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First National Community and Voluntary Civic Forum opened
An Taoiseach with Minister Humphreys and Minister Joe O’Brien at event
Crowe’s consulting team were commissioned by the Department of Rural and Community Development to facilitate the design, planning and hosting of a National Civic Forum for the Community and Voluntary Sector.
The forum was officially launched in November by Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, and Minister of State, Joe O’Brien.
This first Civic Forum event is part of a wider process to support deliberative and participative approaches to policy-making and programming by establishing a formal dialogue between the sector and local and central government.
The Civic Forum is designed to fulfil government commitments to strengthen social dialogue and progress civic participation. Participants will hear examples of this from an international and national perspective and will share their own perspectives on promoting greater participation in public policy making.
This first event, held in the Aviva Stadium, was attended by 130 delegates from the community and voluntary and state sectors. The model of engagement with the community and voluntary sector is in line with the five-year strategy
Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities
. The model will be led by the Department of Rural and Community Development and will support open dialogue and increase collaboration with the sector.
Addressing delegates at the launch event, the Taoiseach said, "The community and voluntary sector are at times the first voice to identify emerging challenges, speaking loudly for those who cannot, while at other times working silently, almost unseen.
"Our collective response to major challenges such as the COVID pandemic and the current war in Ukraine would have been so much poorer were it not for the invaluable role played by a wide range of community and voluntary organisations working locally and nationally.
"Collaborative approaches to meeting challenges in society result in better outcomes – which is why opportunities like today, for open and clear dialogue, built on shared values and principles, are so important."
Minister Humphreys added, “My department is about putting communities first, giving people the capacity and opportunities to influence and to be a part of the policies and decisions that affect them. It’s about encouraging that participation – in whatever form it takes.”
Minister Joe O’Brien said the Civic Forum will enrich the existing social dialogue processes in Ireland. “I wish to personally thank the representatives of the sector who gave so willingly of their time to make today happen, who worked with us to design the event programme, resulting in the exciting programme we have today. I would also like to express my gratitude to all of the contributors and facilitators who will share their perspectives and expertise over the course of the day.
“I am always quick to point to the value and contribution of the sector, but it is essential to have processes such as this to ensure we are working with the sector, hearing the feedback, looking at what is and isn’t working and making sure we continue moving together in the right direction. I am very much looking forward to reviewing the outputs of today’s conversations and being part of the ongoing process.”
Crowe’s consulting department has extensive experience helping and advising clients in Ireland across diverse sectors, from multinational organisations and major public bodies to local businesses and not-for-profit entities.
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