Strengthening the democratic contribution of NGOs and nonprofit organisations

Another world

“Another world is not only possible, she’s on her way.  Maybe many of us won’t be here to greet her, but on a quiet day, if I listen carefully, I can her her breathing.” Arundhati Roy (2003)

Giving a strong voice to all in society

This is the text of an editorial I published in The Examiner on 7 June 2013, with my Advocacy Initiative hat on. ON the surface it may seem natural that any government would be hesitant to fund criticism of its own policies. Is this not simply a case of an organisation in receipt of state funds biting the hand that feeds it? At first glance the argument against state funding.. Read More

Transfer Assessment

30 May 2013 Sara, Maureen, John and Kathleen I was not worried about the Transfer Assessment, it was clear that it was a formal process and I would not have been put forward for it if I was not ready.  The panel involved giving a short presentation of the research, I had a powerpoint set up from last year so I just needed to up date it.  It was useful.. Read More

Work in Phd. Phd into work.

I think I had thought about this Phd topic before I started working with The Advocacy Initiative, after all funding is an issue that is very hard to get away from, but I did intend it to be as complementary as possible. That said, I don’t really think there has been as much ‘feeding in and feeding out’ as I initially would have anticipated.  I think the Phd reading is.. Read More

Chapter 1. Draft 1.

I’ve sent it. Nervous. So before I get any feedback on it here’s what I think are the strengths and weaknesses of my first attempt at a theoretical chapter on participatory democracy. Strengths: Its a bona fide piece of writing, written down into paragraphs with a structure! I think it ends up connecting to my research question, in other words it has the beginnings of an ‘NGO test’ which might.. Read More

What does it do?

This is the published text of a letter I wrote to the Irish Times just before Christmas, and was published on 31 December.  It responds to a particular editorial, but reflects some of the reading I have been doing about associative democracy and the functions of nonprofit organisations. Sir, – In reading your editorial, I am struck that you pose a challenge to the community and voluntary sector which is not without.. Read More

So will your thesis have a gender perspective?

Uhm…. The G question, always throws me… ‘where is the gender analysis in that?’ … ah… uhm…. yes of course, not problem, its just…. So it happened again tonight at the PhD roundtable, we were discussing someone’s work about gender and and the 1913 lockout, interesting stuff says I – in a ‘has nothing to do with what I am doing’, sort of a way. The reading was an article.. Read More


Well its taken a bit longer than I anticipated, but beginning to feel like I am getting into the reading on participatory democracy. Some if it is very tough going, some of it really exciting.  The problem is now I don’t know where to stop, the more I read the broader it gets. How important is the earlier theoretical stuff, should I concentrate on more recent writing?  How much do.. Read More


Reading about democracy at the moment and came across this: The first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class, to win the battle of democracy. – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels The Communist Manifesto It cannot all be about participation in the sense of consultation, participation has to mean being the decision-makers not just influencing the decision-makers. Is there.. Read More