On the evening of June 20th 2013 at LIT Tipperary (Thurles), over 70 people from across the county and beyond, gathered to discuss how locally owned enterprises could respond to the needs or rural communities and provide much needed jobs.
Organised by North Tipperary LEADER Partnership in association with the Community and Voluntary Association (CAVA), the event was opened by national broadcaster Duncan Stewart who pointed to the potential for ‘thriving community co-ops to be set up across Ireland that could provide locally produced food and energy. These could transform the economic prospects of rural Ireland, save us money and create jobs.’
In depth discussion followed 4 brief case studies from some of the country’s leading examples of social and community enterprise. Mary Fogarty gave an inspiring talk on setting up Ireland’s First co-operative village shop and tearoom in Loughmore, lessons from Ireland’s most successful Community-run home insulation scheme in Drombane were shared by Noel Byrne. The experience of developing Ireland’s First Community-owned wind turbine in Templederry was introduced by John Fogerty while Davie Philip from Ireland’s first “community-owned farm” in Cloughjordan introduced the concept of community supported agriculture and how the model could be used to support other local businesses. Pat Fleming from Clonmel gave participants an overview of a new national Communities Creating Jobs network (www.ccjireland.com)
The evening ended with a keynote address by former GAA president and Munster MEP Sean Kelly who stated how inspired he was by the initiatives presented. According to Kelly, even without the Troika, one could say that Ireland had already lost its sovereignty through its dependence on foreign oil imports. If communities could network and follow the inspiring example of Loughmore, Templederry, Drombane, or Cloughjordan, it could be the start of something as big as the GAA itself, and could help win back real independence for Ireland.
The importance of sharing information and learning for successful projects was stressed by event participants. For details of the discussions, presentations, pictures and follow up are on the Resources
section of this website, or call 085 7409023.