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Forum on philanthropy

In the Seanad, Mary Ann O’Brien (ind, Taoiseach nominee) drew attention to the publication of the publication of the report of the forum on philanthropy and urged the government to implement its recommendations (Seanad Eireann, Debates, 5th July 2012, 602).  The report had proposed a national giving campaign, an improved fiscal environment, developing the capacity of non-governmental organizations and the creation of a national social innovation fund.  The non-profit sector in Ireland employed more than 100,000 people and had a turnover of €5.7bn.  She criticized, though, the fact that it was not transparent, nor was it properly regulated, unlike our neighbouring jurisdictions.  With each passing week, services were being cut and we had no idea where the waste was being produced.  St Michael’s House was cut €6m, but still paid €300,000 in increments this year.  The Brothers of Charity in Limerick stopped increments but the Labour Court ruled that withholding increments was a pay cut and order them be reinstated at a cost of €2m.   Many charities had evolved into big businesses but there was still no statutory body to regulate them.