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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

News from GIY Ireland

Over the last few years I’ve noticed a slight snootiness about using raised beds for growing food, which I find ridiculous.  It’s almost like if you are not out there double digging and breaking your back to suffer for your vegetables then it’s considered cheating.  Personally I am all for the occasional cheat if it helps me to grow better veggies or to grow them with less time and effort expended.

Generally speaking you need a good spade’s depth of quality top soil in order to grow good veggies.  Traditionally, they were grown in long rows direct in the soil, with the soil being worked over many years to make it fertile.  Unfortunately GIYers now face twin barriers to this approach – poor soil depth/quality in their garden, and lack of time. A “raised bed” is created by adding a good layer (at least a foot) of soil on top of the existing soil, usually using a frame of timber to keep the soil in place.  Instead of digging down in to the soil therefore, you are effectively raising the level of it up by a foot. The raised bed is therefore an ingenious cheat to provide, good quality, deep, fertile soil that’s perfect for planting. You can start growing veggies in it instantly.

They have a number of other benefits.  Typically, you don’t ever stand on the soil which means less soil compaction and therefore better drainage (the soil will dry out quicker).  They also tend to extend the growing season because the soil in raised beds warms up earlier than the soil around it.  You can therefore start planting earlier in the season.  Raised beds also make your growing more accessible.  Grass, gravel or bark mulch pathways around them mean that the beds can be accessed all year round. They are a little easier on the back and can even be made wheelchair accessible if required.

I also think there is something psychologically easier about weeding when you have raised beds. I have loads of raised beds in the garden and I can commit to hoeing one of them each day – breaking the job down in to bite sized chunks like that makes it seem a little less daunting.  When it comes to the shape and look of your raised beds you can let your imagination run riot, but don’t sacrifice functionality for aesthetics.  I went nuts a few years back making triangular-shaped beds - they looked lovely but were highly impractical. The important thing to remember is that you should be able to reach in to the centre of the bed from the sides.  A 4ft square (1.2m) bed is therefore ideal.

Mayors Coffee Morning in aid of Marymount this Thursday.


I would like to invite you to join with me for a special cup of coffee this Thursday morning, 24th September in aid of Marymount Hospice, Cork.


The coffee morning will take place in The Foyer of County Hall between 10am and 12.30pm where tea/coffee will be available to all, along with some scones and biscuits. 


As Mayor of the County of Cork, I am delighted to host this event, which is a very important occasion on the annual calendar of events for Cork County Council. I am acutely aware of the many fundraising events occurring in the community for Marymount Hospice over the next week. However, if you are free on next Thursday morning, I hope you can join with me to continue this good work.


I can almost be certain when I say each and every one of us has been affected, either directly or indirectly by a diagnosis of cancer. When this happens, services from Marymount Hospice are invaluable so we can care for our loved one during their illness. I know personally the dedicated service that the staff in Marymount Hospice provide in their wonderful new facility in Curraheen or indeed in the home through their Home Care Team.


Your support this Thursday will ensure this vital service can continue and showcase your support for Marymount Hospice. 


I look forward to meeting you then and having a chat and a cuppa.


All the best,    


John Paul

John Paul O' Shea MCC

Mayor of County Cork



Sunday, 20 September 2015

Does your non-profit organisation need some short-term help from a team of volunteers for a once-off project?

Cork Volunteer Centre regularly receive requests from corporate businesses who wish to send their teams of employees out into the community to volunteer for a half or full day.

These County Cork based teams are willing to roll up their sleeves and do some practical work such as painting, decorating, gardening, cleaning and more.  Their aims are to have a day outside their work environment with colleagues, to fulfil their company's Corporate Social Responsibility and most importantly to have fun!

If your organisation has a short-term project and you are willing and able to facilitate a group of 8 or more (most teams are between 10-20, however some have more) we want to hear from you!

Simply complete the form within the link below and return it to Cork Volunteer Centre at

News from Suicide or Survive


So we’ve had terrific news and reports from our Tea parties across the country, literally from every county, we have been overwhelmed by the positive response and by the conversations that have started around the issue of wellness & mental health.

