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Monday, 29 December 2014


The Chairperson Annette Lane, Board Members and Staff of Cork County Federation Muintir na Tire would like to wish all its friends in the community & voluntary sector in  Cork City and County the very best for 2015.

Keep up the good work in your local communities.

2014 Pride of County Cork Tracton

Tracton Community Council takes Annual Pride of County Cork Award back to South Cork at the 10th Annual Pride in Our Community Awards 
The Parish of Tracton in South Cork scooped the overall Pride of County Cork Award at the tenth annual Pride in our Community Competition Awards at Oriel House Hotel Ballincollig last night. Their project involved the rescue and transformation of a dilapidated old Schoolhouse into a vital living space serving the people of Tracton.

Sunday, 28 December 2014


The Heritage Council has just announced the dates for Heritage Week 2015, to take place between Saturday 22nd and Sunday 30th August. It is never too early to start planning events and the Heritage Unit of Cork County Council is only too willing to offer advice for anyone looking to host an event in 2015. For a flavour of Heritage Week events, which took place in 2014, a review of same is available to view by clicking here.


This is a recent development worth mentioning - the creation of a planning app for mobile phones (both Iphones and Android). The App is called "Planning Viewer" by Cork County Council and is free to download, containing a wealth of planning information such that users can easily "search a vast array of planning applications and associated documents from the comfort of their own home or on the move". Users will be able to view all the up to date information regarding planning applications lodged in their local area.

Monday, 22 December 2014


The Minister for Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys has announced that she is undertaking a review of Section 40 of the Wildlife Act which sets the times for cutting of hedges and burning of vegetation each year. Currently, the closed dates for cutting hedges are set at 1 March to 31 August, to protect nesting birds. The Heritage Council is calling on people to have their say. Commenting on the review Catherine Casey, Laois Heritage Officer said, "The bird nesting season is starting earlier each year and in recent years we are seeing an increase in the number of birds nesting outside the closed period, with many nests being destroyed especially in February. While there are many exemptions to the current closed dates the fear is that this review by the Minister could result in a blanket exemption for roadside hedges all year round. Such an exemption will have a devastating impact on our wildlife". "The purpose of Section 40 of the Wildlife Act is to protect bird life during the nesting season, to prevent forest fires and protect vegetation and wildlife habitats during the months of growth and reproduction. We are encouraging anyone who has concerns about hedgerows and wildlife to write to the Minister and outline their concerns. You can send your submissions to, with "Review of Section 40" as the subject. The closing date is Friday 9th January 2015".
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Although not specifically news of a heritage nature there has been a recent development worth mentioning - the creation of a planning app for mobile phones (both Iphones and Android). The App is called "Planning Viewer" by Cork County Council and is free to download, containing a wealth of planning information such that users can easily "search a vast array of planning applications and associated documents from the comfort of their own home or on the move". Users will be able to view all the up to date information regarding planning applications lodged in their local area.

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The National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC), supported by the Heritage Council, has brought out a free biological recording phone App, “which allows anyone, young or old, to send details of sightings of wildlife directly from their phone”.  The NBDC is a most important centre with respect to Ireland’s natural heritage and the more records it receives the better. The NBDC website ( already contains over 3 million records representing the 14,314 different species in Ireland (accurate as of 05/12/14) and this app, available via Android and Iphone, should add greatly to the recording of species in this country. For more information click here
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St. Nicholas Church, Churchtown, celebrated its 175th Anniversary on Sunday 7th December 2014. Visit the Churchtown website here to read all about this notable commemoration.

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The Heritage Council has just announced the dates for Heritage Week 2015, to take place between Saturday 22nd and Sunday 30th August. It is never too early to start planning events and the Heritage Unit of Cork County Council is only too willing to offer advice for anyone looking to host an event in 2015. For a flavour of Heritage Week events, which took place in 2014, a review of same is available to view by clicking here.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Christmas Wishes

The Chairperson Annette Lane, board members and staff of Cork County Federation Muintir na Tire would like to wish all its friends in the community & voluntary sector in  Cork City and County the very best for Christmas.

