This years’ Annual General Meeting was truly a testament to the culture of our co-operative and the engagement of active membership.
The meeting was held over three and a half hours (including a brief Special General Meeting) and it remained productive and constructive throughout.
As the Secretary of the Dublin Food Co-op, Sam Toland is responsible for ensuring that our Annual General Meetings are conducted according to our rules and that they are recorded appropriately.
And in what is becoming a trend, it finished on time!
As a membership we dealt with a lot of important business during the meeting. It was a demonstration of the maturity of our co-operative culture that we were able to have a genuine dialogue featuring different viewpoints while keeping each exchange productive and good spirited.
It was also great to see a good turnout for the meeting, with a diverse mix of members from all generations of the Co-op.
I want to thank those longstanding members in attendance for their continued support and engagement with their Co-op.
I also want to recognise the many new members who attended their first Annual General Meeting and who were tasked with absorbing a lot of information in one evening. I hope they feel encouraged to attend future members’ meetings and remind them to avail of an upcoming Fáilte member induction if they haven’t already.
In short, I believe that the Annual General Meeting this year showed our Co-op at its best and I think this was underlined by two specific contributions to the meeting.
Rónán, a new member and shop volunteer, articulated how inspiring an organisation the Dublin Food Co-p is to him and he commended the work that so many committed members have done over the years to sustain our co-operative that he can now join and be a part of.
And Peter, a visitor from a fledging food co-op in Belfast, contributed that he was very much inspired by everything the Dublin Food Co-op has achieved to date and by the way in which we conduct our own internal democracy.
I couldn’t agree more with each sentiment.
I will briefly summarise the outcomes of the business of the meeting, and the draft minutes of the meeting will be available at the end (all comments welcome).
But before I do I wish to thank everyone who attended the AGM, Valerie and Amy for doing the minute-taking on the night, Niall and Brenda for running the registration, Dot for keeping us to time, Mark Glynn for presenting his auditors report and to Dave Dunn for supporting us to engage with one another in the best reflection of our democratic, co-operative principles.
And of course a big thank you to the Inchicore Sports and Social Club for generously hosting us for the evening.
Co-ordinating Body Elections
The meeting recognised the retirement of Thomas Hamann and Paul Farrell after four years of service.
The meeting also heard that I would be stepping down after 2 and half years of service. I outlined that I had made this decision on the basis of being appointed to a permanent role as Co-operative Secretary. I felt that I would be best able to perform in that role by not continuing to serve in the capacity of a Director.
Finally, Patrick Flynn concluded his CB report with his decision to step down both as Chair and as a CB member.
I want to personally thank Patrick for his tireless contribution to the Co-op over the last three years. He has been a deeply co-operative and collegiate member of the CB, and I wish to thank him personally for his continued support, solidarity and guidance during my own service.
It has been a genuine pleasure to serve alongside him and I am hopeful that he will continue to be an active and engaged member of the Co-op outside of the CB.
Reduction in the number of CB positions
As noted in the minutes, this was discussed by members during the meeting.
Patrick Flynn outlined the main arguments for the proposal which centred around maintaining a balanced and productive board.
There was significant support for the proposal from a number of members and there were no objects raised about the proposal amongst those members in attendance.
The resolution passed by consensus
Publication of CB members
I outlined the context of the resolution, in particular the resolution from a past AGM which required the CB to publish the minutes of their meetings. I outlined the benefits of this in terms of transparency but outlined the issues with presented to both the CB and the co-operative as a whole.
In particular challenges around confidentiality, commercial sensitivity and maintaining collective responsibility.
I explained that the CB wished to retain the principle of transparency with a focus on the information that members wanted (big policy and strategic decisions) rather than the detailed content of meetings.
This would be achieved in future through periodic summaries of CB meetings.
This was discussed by the members and no objects were raised about this new approach.
The resolution passed by consensus.
I outlined the background to our affiliation with the Irish Co-operative Organisations Society and explained that what we had received as part of our affiliation in terms of advice from ICOS and access to training through ICOS Skillsnet.
However going into the AGM, the CB did not have a strong position on whether to continue with affiliation.
However I noted that after attending the ICOS AGM as a delegate, on balance, I was in favour of remaining affiliated in order to continue the work of building a co-operative movement in Ireland more aligned to our own ethos.
The content of the ICOS AGM, in particular around climate action, and discussions with other affiliates at the AGM renewed my own view that there was scope to have an impact through ICOS affiliation.
There was a significant conversation amongst the membership around continued affiliation with some members retaining reservations in terms of the alignment of values between our Co-op and ICOS
However the broad consensus was that it was important to be at the heart of the co-operative movement in Ireland, and to advocate for a progressive vision of that movement.
The resolution passed by consensus with a number of members maintaining reservations.
Special General Meeting
We adjourned the AGM briefly to hold an Special General Meeting to resolve the technical amendments to our Constitution under discussion since July 2018.
There was some discussion on the finer points of the amendment, but the complete amendment to our Constitution was agreed by consensus.
The material amendment being that we can now hold our AGM within the first six months of the year with breaching our rules.
General Meeting Minutes
You can find the draft minutes of both the Annual General Meeting and the Special General Meeting below. If you attended the meeting have suggestions or clarifications, please email these to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is our intention to final a final draft by September 2019.