'Cavan Speaks' promotes inclusion & social integration

Wednesday 09 October 2019

'Cavan Speaks' promotes inclusion & social integration

Cavan Chapter Community Project highlights the advantages of living in a culturally diverse county

On Friday 27 September women from The Next Chapter Cavan Chapter launched their Community Project ‘Cavan Speaks’ with an event to celebrate the cultural diversity within the county. As well as looking at the barriers and constraints that may sometimes inhibit integration efforts, local ladies from the Cavan Chapter want to encourage harmonious interaction, equal rights and equal opportunities for everyone.

Photo: Distinguished guests, speakers and members of the Cavan Chapter at the recent launch of 'Cavan Speaks' at the Cavan Crystal Hotel, County Cavan.

The event provided a platform for guest speakers as well as showcasing a series of short films telling stories of life in Cavan by both locals and individuals new to the community. Cavan Speaks was attended by over 60 delegates as well as distinguished guests Senator Joe O'Reilly, Deputy Brendan Smith, Cllr Trevor Smith and Cllr Sarah O'Reilly.

During the event the audience were invited to take part in a workshop involving round table group discussions. The workshop posed a series of questions on local issues including
How can we promote diversity in our town or village?
Which Irish Values should drive integration in our community?
How can we promote integration while keeping your own cultural identity?
How do we encourage our children/teenagers to integrate?
Is rural transport/infactructure equipped to encourage integration?
How well does Cavan embrace differences?
How can community groups promote the positive effects of diversity and inclusion?

The questions were aimed at encouraging a wider discussion with the audience and the findings will inform a final report and recommendations which will be published in due course.

Photo: Next Chapter participant Irene Donegan (far side of the table) in discussion with delegates attending 'Cavan Speaks' 
Chapter Member Irene Donegan provided a report from the event

“A very successful event took place at the Cavan Crystal Hotel in Cavan which was well attended by local Community Groups and local public representatives as well as local statutory bodies.

Guest speakers on the day were Anthony J. Quinn, currently Writer in Residence in Cavan, Con Cullen, Senior Youth Worker at Bounce Back, Grainne Boyle, Social Inclusion Department from Cavan County Council,  Zeinab El Mustapha, a Sudanese woman who has chosen Cavan as her home and Vanda Brady, from the Philippines, now living in Mullahoran in County Cavan.  Michelle Boyle, the well-known artist currently living in Cavan was very supportive of the event and sent a painting to be displayed on the day together with a written contribution to the event outlining how her artistic practice explores place and belonging.  The very talented poet, Fidel Hogan Walsh, a leading light in the Cavan Chapter, opened and closed the event with two beautiful compositions. The MC for the day was the confident and charming Julie McAvinney, another leading light in the Cavan Chapter.

The highlight of the day was showcasing the videos created by the Group. The videos are a series of composing interviews with a good cross section of diverse people living throughout County Cavan by “extractor” Maria Jordan O’Reilly from Cavan Chapter. In keeping with our aim to promote integration and diversity, the videos were created via a collaboration between Brian Daly of Drumlin Media, Cavan and Dimitri Germanov, a Latvian student studying media studies in Cavan. The resultant videos are stunning. 

The audience participated in a workshop to consult on the key issues and gather information on the barriers and constraints that may sometimes inhibit integration efforts. However, two main themes were clearly evident on the day.  Firstly, Cavan was seen as a very safe place to live by people who come to live in it and secondly, the Local Link Network needs further development to enable better integration of the whole community.

Well done to everyone in Cavan Next Chapter for a wonderful launch event.”

Photo: Guest speaker Zeinab El Mustafa said "Learning about each other culturally will help us understand our differences... we need to interact with each other to build a bridge of trust."

Watch 'Cavan Speaks' short films here

Photo: Next Chapter participant Vanda Marie Brady said " Start listening, not necessarily agreeing. Learn about other cultures. Be open. Recognise us as being there. We are most powerful when we tell our own stories."

Photo: Round table discussions with a Cavan focus

Photo: Round table discussions with delegates from County Cavan

Photo: Round table discussions focussing on local Cavan issues 

The 'Cavan Speaks' Community Project aims to highlight the advantages of living in a culturally diverse county such as Cavan. It promotes the inclusion and social integration of all people into the community as well as encouraging harmonious interaction, equal rights and equal opportunities for everyone. It also recognises that integration is a two-way process between immigrants and locals, the interaction between the two ultimately determines the direction and outcome of the integration process. Developing strategies to accomplish such outcomes in a positive sustainable manner is also a central objective.

Read a recent testimonial from Julie McAvinney, participant from Cavan Chapter here

The Next Chapter project is run by Politics Plus, working in partnership with the Northern Ireland Community and Voluntary Association and Irish Rural Link. This project is funded by the European Union’s Peace IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. Match-funding for The Next Chapter project is provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.