 Enjoy the break and we hope you come back refreshed after the festive season.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Planning Community meetings

Management Committee meetings are more productive if they are planned beforehand. Responsibility for planning the meeting lies with the Chairperson along with the Secretary in smaller organisations, and with the most senior staff member in organisations which employ staff. However all Management Committee members will need to ensure they have read any papers prior to the meeting and have added relevant items to the agenda.

Plan your meetings effectively by....
  • Setting dates well in advance to maximise the number of members available to attend (and sending a reminder notice);
  • Clarifying the purpose or focus of the meeting;
  • Ensuring that staff and financial reports are concise and comprehensible;
  • Ensuring that minutes and agreed actions from the previous meetings are circulated. Click here to download suggested format for Minutes;
  • Ensuring that all papers are circulated well in advance;
  • Agreeing the meeting agenda in advance. 
  • Identifying which agenda items require a decision and which are for information or discussion.
Planning your Management Committee meetings easier if the purpose of each meeting is clear.
Management Committee meetings are for:
  • Monitoring and reviewing progress towards meeting the aims of the organisation;
  • Monitoring financial performance;
  • Ensuring all activities are consistent with the organisation's purpose and mission;
  • Planning annual general meetings;
  • Initiating and reviewing internal and external policy positions and statements;
  • Deciding on management and governance systems and processes;
  • Deciding the most appropriate methods of funding raising and considering applications for funding;
  • Delegating work;
  • Discussing and making decisions on new proposals;
  • Planning for the future and identifying new opportunities;
  • Delegating work; and Deciding on appropriate staffing requirements, staff terms and conditions.
However, each individual meeting may focus on one or two issues. Is there one or more development or proposal which requires a decision? Should the financial report or the staff report be considered early in the meeting because it was at the bottom of the agenda at the last meeting and did not receive sufficient attention.
A well planned agenda should clearly communicate the purpose and objectives of the meeting.


Muintir na Tíre was founded in 1937 by John Canon Hayes, the first unit of which was launched in Tipperary Town in November of that year. This was the beginning of Canon Hayes’ rural community idea which was to develop and expand into a comprehensive movement designed to raise the standard of living of people in all aspects of Irish rural life. The emphasis was on local improvement – social, economic, cultural and recreational – based on the participation of people themselves in the promotion of the welfare of their community.

The organisation had three broad objectives:

1. To unite Irish communities in a spirit of community service, neighbourliness and self-reliance in
working for the common good.
2. To promote the welfare of the Irish people through an organisation or association that would be
non-sectional and non-party political.
3. To foster a sense of responsibility to the needs and problems of the local community, and to devise
programmes of action and development, especially those based on co-operation.

Initially Muintir na Tíre was a movement serving the rural community only but its all embracing philosophy of self-help and self-reliance now takes in urban as well as rural communities.
Since the outset the movement has been acutely concerned about preserving the quality of life of the people of this country and the need to create the necessary favourable milieu or environment in which economic and social and other development can take place.

From the early 1960’s the organisation adopted the United Nations definition of the Community Development process which states that it is a “process designed to create conditions of economic and social progress for the whole community with the fullest possible reliance upon the community’s own initiative”.
This process has been used widely by Muintir na Tíre for local development since that time.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Stages in setting up a Community Council

Community Council consists of a group of people who have been elected by all people over the age of 18 in a geographically defined area.

Before any action is taken to establish the Community Council a public meeting is held to discuss the Muintir na Tire model of community development.  If people are interested in moving forward a steering committee is set up to:

Define the geographical boundary of the Community;

1.    The Community is divided into constituencies which might be on the basis of the Station area;
2.    The number of seats on the Council for each constituency will depend on the population of the station area and this must be agreed before elections;
3.    It is recommended that the maximum number of elected members be 20 and the minimum 10. 

