Unique cross-border voice established

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Wednesday, October 31st, 2012
A new and unique cross-border group is being established by Newry and Mourne District Council, Louth County Council and the PEACE III Southern Partnership’s Future Foundations priority. Up to fifty individuals from all walks of life from Newry and Mourne and from Dundalk and North County Louth are being invited to come together in a joint People’s Panel which is the first of its kind to be organised on a cross-border basis. It is supported by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund through the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (PEACE III) managed by the Special EU Programmes Body Launching the project, Councillor John McArdle, Mayor of Newry and Mourne, said, “The Council has previous experience of operating a successful People’s Panel and the move to establish a panel on a cross-border basis is a natural progression given the growing co-operation between the two districts. I look forward to the results of this innovative exercise in community consultation.” Explaining the concept, Regina Mackin, Assistant Director of Newry and Mourne District Council said, “A People’s Panel comprises a number of individuals, in this case twenty five from each area, who are provided with training and information to enable them to act as sounding boards in their areas. Panels sometimes respond to queries from statutory bodies and sometimes suggest areas which they consider need to be debated. “Whichever way a topic is selected the members of the panel debate it and put forward their ideas and comments which are fed to the relevant statutory body. “The members of the panel are drawn from all walks of life so as to be as truly representative as possible of the area and we are particularly anxious to recruit people who can represent those who most often lack a voice in our society. Regina added, “We have appointed Frank Dolaghan of Mentor Economic Developments as the Panel facilitator and he will assist with recruitment and capacity building of panel members as well as facilitating meetings of the Panel. “Anyone interested in applying for membership of the panel can contact Frank on 07740823713 or email frank.dolaghan@btconnect.com for full details.”
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