Monaghan County Council among 9 Irish finalists shortlisted for 3rd European Innovation in Politics Awards
Nine finalists from Ireland are in the finals of the annual Europe-wide competition for creative political work which is being awarded for the third year by the Innovation in Politics Institute. The Award winners will be announced in Berlin on 4th December 2019. Out of 402 submitted projects from across Europe, 80 finalists were selected by a jury of more than 1,000 citizens from all European countries.
Monaghan County Council has been shortlisted in the Human Rights Awards Category for ‘Supporting people to exercise their right to vote: Your Vote Your Voice – an easy to read guide to voting’.
The Irish finalists are:
|Title of political initiative and award category||Outline of initiative||Politician(s)|
Award category: Community
|Longford Nua is a new mapping project using an App that Longford County Council launched seeking to challenge the status quo; to give a voice back to the people, to engage them at an early stage in the decision-making process. This approach through technology allows local people to share stories about places in Longford Town and make suggestions about how some of them could be reused. There are three elements to the App ‘past, present and possible’ allowing the people of the town to tell the Council their stories, changing the narrative to the positive attributes of the town and to identify opportunities for potential new uses and to involve them in the conversation about the possibilities.||Séamus Butler, Gerry Warnock, Joe Flaherty, John Browne, Martin Monaghan, Peggy Nolan, Gerry Hagan, Councillors Longford County Council|
|Supporting people to exercise their right to vote: Your Vote Your Voice – an easy to read guide to voting|
Award category: Human rights
|Your Vote Your Voice is an easy to read guide to voting in Ireland. The guide is written in plain English and uses an accessible layout. It explains clearly the voting process in Ireland and how any person over 18 can exercise their right to vote. Your Vote Your Voice – An easy to read guide to voting was identified as a priority by Monaghan County Council in 2019. Following the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with a Disability in 2018 and with Local and European Elections taking place in 2019 it felt it was an important time to focus on the rights of people with a disability, in particular, the right to vote.||Séamus Coyle, Councillor and Cathaoirleach (Chair) Monaghan County Council|
|Reproductive justice: mandatory inquests for all maternal deaths|
Award category: Human rights
|The introduction of mandatory inquests for all maternal deaths become law in July 2019, a first in Europe specifically for maternal deaths. Despite persistent patterns of women dying in Irish maternity hospitals, these deaths were not subject to public scrutiny. Between 2011-2013, there were 27 maternal deaths, with only three inquests. Ireland was failing obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 2, the right to life, including the right to know why sudden death has occurred. The third dimension of Article 2, a remedy to prevent such deaths in future, was denied by the absence of inquest. Between 2008 and 2014, eight families fought for inquests to discover why the mothers of their children had died giving birth. All returned verdicts of death by medical misadventure, signalling catastrophic failures of care. In 2014, independent parliamentarian Clare Daly TD joined hands with the Elephant Collective, grassroots citizen activists, to achieve this. While the Collective toured the country with its multi-media exhibition to raise public awareness, Deputy Daly worked relentlessly in Dáil Eireann introducing a bill to secure legal reform. In May 2019, under the careful stewardship of Minister for Justice and Equality Charles Flanagan, who with his staff worked extraordinarily hard on respectful legal approaches, the Dáil passed the Coroners (Amendment) Bill 2018 for mandatory inquests for all maternal deaths.||Clare Daly former TD and current MEP|
|Moyross Training at The Bays|
Award category: Jobs
|A low level of economic activity and lack of any significant economic base is a particular problem within the Moyross area of Limerick city. The 2016 census shows that nearly of quarter of the electoral divisions with the highest unemployment areas in Ireland were in Limerick City and County, including Ballynanty (Moyross), with 43.6% unemployment. The target group for The Bays Training programme is unemployed adults aged over 18, primarily from within the Moyross regeneration area of Limerick City. There is a high youth dependency rate (about 32%) in the regeneration areas of Limerick. “The Bays” training facility delivers an integrated service approach to equip unemployed residents of the Northside regeneration area of Limerick City with the skills and confidence to secure employment. The facility provides a trades-based training approach focused on equipping clients with industry-specific skills currently being sought in sectors such as construction and manufacturing. All training modules are certified.||Frankie Daly, Councillor Limerick City and County Council|
|Athboy Walkability and Inclusive Town Developments|
Award category: Human rights
|Promoting Athboy as an inclusive and progressive town, Councillor David Gilroy recently led an Age-Friendly Walkability Audit in the town to address accessibility. A unique aspect of this audit was considering cognitive and sensory impairment as well as physical access issues. Cllr Gilroy works closely with the business community, and Athboy has been nominated as Meath’s Friendliest Town in this year’s retail excellence awards. Athboy has a fantastic community centre that features a “Changing Places’ toilet facility, which has a height-adjustable bench and hoists to enable people with more profound disabilities to use facilities. Cllr Gilroy is Chairman of Boyne Valley Tourism, instrumental in the “Spirits of Meath” festival which will now be supported to develop as an international festival centred on the original site of Samhain/Halloween. In 2019, Athboy is hosting the Leinster Fleadh, a prestigious traditional Irish music competition. Athboy is close to one of Meath’s two Gaeltacht areas where the Irish language is spoken daily. Athboy has many other inclusive and progressive developments, including biodiversity zones and a sensory garden. Cllr Gilroy is supporting community consultation for the development of a community recreational area/park in the town.||David Gilroy, Councillor Meath County Council|
|Age Friendly Ireland, A Shared Service of Local Government|
Award category: Quality of life
