Strengthening the democratic contribution of NGOs and nonprofit organisations

Confetti time

Soooooo, this blog has been even quieter than usual, but in my defence I have been busy. Helen was born on 4th of February just before we moved out of our house for renovations. We are back now though and I have a desk, a computer, and a creche. I did do some work while on maternity leave, and I think it has been important in terms of keeping in.. Read More

Turning ourselves inside out – the rights and responsibilities of participation for CSOs

Paper presented to a Dochas Participation seminar on 16 April 2015. I am speaking to you today because I have just spent the last three years running a project called The Advocacy Initiative; a broad community and voluntary sector project aimed at examining and better understanding the advocacy of C&V organisations. The Initiative first emerged in 2008, so its history parallels the turmoil of the last six years. It was.. Read More

Time for a new social contract? Reflections from The Advocacy Initiative

This week I was delighted to be invited to give a short input at a seminar launching Joe Larragy’s new book on the community and voluntary pillar, Asymmetric Engagement. One of a number of contributors we were asked to consider the question ‘Time for a new Social Contract?’. My presentation drew on the findings of The Advocacy Initiative. The question of whether we need a new social contract sent me.. Read More

Inside out and outside in

At a recent PhD roundtable discussion (29.09.2014) we discussed a couple of readings about the ethics of research. Can outsiders research vulnerable groups ethically? Where do we stand on our own positionality? I was struck by the complexity of the question and indeed identity. You are never fully an insider or an outsider, are you? Or at least I don’t think I have ever fully felt like an insider, but.. Read More

It’s SSNOing!

Reflections on the grant allocation for the Scheme to Support National Organisations 2014-2016 Earlier this year the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government announced the third round of this scheme. There were substantial changes to the parameters of the scheme, the application process for which was now to be managed by Pobail. This new scheme had a number of clear distinguishing characteristics. It was for national organisations that focus.. Read More

I don’t really understand the point of your argument…

Oh… but you don’t say that in the paper. Didn’t I? I had an interesting experience in my annual PhD roundtable presentation this evening.  It felt in some ways more like an attack than a discussion, and I am left trying to think that I learned from the experience. I presented my first case study, or at least the write up of my first case study on EAPN Ireland.  Its.. Read More

My first… conference paper!

Annual PSAI conference in Dublin on 20 October… well, it was not a big crowd, which maybe was just as well as I was a bit nervous going into it. The paper was on the democratic case for CSO advocacy, and went something like this: lots of problems with democracy, one of the answers is more participation, but different ideas of what participation is, CSOs have important role in participation in general.. Read More

Just saying…

I felt the need to put the following statement from Irish Aid’s policy on civil society, beside a sample service level agreement which the HSE signs with those organisations it funds. “In the past, civil society organisations often established parallel service delivery functions and tried to replace the role of the state in service delivery. The limitations of this approach are now widely recognised and civil society organisations now tend to seek a complementary.. Read More

On the edges…

The experience of being a working mother, Phd student and activist is one of being half there.  Involved but not really at the heart of things. The obvious exemption is being a mother (there is no half way on that one). I am director of The Advocacy initiative, but in 2.5 days a week I know I am not at every event I should be, don’t read everything, and certainly.. Read More