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Image: social entrepreneur Ruairí McKiernan: “I think people are saying enough is enough and we can be our own leaders”

By Una Murphy

I stumbled on the Uisneach Fire Festival in Westmeath through a tweet by a Cavan man last Saturday morning.

Thirty-two-year old Ruairí McKiernan is a social entrepreneur from Cootehill, Co Cavan, and is a member of the Irish Council of State which advises the Irish President Michael D. Higgins.

His contribution at the Heritage Talks Tent at the Uisneach Fire Festival was ‘Community Spirit Rising?’ Ruairí led a discussion about what can be done to “rebuild our country from the ground up”.

Check out Ruairí’s account of a trip around the island of Ireland he made when he found people and communities, north and south, that were refusing to give up”; people setting up food and energy co-ops, working on schemes to help children with autism, people with depression, communities overcoming conflict.

I think something really special is happening in Ireland right now”, he said. “I think people are saying enough is enough and we can be our own leaders”.

Grassroots campaigns by people in local communities are what we like to report on and in VIEW magazine published online on

I have seen at first hand the good work by community groups who set up the CRI (Cromac Regeneration Initiative) building in inner south Belfast where the VIEWdigital office is based and through my volunteering work with The Bytes Project and The Media Trust as well as the wider community sector in Northern Ireland since co-founding VIEWdigital community media.

I like Ruairí’s belief that it is people and communities who make the difference.  That’s ever more important as austerity bites.

In 1933 as the USA plunged into depression President Franklin D. Roosevelt said that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Social campaigners such as Ruairí McKiernan help me to realise that there is a way forward out of the gloom of austerity


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