County Monaghan Sustainable Energy Community (SEC), supported by Monaghan Integrated Development (MID), launched their Energy Master Plan (EMP) for County Monaghan at the Íontas Arts & Community Resource Centre, Castleblayney on Tuesday 20th September.
Gabriel O’Connell, CEO of MID, pictured speaking at the launch.

The EMP establishes the baseline of energy use in the county, identifying opportunities to reduce energy consumption, to become more energy efficient, and the plan recommends a range of activities to promote the uptake of Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) grants to make homes more energy efficient. The report recommends targeted community engagement including hosting information clinics and events. A necessary step to promote the uptake of home energy efficiency measures was identified; providing information on the grants available and supporting homeowners with their grant application.

‘Residential Energy accounts for over 53% of total energy consumed in the county, Monaghan has a higher proportion of householders using oil as the main source of heating, 64% v’s 37% nationally. If Monaghan is to do its bit to meet the national targets as set out in the Climate Action Plan by 2030 it requires 700 homes upgrading to B2 annually and 561 homes installing a heat pump annually in County Monaghan. Presently 82% of houses in Monaghan have a C1 or lower BER rating, so we have a long way to go in meeting the 2030 targets’ states Julie Clarke, Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) Development Officer at MID who organised the launch and energy expo.

‘Poultry is the most energy intensive, farming activity, in the County with 240 farms followed by diary with 707 farms. Heating fuel, kerosene, accounts for the highest (49%) form of energy consumption on Monaghan farms’ notes Dawn Murphy of Action Renewables, who completed the study. In the Agriculture sector, the need to encourage the uptake of the Department of Agriculture Food and Marine’s Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Schemes (TAMS) to modernise farm buildings, equipment and PV installation in all agricultural sectors was identified. Similarly, the need to encourage the uptake of the SEAI Support Scheme for Renewable Heating Systems (SSRH) for the installation of biomass renewable heating systems in poultry, pigs and mushroom production to reduce costs and CO2 emissions was also highlighted.

‘County Monaghan SEC is one of 700 SEC’s across the country, 70 of these groups have successfully completed their Energy Master Plans to-date and 130 more are underway’ Susan Richardson from SEAI congratulated County Monaghan SEC on the completion of their EMP. The County Monaghan SEC formed in 2020 when MID brought a range of stakeholders together (Irish Farmers' Association - IFA, Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board - CMETB, Dundalk Institute of Technology - DKIT, Teagasc, Monaghan County Council, MID, South West College - SWC and Transition Monaghan) to begin work on developing an Energy Master Plan for the County. The SEC group secured funding from SEAI to complete the plan which focuses on the residential and agricultural sectors.

Following the EMP Launch, the MID SICAP Team hosted a FREE HOME ENERGY EXPO in the foyer of the Íontas Centre attracting over 80 homeowners. The event presented attendees with ways to make their homes more energy efficient with a breakdown and further information of the various SEAI grants available to support this by Mel Gavin from the Atlantic Technological University (ATU). Homeowners also had access to information and advice on applying for the SEAI Warmer Homes Scheme (from CMETB & SICAP), One Stop Shops Grants (from Kore Insulation), and Individual Home Grants (from County Monaghan SEC & ATU) while Aisling of the Citizens Information Service answered queries about Fuel Allowance eligibility which is one of the qualifying social welfare payments to apply for the Warmer Homes Scheme.

To find out more about the SEAI grants, visit
Click on the link to download and or view a copy of the Energy Master Plan, or telephone Margaret at MID on 042 9749500 (0) for further information.

We were at Moffett Automated Storage’s Grand Opening! 'A proud day in County Monaghan!' as Minister Heather Humphreys said
Monaghan LEADER contributed to the extension, remodel and upgrade of their existing office space, helping increase production and efficiency alongside staff retention and attraction. Moffett announced 30 new positions in the company
Gabriel O'Connell, CEO of MID, spoke on behalf of Monaghan LEADER who provided funding of €195,000 toward the project, under the Enterprise Development theme. The Monaghan Local Community Development Committee (LCDC), Monaghan County Council and MID are delighted to have supported this worthwhile project
MID, through a variety of projects, considers and researches Rural Attractiveness and how to attract people to live and work in County Monaghan, and so, it pleases us to support Moffett Automated Storage’s forward thinking with this LEADER funding to do just that!
Best wishes for the future!
#MASopening #Monaghan #OurRuralFuture

