Minutes of Meeting of Sligo Local Community Development Committee held on Thursday 7th April 2022 at 9.30 a.m. (Council Chamber, City Hall & MS Teams)
- Councillor Dara Mulvey, Local Government Member, Sligo County Council - (in Chamber)
- Councillor Tom Fox, Local Government Member, Sligo County Council - (in Chamber)
- Mr. Martin Lydon, Local Government / CE, Sligo County Council - (by video)
- Mr. Peter Egan, State Agency, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim ETB - (by video)
- Mr. John Feerick, Local Development Sector, Sligo LEADER Partnership CLG - (by video)
- Ms. Kathleen Henry, Farming / Agriculture Interests, Farming / Agriculture Pillar - (by video)
- Mr. Brendan Lynch, Social Inclusion, PPN - (by video)
- Dr. Connie Nell, Environmental Interests, Environment Pillar (PPN) - (by video)
- Mr. Pat Benson, Community & Voluntary, PPN - (by video)
- Ms. Jean Finnerty, Community & Voluntary, PPN - (by video)
- Councillor Joseph Queenan, Local Government Member, Sligo County Council
- Mr. John Reilly, Local Government / LEO, Sligo County Council
- Mr. John Kennedy, State Agency, Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection
- Ms. Patricia Garland, State Agency, Sligo/Leitrim/West Cavan HSE
- Mr. Aidan Doyle, Business Interests, Sligo Chamber of Commerce
- Mr. Pat Fallon, Trade Union Interests, Irish Congress of Trade Unions
- Ms. Noelle O’Gara, Social Inclusion, PPN
- Ms. Margaret McConnell, Senior Executive Officer, Sligo County Council - (in Chamber)
- Ms. Aisling Smyth, Administrative Officer, Sligo County Council - (by video)
- Ms. Niamh Harkin, A/Senior Staff Officer, Sligo County Council - (in Chamber)
- Ms. Geraldine Timlin, Social Inclusion Officer, Sligo County Council - (by video)
- Ms. Fiona Gilligan, Staff Officer, Sligo County Council - (in Chamber)
- Ms. June Murphy, Programme Manager (SICAP), County Sligo LEADER Partnership CLG - (by video)
Councillor Dara Mulvey opened the meeting and welcomed all in attendance.
1. Declarations of Interest
No conflict of interest was declared.
2. Minutes of meeting 24th February 2022
Minutes of the meeting held on the 24th February 2022 were proposed by Councillor Tom Fox, seconded by Mr. Pat Benson and agreed.
3. Matters Arising
There were no matters arising.
4. Update on LECP process – ‘Sligo 2030 One Voice One Vision’
Ms. Margaret McConnell gave a verbal update on progress with the Local Economic & Community Plan/Sligo 2030 Plan and thanked Members for their participation at the Stakeholders Engagement Workshop on the 23rd March. The Goals and sample actions were updated following this workshop and the draft plan has since been circulated to Members for further consideration with comment/feedback requested by the 12th April.
5. Revision of Terms of Reference for Sligo LCDC
Report circulated in advance of the meeting. Ms. Margaret McConnell briefed Members on this report and advised that the current Terms of Reference (ToR) agreed by the LCDC in December 2014 were drafted based on Department guidance and best practice and have not been reviewed since then. Due to the necessity to hold virtual meetings over the last two years, a decision was made to update the ToR and incorporate some other changes highlighted on report. The DRCD advised that amendments are at the discretion of the Chief Officer and the LCDC.
Updates were summarized in the cover report to the LCDC and included reference to the LAG and the LEADER programme, alignment of the Quorum for meetings, convening of virtual meetings (full/partial) and the ‘Plan’ will be specified as the Local Economic & Community Plan.
LCDC approval to amendments as outlined was proposed by Mr. John Kennedy, seconded by Mr. Pat Benson and agreed.
- Update on SICAP 2022
- Site visits/ Verifications – Q2
Report circulated to Members in advance of the meeting Ms. June Murphy reminded Members of the 2022 SICAP Annual Plan which was approved by the LCDC at their February meeting and advised that the Ukrainian crisis is having an impact on the Plan with actions changing daily in response to this crisis.
Members were informed of budget spend of 17% at 31st March with good progress under SICAP goals (KPI 1 Groups – 16% Annual target achieved; KPI 2 Individuals – 23% achieved). Sample Activity undertaken under both goals was outlined in report circulated.