There’s still time to plan an event and we will do all we can to help you make it happen, so please don’t feel you’ve left it too late, just give us a call and we can send you one of our High Tea & Talk packs.

Go on, you know there’s always time for a cuppa tea!

Many thanks,

The SOS team. 

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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Heart Health Month

Sweeping reforms urge merger of Cork city and county councils by 2019

In the biggest shakeup in Cork's local government structures in a generation, The future shape of local government will change dramatically in Cork City and County.

 Let us know what you think.

 These are the key recommendations of the Cork Local Government review group.
1. A unitary authority of Cork City and County Council should be established as the statutory local authority for Cork as a whole..
2. An appropriate Cork metropolitan area should be designated encompassing the city and suburbs but incorporating also a further surrounding area that would be consistent with the sustainable physical, economic and social development of the city in the medium to long-term. This would be the existing Metropolitan Cork area as set out in the Cork Area Strategic Plan (CASP) and used by both the city and county council already for planning purposes. Metropolitan Cork had a population of 289,739 in 2011 and it covers an area of 834 square kilometres. The city within the metropolitan area should be redefined to reflect the current reality on the ground, a task to be undertaken by the implementation group.

3. The representational body for the new Cork metropolitan area should constitute one of three divisions which would form a central element of the new Cork City and County Council. In recognition of the existing divisional structures these could be titled as follows:
a. Cork Metropolitan Division
b. Cork North and East Municipal Division
c. Cork West and South Municipal Division
4. Municipal districts, with a metropolitan district for Cork City, should be established in conjunction with electoral area re-definition. The local electoral areas should be reconfigured to produce a greater number of more territorially compact areas which would be more closely identified with local communities and traditional local loyalties and would be more manageable for councillors.
5. Meetings of the city and county council should focus on a limited number of key strategic issues for the authority. The structure of the unitary council should be addressed by the implementation group. A possible alternative to full unitary council meetings of 86 members would be for a smaller number of members to be appointed to meet at full unitary council level from the three divisions.

6. In tandem with the location of more strategic functions at the level of the unitary council, the role and status of the metropolitan/municipal divisions and metropolitan and municipal districts should be enhanced beyond that of current municipal districts by assigning appropriate functions that are currently confined to city/county councils to divisional and district level in Cork. These functions should be provided directly by statute. Particular attention should be given to ensuring members can perform an adequate budgetary role at metropolitan/municipal division level. In addition the potential to assign roles to the metropolitan/municipal division members in relation to functions devolved from central government should be fully exploited.
7. Special provisions should be enacted to preserve the historic civic status of Cork city, including retaining the role of Lord Mayor for the chair of the metropolitan division and associated status and customs. The option of a directly elected Lord Mayor should be considered.
8. The unified City and County Council should have responsibility for the main strategic functions of local government such as adoption of the annual budget, the corporate plan, the development plan and the local economic and community plan. An economic development unit should be established to promote and coordinate an integrated approach to development.
9. In addition to these strategic functions, significant powers and functions should be identified for devolution from central government and state agencies to the unitary authority. This would represent a radical new departure for local government in Cork, bringing it into closer alignment with its counterparts in most European states. It would also provide a model for other parts of the country.
10. All the executive and corporate functions and resources of local government in Cork should be consolidated in the unitary authority as the statutory local authority under the management of a chief executive for Cork city and county council. This will reduce duplication and maximise efficiency.

11. The appointment of a chief executive for the new authority is a priority issue and should be progressed as soon as possible. The appointment should be advanced through an open competition process.
12. A deputy chief executive position should be created, with designated responsibility for Metropolitan Cork, and for economic development for the entire council.
13. The next local elections are due to be held in mid-2019. Given the importance of the changes in governance arrangements being recommended, the Committee considers that measures should be taken to develop and implement substantial elements of the new system on a transitional basis ahead of those elections.
14. An implementation group be established immediately following the government decision to oversee the reforms and ensure the new arrangements are in place by the local elections in 2019.
15. Cork city and county councils appoint a dedicated project team from existing staff to assist in the preparation of the implementation plan.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Save Rural Ireland Campaign

Save Rural Ireland

A number of National Bodies with common interests have come together to fight to protect and improve existing the existing standard of life in rural Ireland. They intend highlighting the issues currently affecting the social and economic development of rural Ireland, and seeking change in government policy in these areas.

