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How much do government departments give to voluntary organizations?

Government ministers answered a set of questions from Billy Timmins (ind, Wicklow) about the amount of funds that they provided for voluntary and community organizations (Dail Eireann, Debates, 10th December 2013, 177, 303, 331, 342, 290, 156, 181, 197, 127-129, 218, 271, 215, 229).  The following is a summary of the answers:


Education & Skills (DES): €9,460,529 (2012); €7,960,642 (2013)

Children and Youth Affairs: €249m (childcare)

Lottery €3.61m (details provided)

Health: Not readily available

Transport, Tourism & Sport: Not a departmental function

Agriculture, Food, Marine €1.365m (140 animal welfare organizations)

Finance: Could not be collated in time

Jobs, Enterprise, Innovation: €48,484.90 to Consumers Association

€10m to Microfinance Ireland

Foreign Affairs: €1,751,183 Reconciliation Fund (details provided)

Others: see website

Public Expenditure & Reform None

Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht: Not possible till official register of charities available

Defence: €40,000 to Org. of National Ex-Servicemen and women

€10,000 to UN Veterans Association

€739,000 to Red Cross

Social Protection: Not immediately available

Communications, Energy: Not a direct function of the department


The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources added that some bodies working in e-inclusion qualified for charitable tax exemption under s§207 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997, but he did not identify them.


The Department of Children and Youth Affairs figures appear to be limited to childcare services and do not appear to include youth organizations, for example.  The minister states that the €249m listed is ‘a capitation payment to meet the cost of childcare’.


Although the Minister for Tourism, Transport and Sport stated that funding voluntary organizations was not a function of his department, he went on to say that it did provide funding:


However through the Sports Capital Programme, funding is provided to sports, voluntary and community organisations, some of which would have charitable status, to assist with the provision of sports infrastructure and towards the purchase of sports equipment.  My department also provides grants to some organisations such as the Community Rescue Boats, Irish Cave Rescue and Mountain Rescue Ireland which includes various regional Mountain Rescue Teams, which are all registered charities.  These are all run on a voluntary basis.


The editor adds: The amount of funding provided by government for voluntary and community organizations is an important issue and the subject of research since the early 1990s.  The total given here comes to something in the order of €270m, most of which comprises capitation payments for childcare services, presenting something less than the full picture.  Most of the key government departments are unable to provided readily available information on their funding of voluntary organizations, while other ministers either confirm that they provide funding (but do not give details) or tell deputies to visit websites (which may or may not provide the information sought). The outcome is a very incomplete picture in unstandardized formats.  The DES list is probably the most detailed published by that department.  Interestingly, it shows that funding for voluntary and community organizations by that department fell by -15.8% from 2012 to 2013 (see for budget analysis of funding of voluntary organizations).  Two government departments are absent from Billy Timmins’ trawl for information, for example Justice and Equality; and Environment, Community and Local Government and it is not known if they were not asked or if they replied offline.  Further information has been sought on this and those ministers promising a later reply.