4.    At least two thirds of the members of the Council must be elected and a third can be co-opted to represent voluntary groups and individuals;

Monday, 8 December 2014

Taking and Writing Minutes

The minutes are a permanent record of an Organisation’s activities and decisions. 
They should, therefore, be written on a hard backed copy (or typed and then paste the sheets on to the copy).
Loose leaf files are not acceptable because minutes could be altered or removed without this action being noticeable.
This good Secretary will not record every minute detail that went on at the meeting. The following passages illustrate the right and wrong way to do things.  
The Chairperson stated that we need to make a decision on whether to have a band or disco at the annual fundraiser for the Community Centre. John Lynch felt that a disco would attract a lot of young people and the possibility of trouble. Mary Dalton thought the disco was very successful last year. Tom Murphy felt we would get wider support from the community if we had a band. Michael Brady agreed with this. Eventually it was decided to get a band.
Accounts like this are too long winded and you lose people’s attention.

It is better to take concise notes at the meeting as follows: Item 7: Fundraiser for community centre. Discussion: Band or Disco? Decision: Band. Prices to be explored. Final decision to be made at the next meeting. Person Responsible: Matt Feelon  

Then the minutes can be written as follows: Item no. 7. A decision needed to be made on whether to have a band or a disco for this year’s Community Centre fundraiser. After a lengthy discussion it was decided to get a band. Matt Feelon is to get some prices of bands for the next meeting.

Minutes should be written as soon as possible after the meeting for two reasons.
 Firstly, because issues will be fresh in the mind and secondly, a ‘To Do’ list can be compiled and issues can be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

 Duties After The Meeting
1. Write up minutes as soon as possible after the meeting.
2. Send reminder notices of decisions requiring action to the relevant people. A telephone call may suffice. 3. Promptly send all correspondence as decided by the committee.

Writing Letters
When writing letters try to keep them simple, make them short, precise and to the point. If available use headed notepaper, don’t use pages out of notebooks or copies. If you can’t get the letter typed, remember to write legibly.
At the start of the letter identify the group on whose behalf you are the writing. Always remember to give a contact number as well as your address. Keep a copy of the letter sent. Finally, and most importantly, check the letter for accuracy of content and also spelling.

FLOOD INSURANCE ‘It works in Europe why not in Ireland’?

CFRAMS has identified 300 communities (AFAs) threatened by flooding. CFRAMS
  is crucial to the medium and longterm reduction/management of flood risk in
  Ireland .

. OPW has spent €325m since 1995 to date on flood relief and €225m will be spent
  over the next 5 years.

. The OPW has mapped 7000km of river courses in Ireland.

. This mapping has a suite of 13 overlay maps for each community  at risk which
  outline how many homes/businesses could be at risk ,what depth and the extent
  flooding can occur over a range of varied flood events.

. The mapping also includes areas that have been effected by coastal flooding.

. The reason for this mapping is three fold
   1.To comply with EU directives.
   2.To help plan for and alleviate flooding in communities.
   3.To highlight areas which should not be built on or developed.


On the 16/10/’14 a meeting was held in Dublin Castle where the OPW outlined their work to date.The forum has outlined its long standing belief that the government must intervene and stop insurance companies ‘cherry picking’ when it comes to insurance cover.The forum wishes to put the following argument to government.

. Adverse selection (cherry picking) is illegal in many countries in Europe.

. All households/businesses in France and many other countries in Europe must
  legally hold insurance and flood cover is automatically included.This has led to a
  very broad insurance base where ALL communities have flood cover.

. The crude methodology used by insurance companies has led to many businesses
  and householders losing their insurance and therefore becoming worthless .What
  will the future hold for these communities?These property owners are still paying
  full rates and property tax which is a wholly inequitable situation and unsustainable
  going forward.

. Without flood insurance these communities will not be able to invest in their
  properties or attract inward investment to these areas .Without insurance these
  communities will become the slums of tomorrow.

. What will become of elderly people who have spent a life time paying off their
  mortgages ?Will they become more dependant on the state?Will they become the
  new poor?With their single biggest asset becoming worthless because they can’t
  get flood cover and therefore banks will not grant mortgages to perspective new

. What will become of the SME’s and their employees in the cities ,towns and
  villages who can’t get flood cover? Loss of jobs and no inward  investment ,
  even closure and loss of rates.

. The OPW has made communities like Fermoy,Clonmel etc. much safer and has
   invested millions of tax payer monies in building magnificent engineering solutions
   to prevent flooding in these areas ,yet insurance companies are still refusing flood
   cover.This is a wreck-less and anti community stance by insurance companies.

