News » Archived News 2006

The Knocknaheeny Environmental Forum

Working Together to make a Difference

As part of its response to the RAPID Programme (Revitalising Area’s through Planning Investment and Development) Cork City Council is actively involved in the Knocknaheeny Environmental Forum.



Margaret Curtin NICHE, Mike Holden - Cork Environmental Forum, Stephen Murphy - NICHE, Norma Murphy RAPID Co coordinator and Tony Fitzgerald - Chair Niche.


Tadhg Keating, Senior Executive Officer, Environment Department recently attended an event held in the NICHE project in Knocknaheeny and awarded certificates to a number of local residents who had completed a very successful Global Action Plan course run by NICHE.


In addition the event also saw the handing over of Composting Bins to local residents The City Council has supported the Environment Forum in acquiring the bins which are sold locally for €20. A talk and composting demonstration was given by Mike Holden from the Cork Environmental Forum. Mike pointed out that composting is not only good for the environment but is a real money saver because of the dramatic effect it can have on the amount of household rubbish that can be composted rather than send to landfill.



Tadhg Keating Senior Executive Officer Environment Directorate Cork City Council, Aodan O'Laoire Environment Directorate Cork City Council, Norma Murphy RAPID Coordinator, Mike Holden Cork Environmental Forum, with Local residents who were presented with certificates on completion of a Global Action Plan run by NICHE.





The Environment and related issues are at the core of what impacts on the quality of life of the local communities of Knocknaheeny and Hollyhill. With this in mind a new partnership between local residents, community/voluntary organisations, local schools and state agencies has come together through the RAPID process. This new partnership is known as the Knocknaheeny/Hollyhill Environmental Forum and has met on a number of occasions over the last few months. Through working together Forum Members and the groups and agencies they represent have made a commitment to improving the quality of life for local people, improving the image of the area and ensuring the best possible services are delivered on the ground. However the Forum also recognises that there is important work to be done with the small minority of people who engage in anti social behaviour, for example, disposing of their household rubbish by dumping it on green areas and in the street.


Local organisations such as We the People have worked hard over recent years on a number of environmental projects. In addition NICHE has through its work recognised the impact of a poor environment on the health and well being on individuals and the wider community and has allocated a member of staff to spend some of his work time on environmental issues. The Environment has consistently emerged as a key local issue in the development and implementation of the RAPID Plan for the Area.



Presentation of certificates to local residents who took part in a recent very successful Global Action Plan course run by Niche.



What else has happened so far?

While the Environment Forum is at an early stage of development a number of positive things have happened. These include:


  • Newsletter published and distributed to all homes in the area.
  • NICHE management committee have allocated staff resources to support the work of the Forum.
  • Ten local people have expressed an interested in acquiring a compost bin
  • A GAP (Global Action Plan) course run in NICHE in the autumn.
  • A very successful clean up day involving over 100 young people and adults took place as part of the Justice Project Summer Programme.
  • Cork City Council provided funding for the Newsletter, equipment and staff for the clean up day.


Who Is Involved

The Environment Forum is an open Forum and anyone with an interest in the Environment and a commitment to improving the quality of life for communities in Knocknaheeny and Hollyhill would be welcome to get involved. At the moment the group consists of members from:

  • The Local Community
  • We the People
  • Terence Mac Swiney Community college
  • St. Mary’s on the Hill National School
  • Cork City Council
  • Health Service Executive
  • Health Action Zone
  • Family Centre


It is proposed that the Forum invite the Gardai to join as there are clear links between anti social behaviour and environmental issues.


What Next

At the moment the group meetings are convened and facilitated by the RAPID Co-ordinator. It is proposed that the group develop a system that will be sustainable over the long term to insure that the Forum can develop over time. This could include an operational plan for the work of the Forum and a clear structure for the Forum itself.

It is proposed that ones a structure is agreed a process will be put in place which facilitates the election of a Forum Chair and other officers within a timescale agreed by the group.

There are already a number of proposed work area’s that could be included in an operational plan such as:

  • Local Estate Environmental Enhancement Pilot Project.
  • Rolling Programme of Estate Clean Ups
  • Danger of Bonfires Information Campaign
  • Audit of Environmental Hot Spots


It is proposed that over time the group could take on an advisory role on local environmental issues. For example to the RAPID AIT in relation to matters such as the Local Estate Enhancement Scheme and any other issues that impact on the environment.


(Background Papers- Available from the RAPID Office).



Local residents from Knocknaheeny and Hollyhill taking delivery of their new compost bins.

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