Ms. Margaret McConnell advised of email issued 22/3/22 from the Department of Rural & Community Development advising that the department will provide flexibility in SICAP so that it can lead the way locally in responding to the needs of the Ukrainian people arriving in Ireland.
Ms. Murphy advised that Sligo LEADER Partnership CLG have redeployed a staff member to work on the Ukrainian response. SLPC is working closely with other agencies in supporting Ukrainian refugees arriving in Sligo.
It was noted that the Ukrainian Welcome event on the 6th April was very successful with 81 refugees in attendance.
Ms. Murphy advised that a mapping exercise is needed to establish numbers as some refugees are not entering via IPAS (International Protection Accommodation Services), but via other personal arrangements.
SLPC are calling to the accommodation centres to assist those ready for employment with CV preparation. It was noted that English language skills vary.
Ms. Murphy advised of arrangements for youth activities such as drama/music for children/teenagers which are welcomed as a break away from the emergency accommodation centres.
Councillor Dara Mulvey advised that he had attended the welcome event on the 6th April and acknowledged the work carried out by agencies in supporting the Ukrainian refugees.
Mr. John Feerick thanked Ms. Murphy and her team and noted that refugees can be overwhelmed and emotional on arrival and in need of supports.
Mr. Martin Lydon, CE concurred with Mr. Feerick’s comments and acknowledged the work of the Council’s team, agencies and local businesses also in the response. Mr. Lydon advised we all needed to be patient and flexible in responding to this ever-changing humanitarian crisis.
Councillor Tom Fox also acknowledged work to date in this response and asked if additional funding will be made available. In response, Ms. Murphy advised that no additional funding has been provided however there is flexibility in SICAP to move budgets. Ms. Murphy stressed the importance of not overwhelming refugees as too many volunteers may be counterproductive. SLPC is mapping services and supports available which will be discussed by the Ukrainian Response Forum (established in late March).
Mr. Peter Egan advised that the MSLETB have funding for a Co-ordinator to facilitate regional language skills. The Co-Ordinator will work with Túsla, MSLETB and the schools. Mr. Egan also advised of a shortage with ESOL teachers and tutors with the ETB advertising these posts.
In relation to volunteers, Mr. Lydon confirmed structures are in place and stressed the importance that all volunteers be channelled through the Volunteer Centre and follow due process.
Ms. Murphy confirmed ongoing liaison with the Volunteer Centre for English conversation tutors and other volunteers.
Ms. Murphy commented on the need for coordination of donations so that all donations received will be relevant and needed.
Ms. Jean Finnerty agreed that it is imperative that volunteers be garda vetted and asked what screening process is in place for incoming refugees as there are some concerns in relation to this in the community. In response, Mr. Lydon advised that screening takes place at entry points and is the responsibility of IPAS who then distribute groups of refugees throughout the country. It was noted that 92% of refugees are coming through Dublin.
Members agreed to take Item 8 on the Agenda – ‘Update on the Ukrainian Community Response Forum’ ahead of other items as it is linked to Item 5
8. Update on the Ukrainian Community Response Forum
Report circulated in advance of the meeting. Ms. Margaret McConnell briefed Members on this report and advised that the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) are leading out at national level, in terms of coordinating the response to the Ukrainian crisis by Government Departments and National Agencies.
The City and County Managers Association (CCMA) requested that each Local Authority put in place a structure similar to the Covid–19 Community Response Forum. In Sligo the first meeting of the Ukrainian Community Response Forum was held on the 21st March 2022 with Mr. Martin Lydon, CE as Chair. Membership of the Forum includes the Cathaoirleach and Staff of Sligo County Council, TUSLA, HSE, MSLETB, An Garda Síochána, Sligo LEADER Partnership CLG, Sligo PPN, DEASP, CYPSC, Sligo Volunteer Centre, Citizens Information Centre, Sligo County Childcare Committee.
Ms. McConnell advised that Ms. Aisling Smyth is the contact officer in Sligo County Council with Ms. Geraldine Timlin and Ms. Emer McGrath as support staff.
It was noted that provision of accommodation is a major challenge as discussed earlier.
6. Update on Healthy Ireland Programme
Report circulated to Members in advance of the meeting. Ms. Aisling Smyth briefed Members on this report and advised that activity under the current programme was completed on the 31st March with the official end date for Round 3 being 31st May 2022. This extension will allow for the completion of reporting and any other outstanding administrative matters relating to this round. Projects funded under round 3 with supporting photographs were outlined in Appendix circulated.
