New report shows slight increase in number of Travellers sitting Leaving Certificate
A new report on school attendance among the Travelling community has revealed a slight increase in the number of pupils attending, and completing post-primary education.
Government urged to increase core social welfare rates by €25
Core social welfare rates must increase by €25 in Budget 2024, and the Government must commit to benchmarking social welfare rates to average weekly earnings if it is to have any impact on reducing poverty.
LGBT Champions bringing more inclusive healthcare to older people
Society on the whole tends to view older people as non-sexual beings. Inaccurate as that may be, it is nothing new. However, it can have a particularly detrimental effect on the healthcare needs of those in the LGBT+ community.
Since 2018, a course for health and social care professionals has been helping to make healthcare settings more welcoming.
Fórsa community workers back new pay mechanism and 5% pay deal
Fórsa trade union, which represents Community Employment (CE) workers across the country, have concluded a ballot on new pay proposals, and a new mechanism for pay negotiations for CE workers.
The proposals were issued by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) following discussions last month with the Department of Social Protection, which funds the schemes.
Increase in over 65s contacting MABS after lifting of Eviction Ban
South Munster Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) has reported an increase in requests for assistance following the lifting of the eviction ban on March 31.
MABS, which provides free advice to anyone who wants help in managing their money and taking control of debt, has experienced a significant increase in referrals from over 65s in particular.
Maynooth’s youth and community students ready for a friendly grilling
Readers wondering should they study for a masters in youth and community work at Maynooth University can hear what it’s like this coming Monday, April 24th, when current students take part in a questions and answers session.
“My second name puts me in the spotlight, I am tarred with a heavy brush.”
Traveller men of various ages, employment statuses and circumstances spoke to researchers in Donegal about their experiences on accommodation, education, employment and sudden bereavement, and how these experiences affected their mental health.
Landmark research shows impact of discrimination and poor accommodation on Traveller men
“I can’t go to any bar. They hear my accent, look at my appearance and they think I’m violent, it’s that negative stereotype,” – Martin Mongan, Donegal Travellers Project
A major study of Travellers’ lives in Dublin published in mid-February pointed to racism and discrimination for directly leading to many Traveller suicides. Research among a smaller group, focused specifically on Traveller men’s mental health, came to the same conclusion. This study was launched in December in Donegal and it marked the first time that Travellers themselves conducted all the research.
Facilitated by David Friel, the first Traveller in the North West to be educated to Masters level, the research paints a picture of the daily lives of 12 Traveller men living in Donegal.
Fórsa Section 39 workers move towards “indefinite strike action”
“For every member of staff freshly recruited, another experienced staff member is walking out the door. The situation is both unacceptable and unsustainable,” says Trade union Fórsa, complaining about unequal pay and conditions.
Last Thursday (Jan 26) the trade union moved towards “indefinite strike action” involving hundreds of its members working in community and voluntary sector health services across the country. It is not immediate, however, nor is every county certain to be impacted.
1,000 jobs unfilled amid concerns for communities left short
Managers in the community and voluntary sector are warning of a crisis in the recruitment and retention of staff, as salaries in the sector have stagnated due to lack of funding.
Government funders must treat civil society groups with more respect
An overdue document was launched by Minister of State for Community Development, Joe O’Brien, with help from Ivan Cooper of The Wheel and Rachel Doyle of Community Work Ireland, on October 19.
It was overdue in so much as it could be helpful for a couple living together for years, even if they sometimes drive each other bananas, to see what they actually agree on.
The seven-page document outlines an agreed set of values and principles to be used by central and local government, as well as state bodies, for collaboration and partnership when working with groups in the community and voluntary sector.
Department aware of recruitment issues in C&V sector
The Department of Rural and Community Development issued a brief statement in response to a query from this publication on the issue of recruitment and retention in the community sector.
We need more men and better pay in early years childcare
“Pay and conditions are so poor compared to Primary School Teachers or SNAs,” an early years childcare worker tell us. Katie Barr reports:
Groups up support for host families amidst urgency to accommodate refugees by September
Hosting refugees from Ukraine is easier than you think, but it is more likely to be successful if you take advice first. And if you wish to be matched with a suitable person, it can happen quickly, as organisations such as Doras now provide a matching service.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Offaly support workers get calls from around the world
The increase in domestic violence during lockdowns and the murder this year of a woman while out jogging, in Tullamore, Co. Offaly, led to a national enquiry about gaps in the level of support provided to women at risk of violence.
