Civil Society

Civil Society Research Cluster

The Civil Society research cluster brings together researchers with interests in civil society, from disciplines such as Applied Social Studies, Cooperative Studies, Geography and Law. Cluster researchers are members of the Irish Civil Society Research Network.

Civil Society Current Research

Changing Landscape of Local and Community Development

In 2014-15, members of the ISS21 Civil Society cluster – the Local and Community Development Working Group – developed a research initiative focused on the Changing Landscape of Local and Community Development in Ireland, funded by the UCC Strategic Research Fund. It set out to investigate the impact of two main strands of policy development affecting the community and voluntary sector: firstly, the range of austerity measures introduced by Government since the economic crisis of 2008, which led to severe cuts in funding to the sector; and secondly, an on-going process of policy change since the late 1990s, linked to Government attempts to align the sector with central and local government priorities and agenda. The latter culminated in the passing of the Local Government Reform Act 2014, which attempted to bring the community and voluntary sector under greater local and central government control, and the introduction of competitive tendering for service contracts established by the State, in place of grants for community sector organisations.

Arising from that project, a conference was held in UCC in October 2015. The conference proceedings can be downloaded here:

Changing Landscape of Local and Community Development


Lost in Austerity

On 23rd February 2012, Niall Crowley (Independent Equality Consultant) delivered a public lecture entitled 'Lost in Austerity: rethinking the community and voluntary sector' at the launch of the ISS21 Civil Society Research Cluster. The panel of discussants included Eve Philips, Co-ordinator, Ballincollig Family Resource Centre; Jim O’Donovan, Director of Services, Community and Enterprise, Cork City Council; Deirdre O’Byrne, independent community consultant; and Siobhan O’Dowd, Community Development Officer, Ballyphehane/Togher Community Development Project, Cork.

This document contains the text of Niall Crowley's lecture together with the contributions by Deirdre O'Byrne and Siobhan O'Dowd.

Download the Lost in Austerity - Niall Crowley Lecture

Civil Society Research Cluster Members

  • Noreen Byrne (Centre for Cooperative Studies)
  • Catherine Forde (Applied Social Studies)
  • Clodagh Harris (Government)
  • Olive McCarthy (Centre for Cooperative Studies)
  • Ray O'Connor (Geography)
  • Feilim Ó hAdhmaill (Applied Social Studies)
  • Mary O'Shaughnessy (Centre for Cooperative Studies)
  • Fred Powell (Applied Social Studies)
  • Carol Power (Centre for Cooperative Studies) (Cluster Leader)
  • Theresa Reidy (Government)
  • Michael Ward (Centre for Cooperative Studies)

University College Cork

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