‘Understanding and Caring for our Waterways’ is a practical and hands-on free training programme open to all (18+)
Learn more about and how to assess the structure, function and health of our rivers, lakes and wetlands at free, facilitated water resource management training with Ken Whelan & Martin McGarrigle from 9.30am - 3.30pm;
  • North Monaghan; Sat 3rd & Sun 4th Sept and Sat 8th Oct
  • South Monaghan; Sat 17th & Sun 18th Sept and Sun 9th Oct
*Participants are welcome to do any and or all of the training days - just notify in advance please.
Register to attend the Online Intro Session on Mon 29th Aug, 7-8pm, at 
Register your interest for the Course days in either or all North and South Monaghan locations at; 
The introductory webinar is a great opportunity to get a feel for what this training will entail. The training is open to all; from Tidy Town groups and farmers, to anglers and walkers, wildlife groups and teachers, plus many more! This training is funded by Monaghan LEADER.
For more information, contact Monaghan LEADER at  / 087 176 0877 / 042 974 9500

Ministers McGrath and O’Brien launch the Government’s Social Inclusion Programme Annual Report
• Report details numbers of groups and individuals supported in 2021
• ‘Learning Brief’ – A comparison of Women and Men supported by SICAP also published
• Programme internationally recognised with UN award
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD, joined Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien TD, today (Tuesday 12th July) to launch the ‘Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) Annual Report 2021’
at the Mansion House in Dublin.

SICAP is co-funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and the European Social Fund.

It currently employs approximately 600 community workers across Ireland working to reduce poverty and promote social inclusion and equality through local engagement and partnerships between disadvantaged individuals, community organisations and public sector agencies.

The Programme was recently awarded the prestigious UN Award for Public Service during Covid. A ‘Learning Brief’ which examines the different experiences of men and women who have been
supported by the programme was also launched today.

The SICAP 2021 Annual Report highlights the vital importance of the Programme in addressing inequality and improving outcomes for the most disadvantaged groups and individuals in the country.

In 2021, 2,646 Local Community Groups and 26,483 individuals were supported by the programme.
The report also acknowledges the role of the Local Development Companies (LDCs) and Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) who deliver the Programme at County and local area level.
Speaking at today’s launch, Lord Mayor of Dublin Caroline Conroy said:
“I am delighted today to welcome colleagues and friends from Dublin's community and local development sector who partner with Dublin City Council in delivering the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP). It's success is attributable to the hard work and commitment of all delivery partners working at local and central government and
especially to the programme participants themselves".

“We are busy in July expanding SICAP actions across Dublin to include dedicated service responses to meet the needs of recently arrived Ukrainian refugees".

“This effort supports our wider Community Forum response in helping meet presenting and urgent needs".

“I want to thank our Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) and its staff team for their ongoing and important work overseeing all aspects of SICAP in Dublin and ensuring it has gone from strength to strength since it's inception in 2018".

“SICAP is a proven success for Dublin. Going forward I support an enhanced resource commitment across all aspects of its delivery so that it success is maintained as SICAP continues to adapt and meet the needs of households.”
Launching the report, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD said:
“I am delighted to launch the SICAP Annual Report here in the Mansion House today. This report clearly shows the importance of the Programme in addressing inequality and improving outcomes for the most disadvantaged groups and individuals in the country.”

“I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Minister O’Brien and his Department on winning the prestigious 2022 UN Public Service Award for the social inclusion programme."

“This international award is a wonderful acknowledgement of the immense work of the programme, particularly over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic."

“We cannot underestimate the importance of this programme and its impact in communities around the country.”
Minister O’Brien said:
“I am very pleased to have Minister McGrath join me today to help raise awareness of the important work of SICAP."

“This programme is the State’s primary social inclusion tool and in addition to working daily to target poverty and disadvantage, the programme workers were also hugely responsive to both the Covid crisis and more recently the Ukrainian crisis.”

“Minister McGrath’s presence here today is testament to this programme’s importance in overall Government policy and I am delighted that last year’s Budget provided significant additional funding to SICAP in recognition of that important role it plays in communities across Ireland.”
The Governments Social Inclusion Progress Report was researched, written and produced by Pobal who administer the Programme on behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development.
Pobal’s CEO, Ms Anna Shakespeare, said:
“Pobal is very pleased to work with and on behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD), the Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs), Local Development Companies (LDCs) and other stakeholders towards a common aim of reducing disadvantage, poverty and promoting greater social inclusion and equality”

“I very much welcome the launch of a ‘Learning Brief’ produced by Pobal which is the first detailed gender analysis of the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP)."