Offaly Domestic Violence Support Service was set up in the aftermath of a previous deadly incident in 1997 and it does remarkable and mostly unseen work supporting female and male victims.
Here, Ray Lucey speaks to manager Anne Clarke.
West Cork’s domestic violence service publishes unique newsletter
Recently, West Cork Women Against Violence (WCWAV) published the 80th edition of their ‘West Cork Whisper’ newsletter.
It is immensely practical, thoughtful and clearly laid out and the publication is useful to any and all working / volunteering in the domestic violence sector – no matter where in Ireland you are.
This is not only because the ‘West Cork Whisper’ is the only one of its kind published in the country, but because of the quality of the content.
Red Cross too slow: Irish farmer hosting Ukrainian refugees on why others should do the same
‘Changing Ireland’ has followed a Kildare family over the weeks and now months as they have taken in refugees. A few others in the area have done likewise, but Matt – a dairy farmer in his early 50s – was the first to move and the first to take in refugees in his locality. He acknowledges other hosts might need cash, but said: “It would change it. That’s not why we are doing this.”
Every county should have a SoSaD project
No better person than a volunteer who benefitted from a project to explain its importance. Lee MacMalighe put it plainly: “Save Our Sons and Daughters is a suicide-prevention service. But it goes much deeper than that. If you’re struggling in any way or form, they’ll...
“If they did it, so can I” – Christina McDonald, owner of Grá-Nua
Christina McDonald sells preloved fashion items for women. She is based in Co. Cavan and has an outlet on ‘Depop’. Here, she tells how doing a course at Technological University Dublin put her on the road to self-employment.
New course beats challenges facing people with disabilities who seek self-employment
Since last September, people with a disability who wish to start their own business have an opportunity to do so through the Self-Employment for People with Disabilities module within the Continuing Professional Development programme at Technological University Dublin.
MENTAL HEALTH: Communities trying but can’t fill all the gaps, says Mick Kearns
In responding to mental health needs, Lisheen House in Skibbereen in West Cork is a great example of what communities can achieve by themselves. However, the gaps are glaring in the country’s mental health services. As co-founder Mick Kearns tells Hannah Ní Shúilleabháin, independent community-based, volunteer-managed services cannot fill all the gaps. Rather than wait however, Lisheen House is expanding its service to two more towns.
2002 law is still denying Travellers a normal nomadic life in 2022
Around 85% of Traveller families in Ireland’s southwest come under the EU’s definition of homeless. These stark statistics were discussed at a recent event on equality and discrimination organised by Sligo Traveller Support Group.
Chuffed campaigners claim 100% success for Navan schoolbus
Students from Windtown, Navan, Co, Meath, who previously struggled to reach school on a daily basis in all weathers, met last Monday with community minister Joe O’Brien and officials to highlight the value of their unique urban schoolbus and to call for ongoing support.
Five of the six pupils who met the minister are now doing their Leaving Cert and all were described as “very motivated” with solid career aspirations and plans for the future.
Tributes paid to late Ronnie Fay, Pavee Point
Pavee Point has with sadness and in sympathy for her family and friends announced the passing away of Ronnie Fay, co-director of the organisation. The late Ms. Fay was also the chairperson of Community Work Ireland. Many have paid tribute this morning to her work.
Cape Clear island ready to welcome refugees in 2022
Cape Clear Island is ready to host refugees this year. The Gaeltacht community on the southernmost inhabited point of Ireland has raised funds and established language connections in anticipation of welcoming a Syrian refugee family in the near future.
“I want to be a jockey like Wesley”
John Wyse (11) and his favourite horse Monty feature on the front cover of our latest edition. John was interviewed by Karen Keehan, a youth worker with Moyross Youth Academy.
Get elected, not pregnant! – Local views on Bill to give councillors family leave
In November, Holly Cairns, South West Cork Social Democrats TD, tabled a motion in the Dáil calling for maternity leave for councillors, as well as paternity and adoption leave.
During a recent visit to Co. Tipperary, we raised the issue with Cllr Mary Hanna Hourigan (Fine Gael) and Councillor Máirín McGrath (Ind).