|In April 2019, Ireland became the first country ever to have a full country committed to the World Health Organisation’s Age-Friendly Programme. Meath County Council takes the lead on developing Ireland as an Age-Friendly country through its establishment of an Age-Friendly Ireland local government shared service. The shared service provides support and guidance to all 31 local authorities in developing their county and city Age Friendly Programmes. Age-Friendly Ireland works in partnership with the public sector, private sector and NGO sector to prepare Ireland for population ageing and to address older people’s issues under the eight themes of the World Health Organisation’s Age-Friendly Programme. When philanthropic funding for this work came to an end, Meath County Council offered to host the Age-Friendly Programme on an interim basis to ensure continuity to the work. Meath County Council then bid to host the Shared Service for Age-Friendly work in Ireland. This has been in operation as shared service since 2018. Ireland’s Age-Friendly Programme is at an advanced stage and well regarded internationally, with continued support from Meath County Council to drive this innovative work.||Wayne Harding, Councillor and Cathaoirleach (Chair) Meath County Council|
|First time divestment from fossil fuels|
Award category: Ecology
|The Fossil Fuel Divestment Act was introduced by Thomas Pringle TD. The Act obliges the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) to divest public money from investments in companies whose primary activity is fossil fuel exploration, extraction or processing. The ISIF is a €7.9 billion commercial investment fund, designed to support economic activity and employment in Ireland. It is managed by the National Treasury Management Agency and reports to the Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform. Once the legislation was enacted in December 2018, the ISIF immediately moved to divest all investments covered by the law. This amounted to 38 global companies and a total of €68m of public money divested. Its introduction was an attempt to compel the Irish Government to respond to Article 2 of the Paris Agreement, where States commit to making finance flows consistent with action on climate change, and to highlight the need to significantly speed up the phase-out of fossil fuels in Ireland and globally if the Paris Agreement temperature limits are to be achieved. The Bill was inspired by the global Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement and sought to contribute to its continued growth.||Thomas Pringle, TD for Donegal|
|Creative Ireland Programme|
Award category: Civilisation (arts, science, education)
|The Creative Ireland Programme is an all-of-Government five-year initiative to place creativity at the centre of public policy. Led by Minister Josepha Madigan at the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the core proposition of the Programme is that participation in cultural and creative activity promotes individual, community and national wellbeing. Two and a half years in, the Programme is realising the proposition by devising and facilitating a range of innovative and empowering initiatives to support the creative potential of Irish citizens. The Programme promotes understanding and appreciation of the value of creativity in all its forms; engages and influences decision-makers to embed creativity across public policy, and supports and enable participation in creative activities. It is built around five pillars: Enabling the Creative Potential of our Young People; Creative Communities; Investing in our Creative and Cultural Infrastructure; Ireland as a Centre of Creative Excellence; Our Global Reputation. The Programme’s collaborative approach, working across sectors, government and state agencies, combined with a powerful vision and strong leadership, has facilitated a transformational change in the perception of creativity as a catalyst for positive change for Irish citizens.||Josepha Madigan, TD and Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht|
|A New Public Library Strategy: Our Public Library 2022: inspiring, connecting and empowering communities|
Award category: Civilisation (arts, science, education)
|Mr Michael Ring, TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development published the new public library strategy ‘Our Public Libraries 2022 “Inspiring, Connecting and Empowering Communities’ in 2018. The strategy aims to make libraries more open, accessible, and better able to meet the needs of the public in an ever-changing society. It also seeks to improve access, use and visibility of the library, developing them as community hubs. The removal of library fines is a recent initiative under the strategy and ensure finances are not a barrier to enjoying the benefits of the library. The new My Open Library service will extend to a hundred branches by 2022. In 2018 the strategy provided the platform for an €8 million investment in ICT, equipment and software to support the growing digital and technological demands of modern society. This supported the installation of meeting room technologies and digital learning suites in public libraries. Improving health and wellbeing for people in all communities is a national priority. Healthy Ireland, the Government’s national strategy to improve health and wellbeing, places a focus on illness prevention, individual awareness and keeping people healthy for longer. Public libraries are now delivering nationwide the Healthy Ireland at Your Library programme, which provides valuable health and wellbeing information to communities.||Michael Ring, TD and Minister for Rural and Community Development|
Edward Strasser, founder and CEO of the Innovation in Politics Institute commented:
‘The Innovation in Politics Awards reward and support politicians in Europe who break new ground, who are creative and achieve results, regardless of party affiliation or political level. By highlighting examples of effective political initiatives, we want to strengthen democracy and democratic politicians. This approach has gained acceptance – the Innovation in Politics Awards have grown in scope and influence each year since they commenced in 2017’.
The Awards are partnered in Ireland by Dublin City University (DCU). Deiric O Broin of its School of Law and Government commented:
‘The Awards highlight a range of examples of decisions and actions by politicians that make a real and positive difference to people and communities around Ireland. It is important to showcase examples of good politics, even more so when democracy itself is facing challenges and when trust in politics is more important than ever’.
About Innovation in Politics Awards
The Innovation in Politics Awards are presented by the Innovation in Politics Institute, a Europe-wide organisation with offices in Vienna and Berlin as well as associated partners in Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
A list of all finalists for the 2019 Innovation in Politics Awards is available on http://innovationinpolitics.eu/finalists/2019