I have my next SPC meeting on January 9th – Strategic Policy Committee Meeting for Economic Development & Enterprise. Here’s the agenda:
- Minutes of meeting held on the 14th November 2016 and matters arising.
- Presentation by Mr. Niall O’Callaghan, Regional Business Development Manager – Mid-West.
- Adoption of County Development Plan.
- Proposed changes to SPC structure.
- Date of next meeting – 8th May 2017
Despite being a member I have no direct say in and don’t know what’s behind the agenda. I can contact the chair, as I have done before, but he’s happier to let the council staff lead. There is no open request for agenda items. No effort to engage outside of quarterly meetings. Nothing. It’s very much a sealed deal before we meet and I am very much an outsider representing the environment, elected via Clare PPN Public Participation Network. There is an understanding amongst “outsiders” on SPCs – the less you know going in the happier the authorities are as there’s less chance of you engaging in conversation or asking questions. No wonder the country is in the state it’s in. Closed minds, in closed offices with closed communications.
I am actually the only PPN rep on this SPC which indicates how closed shop it is. If the Environmental Pillar hadn’t lobbied when the SPCs were being structured then there probably wouldn’t have been any PPN reps. There are no official representatives for social inclusion or the community and voluntary sectors on it.
So in 2017 I intend to be more proactive, improve my reporting and public engagement of the issues surrounding SPCs and other council bodies that are supposed to be about collaboration and public participation. Now that I’ve settled in somewhat I have sent the following email to the admin staff and anticipate a reply in the new year:
“Could you please send me further details on the proposed changes to the SPC structure as per the agenda.
I would also like to propose that we have a speaker in to present on climate change and the economy. We had the following presentation at a recent PPN event and its available online – Climate Change and Economics – a talk by Professor Terence Mc Donough for Clare PPN https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CJaLiVjB-I “
With that in mind does anyone out there know what are the “Proposed changes to the SPC structure” – is that local or national, all SPCs or just this one?
Here is my report from my last SPC meeting in November.
December 28th 2016