Saturday, 31 January 2009

Rathlin and the European Small Islands Network (ESIN)

The European Small Islands Network (ESIN) was set up in 2001 by island organisations in France, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. ESIN works to raise awareness of the challenges experienced by Europe's smallest inhabited islands and to promote inter-island co-operation on the subject of sustainable island development. Many of these small remote communities, with populations in their tens and hundreds, are threatened with extinction and are struggling to build a future for the next generation of Island Children.

ESIN's Inter Island Exchange Project has been funded by the INTERREG 111C programme. The three year project began in July 2004 after the initial groundwork had been completed by ESIN's six island member organisations. The objectives of this operation are to promote greater cooperation between small islands in Europe, to share the benefits of islands experience of sustainable development and to influence national, EU regional development policies in favour of small island communities.

Where does Rathlin fit in this network? It's one of the 31 member Irish Islands Federation, a body funded by the Irish Government's Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. It isn't represented on IIF's board.

Scotland has five councils or other bodies represented on ESIN, the Republic of Ireland two and Northern Ireland none If Argyll and Bute and North Ayrshire can be members of this organisation why isn't Moyle District Council representing Rathlin Island?

Were any Northern Ireland MEPs invited by ESIN to their Brussels Briefing Day in June 2007 or to any subsequent events?