The downturn: what happens next?

10 April 2013
The effects of the ongoing economic downturn on Ireland are certainly far-reaching. However, one of the few welcome ones is that people are discussing and debating where we go next. One of the more ambitious events, which takes in both this country and others is called Setting Goals for a Better Ireland in a New World and subtitled A Claiming Our Future Event with Dochas and the Wheel. Dochas you will already know as the association of Irish Non-Governmental Development Organisations. The wheel ( is a support and representative body connecting community and voluntary organisations and charities across Ireland. Established in 1999, The Wheel has evolved to become a resource centre and forum for the community and voluntary sector. This event is a chance to debate and build an agenda for Irish, EU and world leaders on the Ireland we want and the world we want. Why now — apart from the obvious need to think ahead? Well, as the organisers point out, Ireland is growing more unequal, poverty is deepening, unemployment continues at an unacceptable level, and emigration is in full flow. Ireland, they suggest, needs a new model of development and a new set of goals to guide and shape national strategy and public policy. This event will identify a set of development goals for Ireland and for the wider world based on values of equality, environmental sustainability, social justice and participation. And the timing of the event is far from random. Ireland holds the Presidency of the European Union just as the EU develops its policy position on what should follow the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations. This event provides an opportunity to influence the debate on the goals that should shape the future for Ireland and for the wider world. The conclusions from the event will be presented to EU Development Ministers prior to their May Council meeting. You can register (or just find out more) at: It’s on the 20th but if you’re traveling to Cork on that day for The Gathering, you should be able (just) to fit in the debate before joining FOL’s big night out!