. The Minister for Finance has the power to refuse these insurance companies
  a licence to trade in this country and we would ask that he uses his powers to put
  an end to this intolerable situation where insurance companies won’t comply.

. There are many other clever solutions that have been introduced in areas where
  people haven’t been able to get reasonable insurance e.g. Health Insurance for the
  elderly through community rating and the national insurance scheme should
  someone be hit by an uninsured driver.

Muintir na Tire  Supports the Call by The Irish National Flood Relief Forum for Government action on this issue.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Upcoming Heritage Events Cork County

Date/Time Monday 15th to Friday 19th December at 12:00
Event: Festive Tours of Fota House
Location: Fota House, Fota Island, Co. Cork
Additional Information: Come for a festive tour in Fota House to see behind the scenes of the Magic of Santa and the house traditionally decorated for the season. For booking call 021 4815543. .

Date/Time Wednesday 07th January 2015 at 13:00
Event: Fulachtai fia and Bronze Age cooking in Ireland: Reappraising the evidence
Location: Crawford Art Gallery, Cork
Additional Information: Alan Hawkes, Dept. of Archaeology, UCC, will give a talk on Fulachtaí fia and Bronze Age cooking in Ireland - Reappraising the evidence. This talk has been organised by the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society. All welcome, no cover charge.

Date/Time Thursday 08th January 2015 at 20:00
Event: Illustrated Lecture - Families of Blarney Castle -The Jefferyes & The Colthursts
Location: Blarney Secondary School (Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál), Blarney
Additional Information: Blarney & District Historical Society presents an illustrated lecture titled "Families of Blarney Castle -The Jefferyes & The Colthursts". Margaret Lantry will give this fascinating talk on the night. Everybody Welcome. Enquiries to Brian Gabriel 087 2153216

Date/Time Monday 19th January 2015 at 20:00
Event: Massacre in West Cork
Location: Ballincollig Rugby Club, Co. Cork
Additional Information: Barry Keane will give a fascinating talk detailing what happened in Ballygroman, Ovens and in and around Dunmanway in 1922.Attendance on the night is €3 (annual subscription for all lectures €10). Event organised by the Muskerry Local History Society, for more information contact Rod MacConaill (086 1089524) or Dermot Lucey (087 9331135).

It is hoped that these news items and events are of interest.

Have a wonderful December and Christmas and all the very best for now.

Le meas
Conor Nelligan
Heritage Officer

Heritage Unit, Planning Dept. Floor 3,
County Hall, Carrigrohane Rd. Co. Cork



The European Commission's Natura 2000 Award opens for a second year of applications. The aim of the award "is to bring the success of Natura 2000 network to the public's attention and to demonstrate its importance for protecting our valuable natural heritage.

 The annual award is open to any entity involved in activities related to Natura 2000. Local and national authorities, businesses, site managers, land owners, NGOs, educational institutions and individuals from all 28 EU Member States are all eligible to apply".

The call for applications has very recently been launched and the deadline of 21 January 2015 has been set.

"The winners will be announced at a high level ceremony in Brussels on Natura 2000 Day - 21 May 2015. We would greatly appreciate your support in raising the profile of the Award and reaching out to all those involved in the Natura 2000 network. Please spread the word to ensure as wide a range of potential applicants as possible are informed. For more information on how to apply, please consult the website.

Welcome to the Natura 2000 Award

This pan-European Award recognises excellence in the management of Natura 2000 sites and conservation achievements, showcasing the added value for local economies, and increasing public awareness of Europe's valuable natural heritage.
The Natura 2000 network covers an enormous variety of different sites across the continent. It preserves and enhances Europe’s biodiversity, safeguarding it for future generations, and it provides a range of important benefits, helping nature to help us.
But despite its size and its many benefits, many people have never even heard of it. According to a recent survey, only 27% of respondents have heard of Natura 2000, and only 11% really know what it is.

