Leading national and international community development and human rights experts meeting at Maynooth University have highlighted the need for a renewed emphasis on meaningful participation towards real democracy in Ireland, with specific emphasis on the participation and empowerment of those most marginalised in society.
The Rights, Re-structuring and Results: Global Reflections and Irish Realities conference discussed the importance of community development in addressing poverty, social exclusion and inequality in, and with, the most disadvantaged and marginalised communities in the country. Recent public mobilization has highlighted growing frustrations across communities as public policy decisions are imposed without due consideration of the process, outcomes and impacts on the most marginalised.
Conference participants reflected on the impact of on-going Government plans for the restructuring of participation and representation at local government level at the expense of participatory and empowering collective processes, where communities come together to challenge poverty, social exclusion and inequality.
Opening the conference, Anastasia Crickley, Head of Maynooth University Department of Applied Social Studies, noted that “While inequality has increased over the past decade, women and minorities have been differentially affected. I call on the government to ensure women’s groups, Traveller organisations and migrant and minority projects are adequately funded to independently continue their crucial work.”
As the crisis of austerity continues to affect the most vulnerable, projects working to empower marginalised and disadvantaged groups are being re-structured and workers redeployed to focus on individual cases of unemployment.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, or to arrange interviews, contact:
Marianne O’Shea, Maynooth University Department of Applied Social Studies
Tel: +353 87 131 6200
NOTE TO EDITORS Rights, Re-structuring and Results: Global Reflections and Irish Realities took place at Maynooth University on Thursday 13 November and Friday 14 November 2014. The conference was organised jointly by Maynooth University Department of Applied Social Studies and the Community Workers’ Co-operative.
The Community Workers’ Co-operative is a national organization that promotes and supports community work as a means of addressing poverty, social exclusion and inequality and ultimately as a means of achieving social change that will contribute to the creation of a more just, sustainable and equal society.
The Department of Applied Social Studies is the longest established provider of professional education and training in youth work and community work in the country. The Department has an unrivalled reputation for teaching, research and development in the areas of youth work, community development and social policy. Department staff play an innovative role in education and research in the applied social sciences and make significant public contributions at local, national and international level.
Caption for main photo:Marjorie Mayo, Emeritus Professor of Community Development at Goldsmiths College, University of London; Rita Fagan, Project Director at St. Michaels Estate Family Resource Centre and Anastasia Crickley, Head of Department, Maynooth University Department of Applied Social Studies.
Juan Carlos Azzopardi, Manager Limerick City Community Development Project; Marjorie Mayo, Emeritus Professor of Community Development, Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK; Magda Tancau, PACT Romania; Anastasia Crickley, Head of Department, Maynooth University Department of Applied Social Studies; Oonagh McArdle, lecturer, Maynooth University Department of Applied Social Studies; Siobhan O Donoghue, Director, UPLIFT; Rita Fagan, Project Director, St Michael’s Estate Family Resource Centre, Dublin.