“It analyses and compares the different experiences of men and women, who have engaged with the Programme. It is important to understand these differences, what drives them and to
examine what can be done to address the existing barriers”
The SICAP 2021 Annual Report can be downloaded here: 
The Department of Rural and Community Development Press Office
01-773 6843 / 086 7912704

Press release
Minister Joe O’Brien welcomes United Nations Public Service award for the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP)
Published on 23 June 2022
Last updated on 23 June 2022
Social Inclusion Programme recognised as key to the COVID response
Poverty reduction and support for communities key
Joe O’Brien TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities, today (Thursday, 23rd June 2022) welcomed the announcement that the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP)” won a 2022 United Nations Public Service Award.
The prestigious award, in the category of “Institutional resilience and innovative responses to the COVID-19 pandemic” sees international recognition for Ireland’s primary Social Inclusion programme.
SICAP is a Department of Rural and Community Development programme that aims to reduce poverty and promote social inclusion and equality.
It is delivered by supporting communities and individuals via community development, engagement, and collaboration.
Welcoming the award, Minister O’Brien said:
“I am very proud that the SICAP programme has been recognised for this award, an acknowledgement internationally of the immense work of the programme, particularly over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. SICAP supports communities and individuals using local community development approaches, engagement and collaboration within the framework of a national programme. This allows for flexibility to respond to new and emerging local needs aimed at supporting local communities and building community resilience. Some of the innovative responses during the pandemic included food parcels, shop and drop and meals-on-wheels services, friendly calls and phone based crisis counselling services and support to families adapting to digital services.”
The Minister concluded:
“This award, a first for this Department, is testament to the strength of the programme and the hard work and commitment of our DRCD staff, Pobal, Local Government, Local Development Companies and programme beneficiaries. Today, we celebrate public service and continue our commitment and dedication to serving the public interest to the highest possible standard and inspire and encourage others working across the public service.”
SICAP is managed at a local level by 33 Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs), with support from local authorities. The programme is implemented nationally by 46 Local Development Companies (LDCs) across 51 areas.
The budget for the programme in 2022 is €43 million.

Monaghan Integrated Development (MID) and Monaghan Local Action Group are delighted to present this strategic plan for the development of the social enterprise sector in County Monaghan. The County Monaghan Social Enterprise Strategy 2021-2025 is an innovative study, which addresses the key priorities highlighted in the National Social Enterprise Policy, published in July 2019, at a local level in County Monaghan.

Download the Social Enterprise Strategy

Put Spring into your community’s step!

Would your local area and/or group be interested in creating a Biodiversity Plan unique to your area? Monaghan LEADER can help!

Throughout 2019, Monaghan Integrated Development (on behalf of Monaghan Local Action Group) carried out biodiversity training with 85 community groups across Monaghan. This initial training revealed a need for further training and support of community groups in the area of Biodiversity and so, 33 groups embarked on the journey of creating their own professional biodiversity plans and the LEADER funded ‘Biodiversity Plans for Community Groups in Monaghan’ project was born. See some representatives pictured at Lough Muckno, Castleblayney, with the first page of their plan.

Monaghan LEADER commissioned Flynn Furney Environmental Consultants to facilitate the development and co-design of local biodiversity plans. Jennifer McAree of Flynn Furney Environmental Consultants said that ‘this was a great project to be part of and I think it makes communities aware of what they can actually do to help biodiversity on the ground. Thank you!’ All participating groups had one initial information session about the work to be carried out and the potential impact. The plans were developed using a Community-Led Local Development approach with each community group participating and significantly inputting into the design of their individual plan.

The principal aim of this LEADER funded initiative was to increase awareness of the importance of biodiversity to communities but also, to empower individuals and groups to make positive contributions for the benefit of both wildlife and people. Each plan is uniquely designed and fit for purpose within each community setting, allowing for biodiversity to flourish in local areas and ensuring measures are put in place to negate risk and maximise the benefits for the local environment.

As per the plans, ‘Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on Earth. It includes all living things (organisms) that make up the natural world (including humans). Biodiversity also refers to the places where animals and plants live (habitats) and the complex interactions between living things and their environment which we call ecosystems.’ The consultants set out some actions that would be common to all of the participating groups which included but were not limited to; Habitat Creation & Management such as Tree and Hedgerow Planting, and Meadow grasslands and wildflower lawns, Pollinator Friendly Planting; and Protecting Biodiversity and Raising Awareness. The first section of each plan introduces the project with some biodiversity basics. Next, they outline Biodiversity Projects, tailored to the group and area. Finally, there is a schedule for the projects suggested that the group would undertake over the next three years. And so, this LEADER funded Biodiversity project offers the tools for community-led and biodiverse ideas to come to fruition. Some of the proposed larger scale plans include; development of bio sensory play area, planting of native trees and plants, arboriculture surveys, completion of biodiversity-friendly walking trails and more.

