Galway County Public Participation Network meets Minister for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien TD

Press Release


Monday 12th September 2022



Galway County Public Participation Network meets Minister for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien TD, to discuss community needs.


  • Galway County PPN met with Minister Joe O’Brien TD during his 2-day visit to Galway City and County
  • PPN Secretariat Vincent Lyons highlighted some current shortcomings in the representation of communities on local committees
  • PPN Representatives gave an overview of their activities


On Tuesday 6th September a delegation of the Galway County PPN met with Minister for Community Development and Charities Joe O’Brien TD, in the Galway County Council Chambers. The meeting, which was part of the Minister’s trip to visit Galway based community initiatives, emphasised the extensive community work taking place across the City and County.


Vincent Lyons, Galway County PPN Secretariat member welcomed the Minister and reported that the Galway County PPN has 1132 Member Groups making it the 3rd largest PPN in the country, constituting 11.25% of the current, national PPN membership (18,060). Mr Lyons explained that the larger PPNs required funding to match the additional costs associated with a larger membership. My Lyons further, highlighted the existing shortfalls in community representation on local policy committees. In many local authority areas, for example, the JPC’s needed to improve their reporting. Mr Lyons then presented some figures of the representation of community representatives on the Strategic Policy Committees on a national level and explained that the number of Sectoral representatives varied greatly between local Authorities.


Councillor Gabe Cronnelly who is a member of the Galway Disability Forum, a Linkage Group of the Galway County PPN described some of the events and initiatives of the Forum to improve accessibility for People with Disabilities. These activities include awareness campaigns, lobbying, and supporting the implementation of an Accessibility and Participation project in partnership with Galway County Council under the Disability Participation and Awareness Fund.


Secretariat Members Martina Finn and Patrick McHugh emphasized the work of the Galway County PPN in the areas of sustainable living and environmental conservation. More attention and further resources are urgently required as the UN has urged countries around the World to declare a State of Climate Emergency. Ireland has to respond to this call at national and local level.


At the end of the meeting the delegation handed the Minister a new resource recently published: ‘A Quick Guide to your Local PPN’. The Minister welcomed this publication as it was important to increase the understanding around the PPNs. The Minister then explained that the Department were working on improving the functioning PPNs and had recently conducted a Structural Review of PPNs which will be accompanied by further consultation processes on how to improve this pivotal, democratic tool. The Minster encouraged the delegation to engage in this process to ensure a successful change process.

A delegation of Galway County PPN Representatives meet with Minister Joe O’Brien TD.

Back row (left to right): Mary McGann (Galway Co PPN Council Liaison Officer), Councillor Gabe Cronnelly, Charlotte May (Galway Co PPN Coordinator), Vincent Lyons (Galway Co PPN Secretariat Members), Martina Finn (Galway Co PPN Secretariat Members), Eileen Ruane (Director of Services);

Front row (left to right): Mary Mullen (Galway Co PPN Administrator), Cathaoirleach Michael ‘Moegie’ Maher, Minister Joe O’Brien.








Charlotte May and Mary Mullen,

Galway County Public Participation Network

Economic, Rural & Community Development Unit | Galway County Council

Áras an Chontae | Prospect Hill | Galway | H91 H6KX

Tel: 087 94 55 722 |  |


Notes to editors:

A Public Participation Network (PPN) is a network that allows local authorities to connect with community groups around the country.

The PPN is the ‘go to’ for all local authorities who wish to benefit from community and voluntary expertise in their area.

 Community groups register to join the PPN in their local authority area.

PPNs give citizens a greater say in local government decisions which affect their own communities.

Our democracy is made stronger, by allowing diverse views and interests to be considered as part of the decision making process of local government.

The main role of the PPN is to ‘enable the PPN member groups to input into and have their voices heard within the formal decision-making structures of the local authority’.

  •  Department of Rural and Community Development, Public Participation Networks Handbook, (2020).


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