Alan Kelly orders review of cuts to health groups

New Minister for the Environment to re-examine controversial decision by predecessor

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly has ordered a review of his predecessor Phil Hogan’s decision to axe funding for 26 health and disability organisations.
Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly has ordered a review of his predecessor Phil Hogan’s decision to axe funding for 26 health and disability organisations. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Thu, Jul 17, 2014, 20:34

New Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly has ordered a review of his predecessor Phil Hogan’s decision to axe funding for 26 health and disability organisations.

This follows controversy over Mr Hogan’s decision to refuse funding to the groups under the department’s Scheme to Support National Organisations in the community and voluntary sector.

The organisations were given only hours’ notice of the withdrawal of funding, which will force closure in some cases.

Yesterday a spokesman for Mr Kelly said: “Having become aware of the issue of certain organisations being unsuccessful in their applications under the scheme of support for national organisations under the next round of funding for two years to mid-2016, Minister Kelly has initiated a review of the matter.”

There were 155 applications for support under the two-year scheme, of which 55 were successful. Last week Mr Hogan suggested it would be more efficient for organisations to receive funding “only from the department with lead responsibility for policy in their area, rather than seek funding across a number of different departments”.

Health charities

Despite this, a small number of health charities did receive support in the latest round of funding in the scheme approved by Mr Hogan.

Leading neurologist Prof Orla Hardiman told The Irish Times on Wednesday she was “horrified” at the impending closure of the Neurological Alliance of Ireland (NAI), one of the groups refused refunding under the scheme.

Prof Hardiman said the NAI was the only advocacy group speaking on behalf of 700,000 Irish people with neurological conditions.

“They are now being shut out of Irish society, their voice is being silenced. I was horrified when I heard the news because I know just how much neurological conditions impact on individuals and their families. I see it every day.”

The alliance, which represents over 30 neurological charities, said all 11 member organisations which applied for funding were refused. It had called on Mr Kelly to meet the charities affected by the decision.

Other organisations affected by the cut include the Irish Deaf Society, the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Irish Autism Action.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin welcomed the review. He had raised the issue repeatedly in the Dáil this week, challenging the Taoiseach on the decision.