 The bodies involved initially are 

Muintir na Tíre, 

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association,

 The Irish Countrywomen’s Association,

 The Irish Postmasters’ Union, 

The Irish National Flood Forum 

 The Post Office Users Group. 

Together these bodies represent over 100,000 members and further bodies have expressed interest in joining the alliance. The Save Rural Ireland alliance was launched in the Buswell Hotel in Dublin on the 12th of March 2015.
In its initial meetings the group has identified five immediate core issues it wishes to have

• Rural Broadband

• Post Office Viability

• Control of Scrap Metal

• Insurance in Flood Areas

• GP cover

It is proposing realistic solutions to these issues. These solutions can be implemented immediately by Government if there is a willingness to protect rural Ireland. The group will continue to publicise issues affecting rural Ireland, propose realistic solutions, and generally lobby to improve the social and economic development of our countryside, villages, and small towns.

Community Crime Prevention Programmes

An Garda Síochána operates a range of Community Crime Prevention Programmes in partnership with communities in Ireland. Two such programmes are Neighbourhood Watch and Community Alert. Community Crime Prevention Programmes have been in operation since 1985 and in excess of 3,700 Neighbourhood Watch and Community Alert groups have been established since then. There is a significant willingness amongst the public to participate at a community level in preventing crime. Neighbourhood Watch and Community Alert have helped to promote responsible community involvement and have assisted in the promotion of good crime prevention practice. The aim of this publication is to guide and encourage such constructive participation in partnership with An Garda Síochána.

How do Neighbourhood Watch and Community Alert Work?

The principle of partnership reflects a long tradition of policing in this country and also recognises the important role that individuals and communities offer in helping to prevent crime. Every community has the opportunity to establish a Neighbourhood Watch or Community Alert programme with An Garda Síochána as partners. We advise that you consult with your neighbours and, if there is a consensus to start a Neighbourhood Watch or Community Alert programme, then contact your local Garda or check or
Neighbourhood Watch and Community Alert Require Support to Work
Every individual property owner can reduce opportunities for crimes to occur by taking basic precautions in relation to their home, car and other property. Timely and accurate reporting of suspicious behaviour can also prevent criminal activity, and help to increase a sense of well being in communities. The combined contribution and input of a large number of households is pivotal in creating successful Neighbourhood Watch and Community Alert groups.

Neighbourhood Watch or Community Alert?

Neighbourhood Watch and Community Alert were established in 1985 and are well known and identifiable crime prevention programmes.
Neighbourhood Watch is a partnership programme involving urban communities establishing a crime
prevention programme in conjunction with their local Gardaí.

Community Alert  operates primarily in rural areas, in response to the particular challenges of that environment. If you are in any doubt as to whether your community should set up a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme or a Community Alert Group please speak to your local Community Garda, who will assist you and your community in deciding which suits best. 

Muintir na Tire Community Alert Development Officers


The Community Alert programme addresses the issues of community care, community safety and community crime prevention in a partnership between Muintir na Tíre and An Garda Síochána.

Southern Region (Cork, Kerry, Limerick)

Diarmuid Cronin;
086 6000752 / Head Office: 062 51163

Western Region (Clare, Galway, Roscommon, Mayo, Longford):

Bernard Kearney;
086 6000755

Midland Region (Laois, Offaly, Kildare, Wicklow,

 Meath, Westmeath, Fingal)

Conor O' Leary
086 6000753 / 062 51163

Northern Region (Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan, Sligo, Leitrim, Louth)

Vanessa Clarke;
086 6000757

South Eastern Region (Tipperary, Wexford, Kilkenny, Waterford, Carlow)

Margaret Quinn;
086 6000754


Public Consultation Events for Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is organising a series of public consultation events.  For information please see the attached flyer. 
To register for the event please use the following link . 