Ms. Smyth advised that availability of funding for Round 4 has been confirmed by Pobal with the programme expected to commence on 1st June 2022 and run until 31st December 2025. Funding committed will include the salary costs of a Healthy Ireland Coordinator for the duration of the Programme with funding for initiatives also. A budget of €40,000 has been committed for initiatives from June – December 2022 with further allocations to be announced at a later stage.
Councillor Mulvey welcomed project funding and acknowledged the work of Ms. Marcella McGarry, HI Co-ordinator and Ms. Aisling Smyth in delivering the programme.
7. Update on PPN
Report circulated to Members in advance of the meeting. Mr. Brendan Lynch briefed Members on the update with regards the PPN.
Members were informed of two PPN reps on the Age Friendly Alliance.
Mr. Lynch advised that the PPN’s recent application to lead a project for Sligo to become part of the Autism Friendly Towns initiative has been successful. Further information on this initiative will be available for the May meeting of the LCDC.
It was noted that the PPN is also involved in the Ukrainian Community Response and have engaged in discussions with Sligo FRC to explore the expansion of an existing community hub project to form part of the community response to the crisis.
9. Approval of the allocation of funding under the Communities Activities Fund (CAF)
Report circulated to Members in advance of the meeting. Ms. Aisling Smyth briefed Members on this report and advised of an allocation of €268,168 for Sligo under this fund. In addition to this allocation, sanction has been received from the DRCD to add residual balances (underclaimed from previous schemes) bringing the total sum available to just over €280,000.
Members were advised that the CAF is to be allocated under the Department’s Community Enhancement Programme, however CAF allows applicants to seek funding for non-capital costs as well as capital costs.
The fund places a greater emphasis on operational costs with DRCD clarification stipulating the requirement of a 60- 40 split in favour of operational costs which is a departure from the local discretion applied to previous schemes.
Ms. Smyth advised that 129No. applications were received under the Communities Activities Fund which is greater than previous years. Of these six applications were deemed ineligible. The full list of applications received and recommended breakdown of allocation for approval was outlined in the Appendix of report circulated.
Councillor Tom Fox thanked Ms. Smyth for her report and welcomed funding for community groups. Councillor Fox queried if schools could apply for funding under this scheme. In response, Ms. Smyth confirmed that schools and churches are not eligible under CEP schemes. Specific projects for schools/churches would need to be seen as having a wider remit to include all the community. Ms. Smyth advised that applicants were encouraged to contact Mr. Jude Mannion before submitting applications and ineligible applications were signposted elsewhere.
Mr. Brendan Lynch acknowledged Mr. Mannion’s help with the application process and welcomed this funding as ongoing costs continues to be an issue for groups.
Approval to the allocation of funding under the Communities Activities Fund as outlined was proposed by Councillor Dara Mulvey, seconded by Councillor Tom Fox, and agreed.
- Ukraine Welcome Event – Email 1.4.22 from Sligo LEADER Partnership
- Employer Road Show Event - 3rd May 2022 Clayton Hotel Conference centre (MSLETB & Intreo)
Correspondence as above was outlined Ms. Margaret McConnell and noted by Members.
With regards the Employer Road Show event on the 3rd May, Mr. Peter Egan extended an invitation to the LCDC to attend. The Roadshow is being held in conjunction with the DEASP and will be an information and networking event showcasing resources for businesses and employers in the Northwest region. Apprenticeships will be the main focus and the ETB is working with the Atlantic Technological University in co-ordinating apprentices and employers.
Mr. Egan confirmed that information will be available for employers in relation to employing staff. Mr. Aidan Tighe is the Employer Engagement Officer at the MSLETB.
Ms. McConnell welcomed this event as it will link with the Sligo 2030 Agenda and may benefit the Ukrainian refugees also.
Mr. Egan advised that the list of Guest speakers is being finalised at present. Further information to be circulated to the LCDC when available.
11. Date for next LCDC/LAG meeting – Thursday 26th May 2022
Members agreed to hold the next meetings of the LCDC/LAG on the 26th May 2022.
Vote of sympathy: Ms. Kathleen Henry extended sympathy, on behalf of all members of the LCDC, to the Murphy family on the passing of Red Óg.
Meeting concluded at 10.30 a.m.
LCDC Minutes - 7th April 2022 (PDF) - 108 kbs
Meeting Date 07/04/2022