Hundreds of Elected Representatives and delegates from across Ireland visited Trim last week to attend the Association of Irish Local Government (AILG) Seminar
The Association of Irish Local Government (AILG) held their Autumn Seminar on 14th and 15th of September, hosting councillors from across Ireland at the Knightsbrook Hotel for a packed programme of discussion which was inspired by Ireland’s 3 key priorities as part of its Presidency of the Council of Europe, its first time to hold such a prestigious mandate in twenty years.
The event was officially opened by Minister Peter Burke, Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage who made a presentation to 22 elected councillors from across the country who had recently completed a newly developed UCC accredited course in Climate Action.
Newly elected Cathaoirleach of Meath County Council and Vice President of the AILG, Cllr. Nick Killian was on hand with Chief Executive Ms. Jackie Maguire to welcome councillors from across Ireland and said it was an ‘honour’ to welcome his fellow delegates to Trim and ‘show them all that county Meath has to offer’.
Distinguished guest speakers for the first session of the day included Bernd Vöhringer, President of the Chamber of Local Authorities of the Congress in the Council of Europe and Larisa Miculeț, Moldovan Ambassador to Ireland who discussed the resilience of local government in responding to geopolitical tensions in Europe. A sobering remote address was also delivered by the Deputy Mayor of Bucha in Ukraine, a town which bore the brunt of the assault in March when Russians attempted to take the capital Kyiv.
Meath Gaelic Senior football manager and Principal of St. Patrick’s Classical School Colm O’ Rourke delivered a keynote address and spoke about the importance of leadership during the second session of the day which recognised young people as community leaders and active citizens in their local communities. Guest speakers included Brian Doyle and Kay McCabe from Involve Youth Project Meath and Grayson McGill, National Executive Meath Comhairle na nÓg representative who gave their insights and perspectives on how to ensure the voices of young people are heard in the local community.
An engaging discussion on how to promote equality, inclusion and diversity in local government took place in the afternoon which was led by Senator Fiona O’ Loughlin, Chair of the Irish Women’s Parliamentary Caucus and Leader of the Irish Parliamentary delegation to the Council of Europe. Cllr. Carmel Brady, Chair of the Women’s Regional Caucus and Cllr. Darcy Lonergan, Chair of the Dublin City Women’s Committee spoke about the opportunities and challenges in setting up such networks for female councillors and their future goals. The National Women’s Council were also on hand to discuss their newly launched family-friendly toolkit for local authorities and Bernie Bradley from the Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission
Concluded the session by presenting on how local councillors can support the implementation of the Public Sector Duty in local government.
As the Seminar was held in County Meath this year, the final presentation of the day was an insightful case study presented by Ms Pilar Aguar Fernández, Director, Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) of the European Commission whose headquarters is located in Grange, Co. Meath.
Minster Thomas Byrne, Minister for European Affairs, was on hand to close the successful two-day event where he spoke about how Local politics and democracy are at the core of the Council of Europe. The Seminar was concluded with a special long service councillor awards presentation during which a number of councillors were recognised for serving their local communities for almost 50 years as public representatives, including Cllr. Frank McDermott from Westmeath County Council, Cllr. Mary Hilda Kavanagh from Kilkenny County Council and Cllr. PJ Kelly from Laois County Council.
Click HERE to view our photo gallery which captured the full two day event.