Should you have any queries, please contact IHRC directly using the contact details provided below

IHREC_logo_Final_long_RGB 384x85

Monday, 7 September 2015

Commemorating 30 years of Community Alert in Carrigtwohill on the 9th of October 2015.

Muintir na Tire Community Alert makes such a valuable contribution to the safety and security of our neighbours throughout the country. It all started in Carrigtwohil and we in Muintir na Tire are going back to Carrigtwohil to commemorate it.

A Foul Murder in a quiet rural community.

On the 19th November 1984, two major bridges the Michael Collins and the Eamon De Valera were officially opened across the river Lee in Cork.
Those bridges were used that very first night, to gain access the rural countryside by a vicious gang
The gang drove from the city in a carefully selected stolen car to the townland of Ballycureen, Glounthaune, in the parish of Carrigtwohill Co Cork.
The three men in the gang were all masked, when they forced a side window of the bungalow where John Willis (77) and James Willis (75) lived since retirement almost ten years previously from their farming career.
One of the elderly men attempted to escape through the front door but was beaten back up the hallway before being tied up and both were dumped in the bathroom, while the gang ransacked the bungalow where they expected to find an appreciable amount of cash.
Gardaí did not rule out a theory that a gang member and associated friends may have called to the home previously, under the guise of traveling salesmen.
Failing to find what was not there, the gang resorted to the type of brutality that was a common feature of robberies of the period. Repeatedly, each brother in turn was beaten savagely until James died.
James Willis (75) died during the night of Monday 19th/ Tuesday 20th November 1984
The gang then made their escape stealing the brothers red Fiat car, which was abandoned in Ballyvolane an area they believed would throw the Garda investigation off their scent.
They then carefully returned their original car to the exact spot from where it was stolen, before laying low.  Meanwhile in Glounthaune John Willis had freed himself and painfully crossed the field to the home of a nephew. The local Dr Fergus O’Connell and Gardaí were immediately contacted who requested State Pathologist   Dr John Harbison to conduct an investigation and post-mortem.       Later on that day the Garda Technical Bureau removed the brothers Fiat car to Mayfield Garda station where a murder incident centre was opened.
Word of the atrocity spread rapidly across the parish of Carrigtwohill. A sense of outrage and anger burned within the people that such an appalling fate was dealt out to two highly respected members of the community. In the nearby parish of Dungourney a well-loved native Mick Walsh had also been murdered earlier in the year by a gang from Tallaght Co Dublin, who had traveled down to Co Cork to carry out a number of raids, and fled to England when the heat came on later.
Fear also coursed through the veins of the vulnerable and elderly, it could happen again.
and it did. In Co Roscommon a week later in what was almost a copycat attack, two elderly unmarried sisters were savagely beaten with an iron bar, one of them died.
The following night in Co Sligo, a relatively young 65 year old woman was attacked in her home by a gang. 

Anger and outrage inspires Muintir Na Tire to set up Community Alert

The upside of the growing anger was used positively, because anger can inspire us to change, to improve conditions; anger can inspire us to be better. The positivism was inspired and directed by the leaders of the community organisation Muintir Na Tire at the time. 
At a meeting of Imokilly Region Muintir na Tire, held in Dungourney on Fri 22nd November 1984 attended by eleven Community Councils, it was decided to initiate a series of open public meetings throughout East Cork, to discuss the tragedy and the concern about safety of the elderly especially in isolated areas.
After this meeting it was Muintir na Tire Imokilly Region Development Officer Mr Kevin Hickey who coined the term Community Alert.
The term was first used on the posters advertising the various meetings, and was accepted as the actual organisation name later.

A meeting was held in Carrigtwohill December 6th. 1984  where an enormous crowd, estimated at over 300 packed into the Community Hall. They listened to speakers, such as Muintir na Tire National Secretary Sean Hegarty, Chief Superintendent Tom O’Reilly who had come down from the Gárda Community Relations section based in Dublin. Local T.D Michael Ahern spoke, he was a member of Carrigtwohill Community Council at the time and he gave valuable support to develop Community Alert from day one. This meeting in Carrigtwohill was also significant due to the decision by RTE to record in Carrigtwohill the following morning a Nationwide program dealing with the robbery murder aftermath.

