Muintir na Tíre have been involved in many initiatives and projects throughout its history. Some of the projects they have been involved in include rural electrification, building of community halls and centres, EEC Pilot Project for the Training of Trainers and The Tidy Towns competition. Further information on the many projects they have been involved in can be found here.
Some of the files that I have recently catalogued have dealt with two big initiatives that Muintir na Tíre have been involved in. Both of these initiatives involved community development and empowering the local community to work together.
The first initiative is Community Alert which Muintir na Tíre are still involved with today. Muintir na Tíre became involved with Community Crime Prevention back in 1985. The idea of Community Alert was Muintir’s response to a number of vicious attacks on elderly people in 1984 and 1985 in rural Ireland.
Muintir na Tíre worked with An Garda Síochana to establish the community crime prevention programme. Neighbourhood Watch had been introduced in urban areas in 1984 and Community Alert was launched in 1985 for rural areas.
Community Alert was organised by local community councils or interested local people with the help of a Muintir na Tíre Development Officer and a Garda. Community Alert road signs were erected in local areas and a local campaign was established.
Funding for Community Alert was provided by government departments including Department of Social, Family and community Affairs, Department of Health and Children and Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.
The files in the collection give us a great understanding of the development of community alert and how Muintir na Tíre were to the forefront of its development. To find out more about the Community Text Alert Scheme run by Muintir na Tíre today visit here.
The second initiative that Muintir na Tíre was involved in was with the Youth Employment Agency. They employed an Enterprise Development Officer to work with community groups to establish community enterprises to create jobs in the local community.
The beginnings of an initiative to have full time staff involved in community development training began with the EEC Pilot Project in the 1970s but it was not until the mid 1980s that they got to initiate the initiative. Through the support and financial backing of the Youth Employment Agency, which later became FÁS, they were able to employ a full time Enterprise Development Officer.
This work was led by Eamon O’Sullivan, the Enterprise Development Officer, and he worked with numerous community groups such as Burgess Community Enterprise Group, Castletownroache Community Enterprise Co-op, Galbally Community Enterprise Group and Tallow Community Enterprise Group.
The files detail the work that Eamon did with each group to investigate and establish various community enterprises. They also detail how the state agencies were working with different groups to improve the unemployment situation that was in Ireland during the 1980s.
The programme ran until 1988 and while there was some success with industries formed by local Enterprise groups not all groups involved in the programme were a success. The files provide us with great insight into the programme and how Muintir na Tíre worked with government departments. The programme was another example of how Muintir na Tíre was always working with communities to be self-reliant.
There are many more examples of the initiatives that Muintir na Tíre were involved in in the collection and this shows the impact and involvement that they have had on Irish society in their 80 year history.