The Wheel's CEO Appointed to Working Group on Citizen Engagement

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, T.D.has announced the setting up of a working group on citizen engagement to make recommendations on more extensive and diverse input by citizens into the decision-making process and to allow for facilitation of input by citizens into decision making at the local government level. The working group held their  first meeting on 26 September.

Minister Hogan stated: “Putting People First – the Action Programme for Effective Local Government’ identifies the need for Local Government to build strong relationships with and gain the interest of local people and to provide for better engagement with citizens. The commitments set out in Putting People First on citizen engagement, and the overall scope of the reforms, are deep and wide. They encompass ideas such as participatory budgeting, petition-related rights, plebiscites, and regular town/area meetings. Given this, it would be important that citizen engagement is addressed not just as an ‘add-on’ to a new community-focussed role for local government, but also addresses core areas such as promoting higher voter turnout at elections, issues around local services, budgeting, local charges and should operate in a way that increases understanding on the part of the public generally of local government, how it operates and what it does.”

“It is imperative that we put citizens at the heart of everything we do at local government level. This working group will explore all the options on how we might enhance citizen engagement. I would like to wish the group well in their endeavours” ended the Minister.

The working group, which will be chaired by Fr. Sean Healy of Social Justice Ireland, will report to the Minister within the next six to eight weeks.

The members of the Working Group are: 

Fr. Sean Healy [Chair]

Seamus Boland [Pobal]

Michael Ewing [Environment Group]

Liam Keane  [Pobal Board Member]

Deirdre Garvey [The Wheel]

Sinead Carr [DOS Sth Tipp CoCo] and

Sean McLaughlin (DECLG)