Much of the Community Alert ethos and ideas, which were coalescing over those two weeks hardened into a, to do list that night. It was a unique moment in time, and in the lives of those present that night - Community Alert was born.

For those idealists who volunteered to develop the concept of Community Alert it was the beginning of many years of effort.

If you wish to attend our commemoration in Carrigtwohil on Octobe 9th please contact us

Diarmuid Cronin.
Community Alert Development Office.
086 – 6000 752 email;

or you can contact us at 021 4500688 and book your place

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Seniors Alert Update

The administration of the Seniors Alert Scheme is moving to Pobal. This is despite the many concerns Muintir na Tíre has raised with the Department that remain unresolved. We will continue to follow up these matters.
In the meantime Pobal has organised a series of information meetings for groups. These are being held in only 5 locations nationwide, at 10am on working days, and only a few days notice has been given for registration. Despite the inconvenience this will cause for voluntary groups we recommend you attend where possible, gather what information you can, and make your views known. Advance registration is required.
 Seniors Alert Scheme Information Session format.
These sessions will be hosted by Pobal and the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government. Two attendees from each organisation may attend. The sessions will give organisations an insight into the online registration process and the operations of the SAS, there will also be an opportunity for questions and answers.
Thursday, 17 September 2015 from 10:00 to 13:30 (IST) - Add to Calendar

Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork - Little Island, Cork IE - View Map


Muintir na Tíre has partnered with Le Chéile Education to provide a suite of training programmes specifically tailored for the community and voluntary sector. Le Chéile is a long established trainer offering courses fully accredited by the National University of Ireland and by FETAC. We have worked with them to identify programmes to match the training needs identified by our communities. The courses initially offered include:

• Active Citizenship and Politics
• Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise
• Tour Guiding and Heritage
• Food Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Course can be held around the country, subject to numbers attending, and there are potential sources of grant aid available to fund them. Interested groups should contact Head Office for more details. If you wish to suggest other courses that might be of benefit to your community please let us know. Further information is available here.

Fermoy drop in for people bereaved by Suicide

Drop in for people bereaved by suicide will be held on Monday 7th September in the Cahill Room of Fermoy Community Resource Centre, 42 McCurtain Street, Fermoy (7.30 - 9.30pm).  For September we will also have a remembrance event to mark world suicide awareness day.  The monthly drop in welcome anyone who has ever lost a loved one through suicide, whether your loss is recent or occurred several years ago.  The support comes from within the group, all of whom are similarly bereaved.  This monthly gathering is quite simply about being in a safe and friendly environment sharing your thoughts and experiences with people who understand your grief.

lantern of Hope in Fermoy Library for Suicide Awareness Week

Lantern of Hope Art Piece will be on display in Fermoy Library during World Suicide Awareness Week (7 - 13th September).  An open invitation is being extended to all members of our community to call into Fermoy Library during World Suicide Awareness week to view the piece which was created by a team of dedicated local artists. Balloons will be placed beside the Lantern of Hope & members of the public are invited to leave message(s) to loved ones that have passed.  These balloons will be released by the community health worker at the end of world suicide awareness week. 

Free internet training course arranged by SECAD (South and East CorkArea Development Ltd)

Please see below and attached information on an upcoming internet training course called “Combating the Digital Divide”which is being arranged by SECAD and will start in the coming weeks.  The “Combating the Digital Divide” training course may be of interest to community volunteers who wish to learn basic internet skills such as setting up email accounts, attaching documents to emails and the use of the internet for community information needs etc.  The course may also be of interest to jobseekers who require similar skills for job applications. 

The courses are FREE and will run for 6 hours in total (either two x mornings OR two x afternoons depending on what suits the participants). 

A list of the locations & dates for the SECAD Combating the Digital Divide courses is provided hereunder, and further information on each course is provided in the attached flyers:    
·        Carrigaline (14 & 15 September)
·        Cobh (28 & 29 September)
·        Midleton (5 & 6 October)
·        Ballincollig (2 & 9 November)
·        Other locations – details to be finalised*

*Dates for further training, for example in the Macroom area, and other community workshops will be forwarded in the coming weeks once final arrangements have been made. 

