Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (1066)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

1066. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the extent of support from her Department through the public participation network for various groups and communities around the country over the past 12 months; her future proposals in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8607/21]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

A Public Participation Network (PPN) is a structure that brings together volunteer-led groups in each local authority area from the Community and Voluntary, Environment, and Social Inclusion sectors. The PPNs are the main link between these groups and their local authorities, and they enable the groups to make their voices heard within formal local decision-making structures. It is important to note that PPNs are wholly independent entities and decide for themselves what networking and capacity-building supports they wish to provide to their member groups.

My Department supports and advances PPNs at a national level and they are accountable to my Department for their use of public monies and the activities they undertake on behalf of their communities.

Over the past 12 months, my Department has provided direct funding of €75,700 to each of the 31 PPNs around the country as well as providing structural supports, and this will continue into the future. This funding supports the ongoing development of the PPNs. The Department also chairs and provides administrative support to the National PPN Advisory Group.

My Department is currently funding and advancing a number of important national initiatives and key recommendations made by PPN stakeholders in the PPN's Annual Reports to promote their development (e.g. training, awareness-raising, IT support, visions for community wellbeing). Two important initiatives supported by my Department in this regard are the national training course for PPN stakeholders, which is currently underway, and a communications campaign due to be conducted this year. The Department also recently published a PPN Handbook to assist and guide the PPNs and stakeholders in their day to day work.

My Department is committed to continuing to support PPNs both financially and structurally so that local communities, including marginalised communities, can continue to have an influence on matters that affect them.