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Irish charities forced to cut services despite recovery

By Ann Marie Foley - 18 May, 2015

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During the last year a third of charities have cut or suspended services.

At the same time two-thirds of charities in Ireland have reported increasing demand for their services despite the economic recovery.

These are the results of a new survey of 262 charities conducted by The Wheel, Ireland’s representative and support organisation for charities.

During its national conference last week, Deirdre Garvey, chief executive officer of The Wheel, called on the Government to prioritise investment in social provision and social infrastructure in Budget 2016.

“In recent budgets, the Government has rightly focused on achieving sustainability in our public finances, but we must acknowledge that this has come at an enormous cost to Ireland’s social infrastructure. We can now see clear evidence that even though the economy has been growing for over a year, the services that people rely on, continues to be cut,” said Deirdre Garvey.

“We are calling on Government today to prioritise the restoration of funding for services in Budget 2016. We are also calling on Government to ensure that future funding models continue to support the community and voluntary sector in its work of sustaining communities in Ireland,” she added.

The second annual Wheel lecture was given by President Michael D. Higgins.

Referring to the forthcoming 1916 commemorations he said, “We must remember at the founding moment of our independence we did not fall from a society that was equal. It was, and is, a new challenge to create such a society.”

The President continued, “A true republic must be built on principles and policies which recognise the common welfare, and which place the ideas of community and public at the centre, rejecting the limitations of a narrow individualistic concept of citizenship. We cannot use the appropriate ethical commemorations as a substitute for topics that must engage us now. To do that would be an exercise in bad faith and evasion.”


Over 150 charities from across Ireland attended the conference, hosted by The Wheel and sponsored by Ulster Bank.

The Wheel conducted the online survey between 16 April and 11 May 2015 and 262 charities completed in the survey.

It found that 33% of charities have had to cut back or suspend services in the past year due to a lack of funding, while over 42% have reported a drop in their income over the same period.

Over two-thirds (72%) of charities have reported increasing demand for their services despite the economic recovery.

The Wheel is a national organisation that represents and supports community, voluntary and charitable organisations in Ireland.

Founded in 1999, it has over 1,100 members across Ireland. See www.wheel.ie

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