This project helped groups ‘design’ biodiversity matters into their present and future projects for their area while maximising the benefits for wildlife along with people. The plans are to be used as a guide for the various groups over the next three years. Gabriel O’Connell, CEO of Monaghan Integrated Development, applauded the project, ‘These plans will inform the groups in how to carry out their biodiversity projects, raise awareness of how biodiversity is considered in these communities, while supporting groups seeking financial or material support for future projects. The 33 community groups involved now see biodiversity as a key consideration in the community planning process’. Many of these plans will be the subject of future LEADER funding applications and we look forward to seeing exciting biodiversity projects emerge as a result of these Community Plans.
Would you like to encourage local biodiversity and create a plan? Contact Monaghan LEADER at  / 087 176 0877 and visit 
Monaghan Local Action Group (LAG) is administering the LEADER RDP 2014-2022 in County Monaghan for the Department of Rural and Community Development and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The County Monaghan Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) is operating as the LAG for the County. Monaghan Integrated Development the Local Development Company for County Monaghan is the implementing partner and Monaghan County Council is the lead financial partner.

For more information about Monaghan LEADER, contact  / 087 176 0877 and visit 

Monaghan communities have been using LEADER funding to create walkways around their GAA pitches, opening up to the broader community and creating a great opportunity to meet others while keeping fit!

As we ease ourselves into 2022, we consider ways that we can renew and rejuvenate ourselves. The pandemic has encouraged us to take stock of our local surroundings and amenities; what do you utilise near you? Are there ways to reimagine and repurpose spaces in your communities, beyond what they were initially purposed for? The Monaghan LEADER programme provides funding for projects across the county that promote social inclusion, develop the local economy through enterprise and tourism, and protect the environment. Latton O’Rahilly, Clontibret O’Neills and Donaghmoyne GFC have used the LEADER programme to complete walking tracks at their pitches, while Cremartin Shamrocks GFC and Castleblayney Faughs got approval from Monaghan LEADER Local Action Group for similar projects.

After community consultations in the Latton Bawn area, the Latton O’Rahilly GAA Club established that, at night (especially Autumn to early Spring), there was nothing for the vast majority of the community to do outside if they were not involved actively in the GAA. The club wanted to change this and provide an outdoor facility available to the entire community. They received LEADER funding to develop a 750 meter lit walking track (2m wide) that would run right around its facilities. The track also includes a 110 meter lined running track (5m wide) and is undulating in parts to provide variety and challenge. The project has opened up the Club facilities to the larger community; ‘we now have a facility that enables all, young and old, to get out and get active and will enhance the community for decades to come

With assistance from LEADER, in 2019, Clontibret O’Neill’s GAA Club developed a track around the perimeter of their two football pitches. The walking track has proved to be a great success with people of all ages and abilities using the track from early morning to late at night. In 2020, in a bid to encourage the general public to use the track facility when training was happening on the pitch, the group sought LEADER funding to erect barrier perimeter fence between a section of the walking track and the pitch to prevent stray balls from entering the walking track; ‘the Club was delighted to receive the funding offered for the perimeter fencing from LEADER. The perimeter fence defines both areas distinctly and creates a boundary which will facilitate the safety of walkers on our walking track, which received significant use during the pandemic’. The fence also incorporates gates to allow access in and out of the playing pitch.

Donaghmoyne GFC GAA Club installed a 2 meter wide walking track with a spectator fence around the perimeter of their new pitch. The track is a facility for all of the community with the club locally advertising walking at set times in the hope that it will be used as much as possible, especially during the day.

‘The walking tracks we funded under the LEADER Programme are a great asset and amenity for the local community, it is priceless to have an accessible safe space to walk and exercise for everyone’ said Marianne McEneaney, LEADER Development Officer with Monaghan Integrated Development. As we embark on another year, try to make use of the surroundings and amenities available near you. If your local area lacks an available activity area, could a similar idea to those mentioned here be applied and funded by LEADER? We are keen to receive project ideas under the Social Inclusion and Environment themes. To chat and learn more about how Monaghan LEADER can strengthen your community spirit and space, contact  / 087 176 0877 and visit 

Monaghan Local Action Group (LAG) is administering the LEADER RDP 2014-2022 in County Monaghan for the Department of Rural and Community Development and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The County Monaghan Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) is operating as the LAG for the County. Monaghan Integrated Development the Local Development Company for County Monaghan is the implementing partner and Monaghan County Council is the lead financial partner.



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