Celebrating a shared objective

This is why, in 2014, the European Commission launched the annual Natura 2000 Award. The aim of the award is to demonstrate what the network is, what it does to preserve Europe’s biodiversity, and how it benefits all of us. The award recognises good practice at Natura 2000 sites in five different categories: Communication, Socio-economic benefits, Conservation, Reconciling interests/perceptions, and Cross-border cooperation and networking.
Anyone directly involved in Natura 2000 - businesses, authorities, NGOs, volunteers, land owners, educational institutions and individuals - can apply for the award. Applications for the 2015 award can be submitted between 24 November 2014 and 21 January 2015. They will be assessed by a team of independent experts. The finalists will be invited to a high level ceremony in Brussels when the winners will be announced. In addition to receiving their trophy, the winners will receive support in organising local events to highlight their achievements.

What does nature do for you?

A lot! Did you know, for example, that healthy freshwater ecosystems provide clean water and help remove pollutants from the surrounding countryside? That peat bogs help store carbon and forests improve air and soil quality? Natura 2000 protects these functions and many more besides, as well as providing space for sustainable recreational activities such as hiking and fishing, and economic opportunities such as eco-tourism and the production of timber and food.

Monday, 1 December 2014

The Secretary and Meetings

How should the Secretary go about the job?

 1. In a structured and planned manner. 2. Remember the importance of working as part of a team. 3. Importance to keep up to date list of names, addresses and telephone numbers of Council members and also other Organisations and officials that you will be dealing with. 4. Keep a diary of future events, and a good record of previous activities  


The preparation and attendance at meetings is probably the single most important and time consuming aspect of the Secretary’s job.
The Secretary must plan meetings to ensure the success of the meetings.

Duties before the Meeting 

1. Draw up agenda for meeting in consultation with Chairperson. 2. Book venue for meeting. 3. Notify all members of the time, date and venue of the meeting well in advance. 4. If there are guest speakers to be invited, ensure this is done well in advance of the meeting. Also arrange food/accommodation for guests, if required. 5. Ensure that any reports or information requested at previous meetings is available. 6. Read through all correspondence and summarize any lengthy pieces of correspondence. 7. Most importantly be punctual for the meeting; it can not start without you.


What is an agenda? Basically an agenda is a list of topics to be covered at the meeting. - The main purpose of the agenda is to make sure that the meeting can be carried out in an orderly fashion and that the business of the meeting is dealt with in an efficient manner.
- The agenda is drawn up by the Secretary in consultation with the Chairperson. They decide the order of the items to be discussed. - If the order of the agenda is to be changed, then this must be stated at the beginning of the meeting.
Many groups use a standard which is the same for every meeting. ‘New’ items that arise are discussed under the ‘Any other business’ heading. This means they are dealt with at the end of the meeting. People are tired and time constraints usually come into play and result in important issues being rushed. Therefore, it may be more effective to outline the actual issues to be discussed on the agenda so that the members can plan their contributions to the meeting.
When planning the agenda it is important to keep a few matters in mind. You must categorize items depending on whether they are urgent or if the matter is of major importance to the group. Does the decision need to be taken         NOW? SOON? LATER?
Urgent issues should be dealt with first. But it is also crucial to remember more time should be allocated to what is important than what is urgent. This is necessary so that the discussion on important issues is not rushed.
It is a good idea to allocate time limits to each individual topic as a guideline for the Chairperson during the meeting.  

Duties at Meetings

 1. Arrive in time with minute book, relevant correspondence and business matters for the meetings. 2. Read the minutes out and when adopted get them signed by the Chairperson. 3. Read summarized correspondence. 4. Record names of those present and apologies received from those absent. 5. Ensure the Chairperson is supplied with all the information for items on the agenda, and bring his/her attention to any matter overlooked. 6. Take concise notes from meetings for minutes, ensuring that all proposals and decisions are recorded, as well as the name of the person responsible for carrying them out.

Sample Notice of Meeting: 

Dear Member, A meeting of Dunore Community Council will be held on Tuesday October 10th at 8:30 p.m in Dunore Community Centre.
The agenda is as follows:  a) Apologies
b) Minutes
c) Matters arising from minutes
d) Correspondence
e) Reports:  Chairperson Secretary Treasurer. Sub Committees
 f) Main Items:  Senior Citizens Party        FAS scheme         Christmas Draw
 g) A.O.B h) Date of next meeting
Yours sincerely,
A. Nolan Hon.Secretary