‘We have the most committed bunch of volunteer groups’

By Mary Dennehy

SABINA Higgins participated in an online event to acknowledge the work of the 760 member groups of the South Dublin County Public Participation Network during 2020.

An independent umbrella organisation, the Public Participation Network (PPN) brings all voluntary and community groups in South Dublin County together. 


Sabina Higgins participated in an online event to acknowledge the work of 760 member groups of PPN

Before Christmas, the PPN held its AGM and gathered online to take a look back at the work of its member groups in 2020, and the efforts of all living in South Dublin County communities.

In her address to the local PPN, Sabina Higgins spoke of the kindness shown, the new connections “forged” and the inspiring spirit of solidarity that “grew and flourished” during the pandemic.

“Recent months have served as important proof, if proof were indeed needed, that the true foundations for a caring and ethical society can be traced back to the quality of communities in which we create and in which we live together – communities that work together, that recognise the needs of all members”, Ms Higgins said in her video address.

“The pandemic made us look afresh at ourselves and to see ourselves as part of a collective of citizens caught in the middle of a new experience, and as a result brought a consciousness that we are all part of one group, and that our behaviour matters.”

Ms Higgins congratulated and thanked the South Dublin County PPN on its “great response” that was so widespread, extending to every part of the county.

Speaking to members of the PPN, Ms Higgins said: “We are so privileged to live in a democracy where the organs of the State and some 50,000 health and public sector workers  took over and stood in the front line of action and danger. 

“Then we had the second line like yourselves that volunteered and organised in your organisations and communities.”

According to PPN co-ordinator Kieran Walsh, PPN membership is open to any groups which are operating in the area and who want to collectively have their voice heard within the council.

“The PPNs objectives are clear, to bring the community perspective to the council, to promote environmental issues and to make sure that social inclusion is at the heart of policy making”, Mr Walsh said.

PPN Kieran Walsh 1

Kieran Walsh, PPN co-ordinator

Commenting on December’s online AGM, Mr Walsh said: “We were delighted to have Sabina Higgins give an address to the membership.

“It really shows how valued community groups are in lockdown.”

Looking back on 2020, Mr Walsh said: “The highlight for me last year was our members’ response to the Covid crisis.

“The groups really stepped up and became another line of defence against the pandemic.

“It was very clear to me that we have the most committed bunch of volunteer groups.”

The online AGM also saw the election of reps to various committees.

One of the PPN’s founding members, Ronan Leydon from Clondalkin, also completed his maximum term on the PPN Secretariat and he handed over the office to a renewed team.

“We have elected a really strong team”, Mr Leydon said.

“While I am sad to leave the Secretariat, I am happy it is in very capable hands.

“It has been a privilege to participate in building this PPN and to encounter so many like-minded people who gave freely of their time and talents both as colleagues on the secretariat and within the overall PPN organisation.

“The PPN has grown into a vibrant member-led organisation.”

For further information on the South Dublin County PPN visit HERE.

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