I addressed the Public Participation Network Annual Conference in the Woodford Dolmen Hotel, Carlow, this week.
The PPNs around the country carry out outstanding work on behalf of their communities and it was great to meet so many of their representatives.
By the end of last year there were 15,000 PPN member organisations.
Their role in promoting citizen engagement is invaluable, empowering as it does our communities’ voices to have their say on the local and national issues that affect their families, friends and neighbours.
Volunteering is another crucial aspect of the PPNs work. As Minister for Community Development, I am working with my department on the new Volunteering Strategy that will provide a vision for – and recognition of – the strong volunteering culture in Ireland.