Plunkett Foundation is celebrating the birthday of its founder, Sir Horace Plunkett, who would have been 158 years old today.
Sir Horace was the pioneer of agricultural co-operation in Ireland and believed that when communities themselves take control of the issues affecting them life is better for everyone. In the later part of the 19th century, Horace saw dramatic change continuing to sweep across Europe, economically, socially and democratically. He saw that the forces which had reshaped the urban landscape in the industrial revolution were now shaping the rural landscape, and that all that he valued in his beloved Ireland could be swept away unless people took control. He believed that if communities could own the technology rather than having others use it against them, then they could transform their world. This approach inspired the creation of some one thousand co-operatives in Ireland within around 15 years, and is still as relevant today.
He believed that:
Today, the Foundation exists to take forward his vision, and last month developed the Dunsany Declaration with world co-operative leaders at Sir Horace's historic home, Dunsany Castle. As Peter Couchman, Chief Executive of the Foundation, explains:
"Sir Horace Plunkett is as relevant today as at any time since his birth 158 years ago. A number of things that mattered to him have risen up our own agendas. He saw that the best way to create social change was through economic change, thus predating social enterprise. He saw that a community inspired to own and invest in solving its own problems was far more resilient than one reliant on grants, offering a solution to today’s austerity. He saw the world as basing its progress on the unsustainable use of natural resources, thus predating today’s environmental concerns. And he saw that any business who divorced its values and its ethics from the communities which created it as being ultimately doomed to failure, which means he might have had a view on our current banking crisis. Having fought all his life to make these concerns mainstream, I’m sure he would manage a wry smile looking at the world today on his 158th birthday."
Find out more about the life of Sir Horace Plunkett here.