The Working Group on Citizen Engagement was set up by the Government in September 2013 under the chairmanship of Fr. Sean Healy. The role of this Group was to make recommendations to ensure more extensive and diverse input by citizens into local government decision making. The Group proposed that a “Public Participation Network” be established in each local authority area to enable the public to take an active formal role in relevant policy making and committees of the Local Authority”.
In 2014, in response to these recommendations, Public Participation Networks were set up in each local authority area in Ireland under Section 46 of the Local Government Reform Act 2014. The aim of this was to provide a “framework for public participation in local government,……….. by which citizens and communities will be encouraged and supported to participate in the decision-making processes of the local authority”.