Dementia-inclusive radio on Near FM
Karen Meenan says we all need to focus more on brain health. She has interviewed over 100 guests on this and related subjects as an amateur radio host with Near FM.
First specialist recruitment company for refugees and asylum-seekers
– RecruitRefugees challenges stereotypes and supports refugees to get work.
Algerian volunteer wants more work while embracing “diverse society”
The prohibition on obtaining a driving licence increases the level of stereotyping and stigmatisation.
Zimbabwean tech whiz calls for more opportunities
Living here has been challenging, having to share a room in the centre where he lives and trying to do his job for Dropbox via mobile phone when the WIFI signal drops.
Egyptian journalist free to practise again
Life in Ireland is “really good. It is the ideal peaceful place after what I have seen and what I have covered.”
Community arts work is radical – is that why it’s not better funded?
I hesitated to ask Mary Moynihan if she felt she was a Covid survivor. She had no doubt about it. 30 years after founding Smashing Times, and a year after getting long Covid, Mary talks to ‘Changing Ireland’ about radical and personal empowerment. Our Autumn cover story – a long read:
Hope is focus of Dublin Arts & Human Rights Festival (Oct. 15-24)
Festival aims to highlight the work of human rights defenders and the role of the arts in promoting human rights
Moves begin to reform family law courts
New national family justice strategy to look at reform of family justice systems
Children are sometimes at risk through contact visits with violent parents
The family court system needs urgent reform, says Mary Louise Lynch who founded a group for survivors of domestic violence, Survivors Informing Services and Institutions (SISI).
Moyross – where every youngster backs Wesley!
Until recently, Moyross Youth Academy (MYA) was one of Limerick’s under-the-radar success stories.
45 mins support per day is not enough for a decent quality of life
Writer and disability rights activist Sarah Fitzgerald writes about the impacts and inadequacies of disability services – and what needs to change.
CALLS TO END “INCARCERATION” OF YOUNG PEOPLE IN NURSING HOMES
Minister Rabbitte agrees: €3m to go on independent living solutions
Childcare low-pay warning as ministers meet operators in Fingal
Warning of a looming “winter of discontent” in the Community Sector, SIPTU has highlighted the plight of the community-based childcare services.
“Our communities are not for sale”
•Jobs Club / LES protests in Dublin
Don’t let myths about fostering fool you!
To foster, you don’t need to be living a perfect life. You don’t need to be married, or have a partner, or own your own house, or be an Irish citizen.
New communities urged to consider fostering
Tusla, the child and family agency, is calling on families from new communities to strongly consider fostering.
Irish-Nigerian foster parent Blessings says – “Just do it!”
Blessings has raised a child from nine months old to 19 years of age.
Putting the ‘human’ back into human rights and social justice organisations
The pandemic has shown us more than ever the importance of self-care, writes Nicola Browne. She asks – why are social justice organisations so slow to practice what they preach when it comes to wellbeing?
Profiteering from luxury apartments is beating the life out of communities
Profiteering is coming at the expense of communities whose social fabric is being torn asunder. The inner-city has become a construction site, as one community activist sees it, with cranes surrounding us as we speak.
National strategy needed for re-engaging learners post-pandemic – Aontas
Aontas wants a national strategy to address the pandemic’s long-term impact on “marginalised learners and the community education and FET sector”. Pictured above: Niamh O’Reilly, Aontas CEO.
Show your colours on #IDAHOBIT Day & LGBTI+ Awareness Week (May 16-22)
IDAHOBIT stands for International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia and it takes place on May 17th, in the midst of LGBTI+ Awareness Week (May 16-22). Events are to take place around the country.
Call to protect community-based Local Employment Services
The Irish Local Development Network (ILDN) representing Ireland’s 49 Local Development Companies (LDCs) has called on Oireachtas members “to ensure that the future of community-based Local Employment Services are protected and developed”.
Music to everyone’s ears – LEADER funds 60 violins in Louth
Despite the pandemic, every evening schoolkids from three schools in Co. Louth meet online to practice the violin. It’s not the easiest instrument to master, but these children are now musicians who can boast of having performed in front of thousands of people.
The violins they play were funded through LEADER. It is a sign of how varied the support to communities can be nowadays through this fund.
