Report on Cooley Environment and Health Group Meeting, Sunday 7th December 2014

A very constructive executive meeting was held in the Strand Hotel Omeath Co Louth Sunday 7th December 2014. 

The main focus of the meeting was the forthcoming annual workshop being arranged for Saturday 24th January 2015 in the Strand hotel. The theme of the workshop is “Leadership and Participation – The Demise of Local Government”. A very enthusiastic discussion  focused on locating speakers who would give a credible and balanced argument for all to  comprehend.

Questioned that need to be addressed may include as follows:

  • What is -  or what has -  being going on in Local Government since the last local elections on the 23rd May 2014? Has any changes taken place and for what reasons?
  • How will the changes affect both staff and the general public who frequent local government services, as officials and their offices and personal have been changed about?
  • What is meant by the terms 'Leadership' and 'Participation' ? Hows do these terms interact with each other and what impact has their actions been since 23rd May 2014?
  • Has the new legislation from the Department of the Environment given more power to local government or has it taken  power away from the local councils?

The Facilitator of the workshop is to be Mr Dermot Mooney who will be seeking a fair and balanced argument for and against what is going on in Local Government! He will want to hear what the workshop will have to say in order to summarize what the situation is and is it credible.

Our next meeting is in The Strand Hotel Sunday 18th January 2015 @ 10 am to finalise the speakers for workshop 2015. We take this opportunity to wish all a Very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year in 2015.

++M D Hynes OMD
Secretary/PRO CEHG

Report on Cooley Environment and Health Group Meeting, Sunday 2nd November 2014

The Vice-Chairperson Dermot Mooney chaired the meeting in the absence of the Chairperson Paul Smyth. The discussion focused initially on the forthcoming workshop being organised for Saturday 24th January 2015. The theme for the workshop this year is “Leadership and Participation – The Demise of Local Government”. This workshop has all the credentials for an excellent debate and we will be recruiting speakers for and against the many changes we are currently witnessing in the structure of local government, including the abolition of town councils their replacement by municipal bodies. Many may now ask for example is it better or worse for the populous? Power is been taken away from councillors with amalgamations at a time when EC legislation in many cases makes it more complicated for the populous to acquire service, whilst the privatisation of some services may appear cost effective for the government but inflict more expense on the majority of the population.

Prof Dennis Pringle was congratulated on the changes to website, which is now much brighter than the old site and more user friendly. Sponsorship is to be sought to cover the costs of hosting the website.

Although there is still little to show for it, some progress has been made on the project to map the peninsula.

Any ideas can be put to us via the website or by attending our next meeting in the Strand Hotel, Shore Road, Omeath on Sunday 7th December 2014 @ 10 AM.

++M D Hynes OMD
Secretary/PRO CEHG

Report on Cooley Environment and Health Group Meeting, Sunday 14th September 2014 

The Cooley Environmental & Health Group (CEHG) held their executive meeting in The Strand Hotel Omeath on Sunday the 14th September 2014 @ 10 AM with all officers in attendance and on time. The atmosphere was electric affable and effective as plans were put in place for the forthcoming workshop penned for Saturday the 24th January 2015 from 2 PM until 5.30 PM in The Strand Hotel Omeath.

Mr Paul Smyth our Chairperson took control of the meeting as we got down to the natty gritty methodology of our approach for setting the precedent right for addressing our workshop theme: LEADERSHIP & PARTICIPATION –COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT and The Demise of Local Government. A general discussion got under way fuelled first by our Vice-Chairperson Mr Dermot Mooney who had just returned from business in Greece followed by all contributing to the discussion. Many names were brought to the fore as potential speakers which this year will prove as a very interesting topic as there is presently much public concern about the council agencies and structural change in a time of austere policies being inflicted upon the masses by respective governments, poor management or our economy some say while others may disagree and suggest our government are doing a great job.

This workshop will be very appropriate as councils have and are undergoing structural changes for better or for worse and all will be interested to see what the strengths and weaknesses impacting on the demise of local government raising questions as to who will or will not benefit from community development with the proposed leadership and participants.

Prof Dennis Pringle is working on improving our website making it more visitors friendly and relevant while Signor Seán Crudden made some prudent suggestions as “well is not good enough” for the two gentlemen appear as perfectionists and we feel blessed to have them in our midst.

It was recorded we congratulate Ms Joan Martin on her recent appointment as Chief Executive Officer with Louth County Council Eire Irealnd.

