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Minister Joe O’Brien launches a Guide for Inclusive Community Engagement in Local Planning and Decision Making

Minister Joe O’Brien launches a Guide for Inclusive Community Engagement in Local Planning and Decision Making

  • Updated guide includes resources to help local organisations to ensure that all voices are heard
  • Training provided to local authorities and other local stakeholders on the guide
  • The handy how-to reference guide on good engagement and consultation is to be followed by a series of videos

Minister of State, with responsibility for Community Development, Charities and Integration, Joe O’Brien TD, has today, (Wednesday 25th October), officially launched an updated, second version of ‘A Guide for Inclusive Community Engagement in Local Planning and Decision Making.’

The launch was held at an event showcasing the learnings from the project, which developed and tested strategies to ensure that marginalised and disadvantaged communities have real opportunities to be heard in local planning and decision-making processes.

Building on the original version of the guide, and using learnings from three pilot programmes and feedback gained from the process, the guide has been updated to include additional case studies and resources to support local authorities as well as any organisations engaged in planning and decision making at a local level.

Speaking at today’s launch, Minister Joe O’Brien said:

“I am very pleased to be here today to launch this updated guide. My department, with Pobal, has worked with the Community and Voluntary Sector, to use the experience and feedback gained over the last number of months to develop this expanded guide which gives additional tools to local decision making bodies to ensure the voices of marginalised groups are heard and included in local planning and decision making.

“I’ve said this before and will continue to say it – the best decisions are those we make together, where all are given the opportunity to share their perspectives and I am delighted that the process is dynamic and flexible so that we can adapt and improve as we learn what works best.

“I urge everyone here today to bring this guide back to their organisations, use it, champion it and embed it in your work”.

This guide builds on Ireland’s commitment to the Sustainable Development principle of ‘Leave no one behind’, and has been developed by the Department together with Pobal, Community Work Ireland, as well as members of the Irish Local Development Network and local government.

Training programmes on the guide as well as on inter-cultural awareness and the Public Sector Duty have already been rolled out this year. Further training will be provided to local authority staff over the coming weeks on facilitation skills, as well as a series of videos to assist in bringing the principles of engagement to life.

This Dormant Accounts Funded project is part of the wider variety of actions being delivered under Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities , the whole of Government Strategy to support the Community and Voluntary Sector in Ireland 2019-2024.

‘A Guide for Inclusive Community Engagement in Local Planning and Decision Making [Second Edition]’ is available here on .



Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities

The five-year strategy to support the community and voluntary sector in Ireland sets out a long-term vision for our communities in Ireland. It sets a general direction of travel for government policy in relation to the community development, local development and the community and voluntary sectors for the coming decade. The Strategy was co-produced by the Department of Rural and Community Development, Central and Local Government colleagues, and the community and voluntary sectors.


Pobal is an organisation that works on behalf of the Government of Ireland and in collaboration with international partners, to support communities and local agencies towards achieving social inclusion and development.

Pobal operates under the aegis of the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Pobal is governed by a voluntary Board of Directors. Members of the Board are appointed by Government, on the nomination of the Minister for Rural and Community Development, in line with the Guidelines on Appointments to State Boards. The company operates on the basis of a framework agreement with the Department of Rural and Community Development and programme-specific service level agreements with individual departments.

Pobal administers programmes on behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD), Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY), the Department of Health (DoH) /HSE and a number of EU bodies.

Pobal works in the areas of social inclusion, early childhood care and education, local and community development, peace and reconciliation, equality, labour market supports, youth services and education and training.

Dormant Accounts Fund

The Dormant Accounts Acts 2001-2012, together with the Unclaimed Life Assurance Policies Act 2003, provide a framework for the administration of unclaimed accounts in credit institutions (i.e. banks, building societies and An Post) and unclaimed life assurance policies in insurance undertakings.

The main purpose of the legislation is to reunite account or policy holders with their funds in credit institutions or insurance undertakings and in this regard, these bodies are required to take steps to identify and contact the owners of dormant accounts and unclaimed life assurance policies.

However, in order to utilise the unused funds the legislation also introduced a scheme for the disbursement of funds that are unlikely to be reclaimed from dormant accounts and unclaimed policies for the purposes of measures to assist:

1. the personal and social development of persons who are economically or socially disadvantaged;

2. the educational development of persons who are educationally disadvantaged or

3. persons with a disability.