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What is Social Inclusion?

Social Inclusion

Social inclusion is a term that can be used to describe a series of positive actions to achieve equality of access to goods and services, to assist all individuals to participate in community and society, to encourage the contribution of all persons to social and cultural life and to be aware of and to challenge all forms of discrimination. By ensuring that the marginalised and those living in poverty have greater participation in decision-making which affects their lives, will allow them to improve their standard of living and overall well-being.


What are the causes of social exclusion?

The below factors may increase an individual or groups chances of experiencing social exclusion:



Poor / low levels of education




Where you live (ie Urban poverty / rural disadvantage)

Belonging to an ethnic minority




Family status



Social Inclusion Unit

In existence since 2007, the Social inclusion Unit of Donegal County Council is currently staffed by Charles Sweeney, Social Inclusion Co-ordinator and Christina O'Donnell, Staff Officer Social Inclusion Unit. Role of the SIU is to raise awareness about social inclusion and poverty and how they impact on the lives of people in Donegal so that we will be better equipped to deliver more inclusive services. This role is currently being achieved through the involvment of Council in multi agency structures and through projects.


One Doengal Soical Inclusion Week 

One Donegal Social Inclusion Week is co-ordinated by Donegal County Council and aims to highlight the very positive work being done, not only by the Council, but also by other statutory and community organisations in attempting to raise awareness of social inclusion related issues in Donegal.  


This year’s social inclusion week takes place from 16 March 2024 to 24 March 2024.  

 See Event programme for 2024 here - One Donegal Social Inclusion Week 2024

If you would like information email:[email protected]

Donegal Age Friendly Alliance

Donegal Age Friendly is a Donegal County Council led initiative with a new and ambitious strategy to improve the lives of all older people in Donegal.  This strategy has been produced following widespread consultation with all relevant sectors in the county, and will be implemented on a partnership and collaborative basis. 

Donegal Age Friendly Strategy draws on eight themes of the World Health Organisation agreed framework see more – Age Friendly County Strategy



Through cooperation and consultation with older people in Donegal, the Donegal Age Alliance developed this inclusive information guide which will be a quick reference to information on the services, entitlements and activities available to older people in the County. 


Older Persons Information Guide


Supporting Interculturalism

Black and Minority Ethnic inclusion A strategy for County Donegal 2021 – 2026


This strategy mark an important moment for Donegal as an intercultural county in its commitment to and vision for the further inclusion of Black and Minority Ethnic communities in the county.  In this, the strategy seeks an inclusion based on equality and human rights and reflects values shared across all stakeholders.

The strategy sets out an ambition that is captured in agreed actions with a capacity to realise the positive potential in an intercultural county.  In this, it builds on a track record on initiative across all sectors and agencies, and on a leadership and drive from across the Black and Minority Ethnic communities in the county.


EU Belong

Donegal County Council are working as a partner on the ‘EU-BELONG: An Intercultural Approach to Migrant Integration in Europe’s Regions’ project is a wide project led by the Assembly of European Regions (AER) in partnerships with 11 European regional authorities and 3 additional technical partners. The project is co-funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union and supported by international and European institutions and organisations primarily involved in the field of the action, as the Council of Europe, the International Organisation for Migrants, and the European Committee of the Regions.

The project runs for 36 months (2022-2025) with the objective of improving migrants’ socio-economic inclusion and sense of belonging through the development of regional integration strategies based on a strong intercultural approach. In particular, the project will strengthen the capacity of 11 European regions and their cooperation with public and private stakeholders, thus durably supporting their role as key-players for the successful integration of Third Country Nationals (TCNs).

The EU-BELONG project is innovative, in that it will adopt the Intercultural Approach developed by the Council of Europe and ICC network and explore the 3 Intercultural dimensions (Equality, Diversity and Interaction) applied to different regional contexts across Europe, hopefully coming up with replicable examples and good practices of how interculturality can be translated into regional policy.

A further added value of the projectis that it will help develop the practice of interculturalism in diverse areas that were not yet thoroughly addressed, such as housing, integration into the labour market, newcomers/local population interaction, and sport & culture and it will therefore many stakeholders from different work sectors (a total of 165).

Specifically, the project will:

  • Increase the competences of public and private stakeholders to effectively address integration challenges.
  • Define a regional multi-level and multi-stakeholder framework for intercultural integration strategies.
  • Design and test a replicable methodology for the development and implementation of regional integration strategies.
  • Launch and improve the exchange of experiences and transnational cooperation among European regions and EU stakeholders.

We look forward to EU-Belong with great motivation, energy, and the will to make a real impact.

Follow the EU-Belong Twitter account to stay up to date with project’s news.

Here We Are, Here You Belong!


Older Persons Council AGM 2019


The Older Persons Council held their AGM on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 in the Mount Errigal Hotel at 11am. Despite the weather warning there was great attendance from Older Peoples Groups from all over Donegal.

The AGM was opened by the Cathaoirleach Cllr Seamus O’Donnell, who spoke about the positive work being carried out by the Older Persons Council Donegal. He went on to talk about Donegal’s aging population and how important it is for agencies to continue to work together in making Donegal a better place to grow old in.

Seamus Neely, Chief Executive of Donegal County Council and Chair of the Age Friendly Alliance spoke about the Donegal Age friendly Programme, that 3 year Age Friendly Strategy is currently being reviewed with the hope of launching it in the coming weeks.

Some of the projects he mentioned that were carried out were, the walkability audit in Letterkenny University Hospital, where new signage and the first Age Friendly Car Parking was installed. Letterkenny Town was the first age friendly town in Donegal with the role of the Business recognition training to all businesses. This is hoped to be extended across other towns within the county. Mr Neely mentioned that Age friendly training was provided to frontline staff in Donegal County Council and that the council launched an Older Persons information guide which was available to the people on the day.

Mr Neely spoke of the excellent work carried out by SITT. The Local Link bus has provided additional bus routes and services for Older People in the rural areas which allows them to get out of the house, and also the Donegal Age Friendly Programme, which is implanting real change in an imaginative and cost-effective way.


Seamus Neely expressed that his role on the Age Friendly Alliance group is one he enjoys. It is very positive work and it’s something in the long run that everyone will benefit from through their journey growing old in Donegal.  Mr Neely commended on the work carried out by the Older Persons Council especially joint Chair Gráinne Hines and Mary McGowan and finished off by thanking Charles Sweeney and Mairead Cranley, Donegal County Council for their work in implementing the Age friendly Programme in Donegal.

Reports were then presented by Joint Chairs Gráinne Hines and Mary McGowan explaining some of the projects carried out by the Older Persons Council. This included Intergenerational projects, engagement with the Health services for Older People and installation of Gym Equipment in Letterkenny Town Park. Ms Hines spoke about importance for Older People to come forward to have their voice heard, and not to be afraid of joining the Older Persons Council. Special guest Fergus Cleary also spoke and told jokes of his journey through life and what it’s like to grow old.

New members were elected to the Older Persons Council executive committee. The committee represent all different types of Older People’s Groups, Advocacy Groups, Younger Older People, Frail Older People, people that represents the voice for older people in Residential Homes or older people’s services in Donegal.


Older Person's Council AGM 2019