Places on all courses can be reserved by contacting SECAD directly on 021 4613432.


Thomas Kent's State Funeral will take place on Friday 18th September 2015. On the eve of this day, Thursday 17th September, his remains will arrive at the Chapel in Collins Barracks and following a private family sitting, a prayer service will commence at 6.00pm to which members of the public are welcome (do note that access will be dependent on space). On the same eve, the Barracks and Chapel will remain open to allow all members of the public to pay their respects.

The State Funeral on September 18th will commence at 1.45pm in St. Nicholas Church, Castlelyons. The Church can only accommodate a limited number of people and provision has therefore been made for public viewing of the Funeral outside of the church (an area will be set aside with limited covered seating). 

The proceedings will be broadcast live on RTE 1 and it is anticipated that the ceremony will conclude at approximately 3.00pm, followed by the re-internment of remains at the Kent Family Plot located on site. The re-interment will feature the key elements of a State Funeral including a Military Firing Party rendering honours, the Last Post, the Reveille, and the National Anthem. Accompanying music will be provided by the Cork Prison Officers Choir and the Army Band.

Pride in our Community 2015

To all entries in this years Pride in our Community 2015

The Judging is now complete.  It is important that you keep your project looking well as we may visit it again during September after we get the judges recommendations. 

The Awards ceremony will be held in the Oriel House Hotel Ballincollig in  October. this is always a very enjoyable night where you get a look at all the entries from all three County divisions. This is a great opportunity to see how other groups have improved their own place.

Ballyhoura Development Local Development Forum in Ballyhoura

Save the Date!
Ballyhoura Development Local Development Forum in Ballyhoura
Ballyhoura Development has planned a Local Development Forum on SOCIAL INNOVATION: DESIGNING PROGRESSIVE COMMUNITIES for the 7th to 9th October 2015
It will be celebrating social innovation, providing insights through examples and opening minds to future opportunities.

The conference will run over a 2 day period with a pre-conference evening on October 7th, please note that spaces for evening 1 will be limited.
Pre Forum event on the evening of Wednesday October 7th:
Participants will hear from presenters and later be a ‘fly on the wall’ at a participative Community Planning session.

Day 1 of the Forum, Thursday October 8th:
Participants & Delegates will:- 
Session1: Hear from a keynote speaker and a panel discussion on the potential of Social Innovation from European, National and Local perspectives;
Session 2: Engage in concurrent workshops on themed SMART, SUSTAINABLE and INCLUSIVE innovations across Enterprise, Environment & Social Inclusion, each with a panel sharing their experiences;
Session 3: Exchange views in interactive cafe conversations led by topic specific menus;
Session 4: Be hosted on themed site visits  CREATIVE SECTOR, WELLBEING & HERITAGE, hear from hosts and key project leaders.

Day 2 of the Forum, Friday October 9th:
Session 1: Hear a discussion by panellists on FINANCING SOCIAL INNOVATION
Session 2: Visit stands and have an EXCHANGE NETWORK with a range of projects;
Session 3: Hear an expert on measuring social change and impact.
Post Forum event in the afternoon will focus concurrently on heritage trails and mountain biking – hear the development story and an opportunity to partake in walking trails or on bike trails.

This is a wonderful opportunity for delegates to network in social innovative spaces based in Croom, County Limerick.

If you would like to be sent a programme of the conference to book your place please indicate by return email to

We look forward to welcoming you and your colleagues to Ballyhoura Country to engage in this inaugural conference
Social Media: Facebook BallyhouraDevelopmentLtd & Twitter Handle @BallyhouraDev

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Register for Community Alert commemoration

We intend to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Muintir na Tire Community Alert in Carrigtwohill on the 9th of October 2015.
We intend to honour also those groups who have made such a valuable contribution to the safety and security of their neighbours throughout the country.
Please contact us to register your groups intention to attend the commemoration.

Registration is open to any group who contact; 
Diarmuid Cronin. 
Community Alert Development Officer