flowed from an enthusiastic audience for all the speakers and some interesting discussions took place.
Siobhán Cronogue, PPN Development Officer, gave an update on PPN work carried out to date and work planned for the remainder of 2019 and also 2020.
The meeting closed with a raffle for community groups with 1st prize of €200 going to St Eimear’s Residents Association, 2nd prize €100 to Clondra/Killashee Active Retirement Group and 3rd prize of €50 to Ardagh Preservation Society.
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