Report on Cooley Environment and Health Group Meeting, Sunday 10th December 2017

There was a major development in the composition of the Committee at today's meeting: Jonathan Larkin was unanimously elected by those present as chairperson. The secretary was instructed to write a letter to the outgoing chairperson, Paul Smyth, to thank him for his services over the past few years during which he did a lot to improve the image of the group.

The order of speakers for the 2018 workshop (Mental Health Care in Louth 1918–2018 and Beyond) was decided as follows

  • Dennis Pringle, geographer
  • Lisa Butterly, historian
  • Michael McCreanor, retired psychiatric nurse, local historian - Ardee
  • Jim Walsh, Irish Advocacy Network
  • Sean Crudden, secretary IMPERO

It was decided that when their presentations are finished the workshop will split up into 3 groups to discuss the following topics and report back to the concluding round table session.

  • Depression
  • Services
  • Suicide

Dennis Pringle is to create a flier for this workshop along the lines of the flier he created for the previous workshop on homelessness. The secretary is to contact Edel McMullan in Dundalk FM 100 to seek an interview for some Tuesday morning in January to publicize the workshop.

The secretary reported he had received a grant from LEO, Dundalk towards the costs of the workshopwas. He was instructed to write to Denise Belton to thank her.

Report on Cooley Environment and Health Group Meeting, Sunday 12th November 2017
After approving the minutes for the previous meeting, Sean Crudden reported on the current financial position. It is difficult to say with any certainty at this time of year how we stand, but we would appear to be keeping our heads above water. Sean noted that all our regular sponsors had very kindly agreed to sponsor us for another year and that he was hopeful of securing support from the Louth Local Enterprise Office for the 2018 Workshop. It was noted that the sponsors page on the website should be modified to reflect the fact that the LEO regularly supports the Workshops. The 2018 Workshop was the main item for discussion. Sean Crudden reported that he had been very active in speaking to potential speakers since the previous meeting. In addition to Lisa Butterly, who has agreed to be the keynote speaker, a number of others have indicated a willingness to act as subsidiary speakers. It is unclear whether Professsor Dainius Puras of Vilnius University, who is a Special Rapporteur for the UN on Mental and Children's Health, will be able to attend in person, but has continued to retain a keen interest in the Workshop. Des Hynes is to act as the Convenor. It is hoped to finalise the full list of speakers at out next meeting which has been brought forward one week to be held on the 10th December, 2017.
Report on Cooley Environment and Health Group Meeting, Sunday 10th September 2017
The meeting, chaired by Dermot Mooney standing in for Chairperson Paul Smyth, focused on the next annual workshop, scheduled for 27th January 2018, which will be on 'Mental Health Care In Louth 1918-2018 And Beyond'. Some work is to still be done yet with regard to lining up potential speakers and finalising a facilitator. It is hoped to secure confirmations before our next meeting on 12th November 2017. It was noted that the workshop should be of special interest as St Bridget’s in Ardee is due to be closed following the opening of a new centre attached to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda to cater for Mental Health. The workshop will give an overview of Mental Health treatment available between 1918 to present 2018 as well as look at how the services were delivered in the past and how they are being delivered today. The workshop will hopefully identify what can be done to make Co Louth a better place for all individuals involved in Mental Health and their families.
Report on Cooley Environment and Health Group Meeting, Sunday 18th June 2017
Next year's Winter Workshop formed the major item on the agenda. Following Sean Crudden's suggestion it was agreed to work with the title 'Mental Health Care In Louth 1918-2018 And Beyond'. Sean reported that Lisa Butterly had graciously agreed to act as the keynote speaker. In a change to our previous plans, it was agreed that Paul Smyth would act as the facilitator and that we would follow a similar format to the 2017 Workshop. Dennis Pringle and Sean Crudden would also give short presentations. It was felt that it would be very useful if we could also get someone from the Department of Health and Children or the Health Service Executive to outline current thinking on the futre of the mental health services in Ireland. Some scepticism was expressed as to whether we would be able to get someone prepared to speak, but Dermot Mooney agreed to explore this possible avenue before the next meeting.

On other business, Dermot Mooney reported that he had decided not to put his name forward to serve on the Louth PPN, even though there was now another vacancy. The next meeting is scheduled for 10th September.
Report on Cooley Environment and Health Group Meeting, Sunday 23rd April 2017
The Treasurer, Sean Crudden, provided a detailed breakdown of the accounts for the past 12 months. He reported a small loss over the year, but this was largely due to having to pay a two year subscription for the web site in advance. Other than this we seem to be working within our limits.

There was a lengthy discussion about the Louth Public Participation Network (PPN). Dermot Mooney is to explore the website ( before deciding whether to engage further on behalf of the group.

Sean Crudden reported on talks he had held with potential speakers for next year's Annual Workshop. Although receiving a few setbacks, his discussions opened up contacts with several new potential speakers. Although we are currently looking at something to do with mental health, it is still unclear what form the Workshop would take. Although a talk on the history of the Ardee facility is an attractive possibility, it was felt we should try to find some way to broaden out the topic to allow more discussion from the floor. One option might be to hold a discussion on the future of mental health services based on our experiences with the past? Have we, for example, moved too far from institutionalisation? Do institutions still have a role to play, and if so what would be the ideal balance between institutions and community services?

The meeting closed after conducting a few housekeeping matters.
Report on Cooley Environment and Health Group Meeting, Sunday 26th February 2017
This was the first meeting after the Winter Workshop, so the first item on the agenda was a review of the 2017 Workshop. Although the format of the Workshop deviated from what had been intended, the general feeling was that it had been very successful. The Secretary is to write to the principal speakers to thank them for the contributions.

Some initial discussion was held about possible topics for next year's Workshop. Sean Crudden suggested that something on the history of the mental health facilities in Ardee would make an interesting topic. He further suggested that we might attempt to commission a study by a local expert, to be loaded up on this website in advance of the Workshop. This of course would be dependent upon our nominated expert being willing to do such a study. Sean is to approach the person we have in mind to see if he would be willing to undertake such a study. Two other possible topics were briefly discussed as possible fall-backs should our first choice option not prove feasible.

The website manager reported that our putative mapping project had hit something of a brick wall, but noted that a new page had been added to the website containing links to a other sites providing maps of health-related data. This may be viewed here.

A provisional timetable for six meetings to be held before the next Workshop was agreed. The 2018 Workshop is scheduled for Saturday, 27th January at 2pm.
Report on Cooley Environment and Health Group Meeting, Sunday 22nd January 2017
This was the final meeting before the 2017 Workshop due to take place on 28th January in the Strand Hotel, Omeath. The Theme of this year’s workshop is: “Housing and Homelessness – Falling Between the Cracks”. Mr Paul Smyth is the facilitator and will feature the three keynote speakers agreed at the last meeting as well as the councillor who chairs the SPC committee of Louth County Council. Mr Eamonn O’Boyle will summarise the workshop so it will be interesting to hear what the workshop will reveal or bring to the fore.

Seán Crudden and Michael Desmond Hynes were interviewed by Michael Duffy about the Workshop on the Morning programme on Dundalk FM 100. It was felt the interview went very well.