We’re all in this together! NOT
Speakers at a recent human rights event in Cork showed they are wiser now to the inequalities from our response to Covid-19 and we’re not all in this together, not when you look at the life-chances during this pandemic of migrants, care home residents, Travellers, and others. As one speaker put it, capitalism is dictating our morality. BETH ARDILL REPORTS:
Islanders film life on one of Ireland’s few Covid-free spots
A series of short films released in January capture the beautiful stillness of Inishbofin during the sun-soaked lockdown of 2020. Mercifully, despite reopening for tourism in July of last year, Inishbofin has recorded only two isolated cases of Covid-19 in the past 12 months and the island is currently Covid-free.
Mucklagh mother and son Eileen & Ray are changing Ireland
Mother and son, Eileen and Ray Lucey from Mucklagh, Tullamore, Co. Offaly, feature on the front cover of the latest edition of ‘Changing Ireland’, highlighting the role of carers and those receiving care across Ireland.
84% of young women abused said it had a “severe” impact on them – Womens Aid
Women’s Aid released a report on young people’s experience of abuse in intimate relationships here in Ireland to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (November 25th).
121 Family Resource Centres looking to the future
SUMMARY: A special report was published last month to mark the 25th year of the national Family Resource Centre Programme. The 60-page visionary document is called ‘Our Story’ and it looks back but also forward as Family Resource Centres celebrate their grassroots successes. In 2020, all 121 centres played an important role in helping communities respond to the pandemic.
Kerry’s Mental Health & Wellbeing Fest went ahead despite restrictions
EXCERPT: “The feedback we got back from the public was great because we had to change a lot of things this year.”
Volunteers patrol with Limerick Treaty Suicide Prevention
Last night, on the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day, ‘Changing Ireland’ met volunteers patrolling with Limerick Treaty Suicide Prevention (LTSP).
Meet Ireland’s airborne community medics
Meet the Republic of Ireland’s first airborne community medics who are saving lives by saving time. In August, for example, they received 54 callouts.
Female empowerment in 2001, with School Street’s Linda Walsh – But where is Linda now?
We recall Linda’s story of struggle and success on International Women’s Day. If anyone knows her, please contact us as, if it is possible, we would love to re-interview Linda for ‘Changing Ireland’.
Full house: Tickets snapped up for Friday’s Ballyhaunis seminar on Embracing Diversity
At an event this week in Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, ticket holders will hear how embracing diversity has been good for the town.
INSPIRE A NATION: Awesome People – Brigid Quilligan Community worker & activist
What motivates you as a volunteer?
I see too many young people from my community dying. We need to change policy, practice and legislation so that it includes and is led by the marginalised.
#FollowFriday: Logophile @MiaBeetle on how kindness goes a long way
In a world where, all too often, those who are going through periods of difficulty are ignored, Maria O’Dwyer shows how a simple bit of kindness can make a world of difference.
Taylor Richardson: Reaching for the stars and paying it forward
In Jacksonville, Florida, STEM and community spirit are championed by a perhaps unlikely figure: 16-year-old Taylor Richardson
Who won top prize at the 2019 Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards?
Every year, the Aldi-sponsored Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards take place, giving young people around Ireland the chance to gain recognition and be celebrated for their hard work and commitment in the community. But who claimed the main prize at the most recent competition?
What is Local Employment Service’s success rate?
Ahead of the launch of a tendering process for delivery of job activation programmes, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection commissioned Indecon to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of Local Employment Services. Here, editor Allen Meagher dives in to the results.
63 CAO courses that could land you a community development job
Today is the CAO’s Change of Mind deadline, marking the last point at which college applicants can choose the path that will set the course for their early career.
Natnoot: Enterprise funds, inspiration and a wheatgrass empire
In times of unemployment and economic difficulties, some of the brightest stars are the entrepreneurs who chance it all on an idea.
Are Travellers being given a fair shake in ‘progressive’ Ireland?
When reporter Ray Lucey met with female community health workers from the Offaly Traveller Movement, a new world was opened up to him.
The magic formula: Castleblayney delivers ‘knockout’ health fair
Health fairs can be a great way to educate a community on how to live a healthy life, but how can you ensure that your effort is hitting the mark? Castleblayney may have the answer.
Is community development the key to preventing family violence?
New Zealand is renowned for its beautiful natural landscapes, its blockbuster output and its sporting prowess. What it’s less well known for is its major issue with family violence. Researcher and family violence prevention practitioner Cristy Trewartha discusses here one of the approaches designed to make a difference.