Our next meeting is Sunday 2nd November 2014 @ 10 AM in the Strand Hotel Omeath Co Louth

++M D Hynes OMD
Secretary/PRO CEHG

Report on Cooley Environment and Health Group Meeting, Sunday 18th May 2014

The Cooley Environmental and Health Group met at 10am in the Strand Hotel Omeath.

The meeting was informed that the Louth Community & Voluntary Forum is subject to change in line with the new council structures that will not come into force until after the new council meets following the elections on 23rd May 2014. The County Council awaits further instruction from the Department of Environment on the new structures for the Forum (or its successor). These are not finalised yet, but information from other sources suggests the Forum may be replaced by a proposed Public Participation Network. However the present Forum structure will remain in place until then. The Forum in theory represents about 180 groups and/or members registered with the Secretariat which is presently administered by LCC staff who dictate what the Forum do or undertake.

Dissatisfaction was expressed about the non-transparent nature of the present Forum. For example, the current three year term of office was not decided at the AGM in November 2013 but was passed by a vote taken at an ordinary meeting of the Forum, despite objections that changes to the constitution outside an AGM or a Special meeting of all groups registered with the LC C&VF Secretariat was unconstitutional. Complaints were also made that the times and places of meetings of the Forum were often switched without proper notice.

Detailed discussion of our next Workshop provisionally titled 'Leadership And Participation: Community Development And The Demise Of Local Government' to be held on 24th January, 2015 was deferred until our next meeting scheduled for 12th September, when it is hoped that a clearer idea of the new local government structures may have emerged. It was agreed that we should encourage broader participation in the Workshop beforehand by requesting submissions from all interested parties via the website, Facebook and the local press.

Prof. Pringle agreed to experiment with alternative colour schemes for the website and also explore options with regard to using our own domain name.

++Michael D. Hynes

Report on Cooley Environment and Health Group Meeting, Sunday 23rd March 2014

With Vice-Chairperson Dermot Mooney in the Chair the meeting got off to a lively and healthy start welcoming all to the meeting the first since our workshop on the 25th January 2014.

All agreed the workshop went well and raised some food for further though for 2015 workshop by encouraging much discussion on the role of leadership by whom, the community, central government, leader participation and where we are going as a society.

The provisional theme agreed for 2015 workshop on Saturday 24th January is “Leadership & Participation –Community Development and the Demise of Local Government.

At County level a new structure is to be put in place under the umbrella of Local Community Development Committees. We understand a final draft is to be confirmed before the end of April 2014, at which point we hope to be in a better position to comment. The CEHG is keen to know about the new structures and how effective they will be at delivering services to the local populous in its domain as the County Development Boards give way to the new Local Community Development Committees.

CEHG want to see more community input in decision making rather than be dictated to by the County Development Boards and officials of the County Councils. More transparency is needed if the populous are to be coaxed into decision making and involvement. All felt there is need for more community participation as we are increasingly becoming dependent on national-level privatised services which can have both negative and positive impacts depending in terms of access on where we live.

The provisional dates agreed for future meetings in the Strand Hotel, Omeath are as follows:
• Sunday 18th May 2014 @ 10 AM
• Sunday 12th September @ 10 AM
• Sunday 2nd November 2014 @ 10 AM
• Sunday 7th December 2014 @ 10 AM
• Sunday 18th January 2014 @ 10 AM
• WORKSHOP Saturday 24th January 2015 from 2 PM -5.30 PM

++M D Hynes
Secretary/PRO CEHG

Report on Cooley Environment and Health Group Meeting, Sunday 12th January 2014

The meeting kicked off with a lively start as final plans were put in place for the forthcoming workshop on Saturday 25th January 2014 at 2pm.

Messer’s Seán Crudden, Paul Smyth and the Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes are on Dundalk FM 100 Radio chat show Monday 13th January @ 10.30 AM to discuss Austerity to highlight the Workshop 2014. Mr Dermot Mooney the current Chairperson of the group is to be the facilitator of this workshop under the guidance of Prof Dennis Pringle our mentor and academic advisor. 

The meeting heard the sad news that Nuala Byrne of the Strand Hotel has passed away and a mark of respect was recorded to her family and the Strand Hotel on Nuala’s sad passing. May Nuala Rest in Peace.

The AGM will directly follow the Workshop on 25th January 2014. The next executive meeting will be on Sunday 23rd March 2014 in The Strand Hotel Omeath Co Louth.

Archbishop Michael D Hynes, Secretary/PRO