Community education and its powerful impact beyond the classroom
As the Limerick Community Education Network celebrated its 25th birthday last year, editor Allen Meagher looked at the far-reaching impact of its classes.
LCEN at 25: It’s about meeting people and gaining confidence
As the Limerick Community Education Network marks its 25th anniversary, community workers and staff members were honoured at a celebration event.
Tech in the community: Why you should sit up and take notice
The tech sector is vast and growing, but it has a reputation for leaving some members of society behind. Here’s why we need to play a part in changing that.
What’s in a name? Centre for Independent Living rebrands as ILMI
As the Centre for Independent Living unveils a new name, Allen Meagher looks at why the organisation won’t be changing much else.
How-to: Growing tech skills in your community
We can all agree that tech knowledge is essential for the future of work, but how can communities support tech learning?
Women’s Aid makes urgent call for domestic homicide reviews
As Women’s Aid released its 2018 Femicide Watch report, the organisation called for a new approach to reducing deaths from femicide.
What will the future of gender equality look like?
At a Wexford Local Development event that aimed ‘to examine the local context 100 years after women were given the right to vote,’ issues of gender equality in politics, education and daily life were raised.
Wexford calls for equality: ‘We cannot accept progress in 50-year slots’
If expectations in Wexford are replicated in other counties, there could be a surge in the number of women elected as local councillors.
You, #MeToo and the community of women
As we enter 2019, Kirsty Tobin outlines #MeToo, the Silence Breakers, #TimesUp and Donald Trump’s election – just some of the reasons, in short, why Changing Irelandis prepared to declare 2018 the Year of the Woman.
Soldiers in petticoats: 100 years of women’s right to vote
Late last year, women’s right to vote in Ireland turned 100 years old. Here, we examine the history of Irish women’s suffrage.
Are we there yet? Fight for women’s equality in Ireland not over
As we launch Women’s Week here on Changing Ireland, editor Allen Meagher shares his thoughts on the continued fight for equality.
3 people who had life-changing experiences with Moyross Youth Academy
During the early 2000s, Moyross became known nationally for extreme poverty and high crime rates. Some organisations sought to give residents a way out of that stereotype. One of them was the Moyross Youth Academy.
Is new Youth Academy proof Moyross has turned a corner?
The new Moyross Youth Academy has been officially opened at a launch event featuring Minister of State David Stanton and several former Moyross youth programme participants.
How has the DEASP responded to recent JobPath criticism?
Amid criticism and concerns about the JobPath programme, the recently rebranded Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has touted its successes.
JobPath: What have I learned after 6 months on the programme?
As frustrations with JobPath are voiced throughout the country, reporter Ben Panter shares an inside look at his own experience.
Ain’t no mountain high enough: Young dads learn the ropes
Parenting can be tough at any age, but for teenagers it can be especially challenging. Luckily, there are programmes in place that can help.
Pobal conference: Varadkar responds to criticisms from the floor
At Pobal’s annual conference, Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar and Philip O’Connor of the Geary Institute addressed the concerns of attendees.
Family of late Clodagh Hawe launch fund for Women’s Aid
As Women’s Aid marks the 16 Days of Action Opposing Violence against Women campaign, the family of Clodagh Hawe launches a fundraising effort for the organisation.
Groups campaigning for gender parity in Irish politics
Although we live in an ostensibly equal society, there are many areas in which men are given arguably preferential treatment. Politics is just one.
Sola Symposium: Focus on greater quality to achieve greater equality
At Sola’s gathering of activists, academics and private sector actors, disability activists made sure their voices were heard loud and clear.
What supports are in place to combat rural poverty?
With poverty levels in rural Ireland demonstrably worse than in urban areas, and less visible, Cian Matthew Kearns asks what supports are available to those affected.
Further perspectives on ‘Alignment’
– Excerpts from reports by Dr Brendan O’Keeffe, Niall Crowley, Debra Mountford, Seán O’Riordan:
File gone to DPP over Facebook’s anti-Traveller sites
Gardaí have confirmed that a file has been sent to the DPP in relation to the posting of racist material online by a man from Kerry.
“Promote The Use Of Knacker Babies As Bait” was set up by four men in their 20s and 30s from Killarney, two of whom worked at the time in the tourism industry.