Kelly reverses cut to 23 voluntary groups

Health and disability organisations to share €1.3m funding after ministerial U-turn

Thirty organisations in total, including 23 health and disability groups, will receive funding based on their existing allocations up to July 2015. Photograph: Getty Images

Thirty organisations in total, including 23 health and disability groups, will receive funding based on their existing allocations up to July 2015. Photograph: Getty Images

Fri, Jul 18, 2014, 17:22

Minister for th eEnvironment Alan Kelly has restored funding to 23 health and disability organisations whose grants were controversially axed by his predecessor Phil Hogan.

Mr Kelly said he was making bridging finance totalling almost €1.3 million available to avoid a “sudden and adverse impact” on the organisations.

However, he said it was essential the 12-month breathing space he has created is used to find a more long-term sustainable solution to the funding problems of the organisations.

His decision follows a review of the Scheme to Support National Organisations (SSNO) in the community and voluntary sector. Thirty organisations in total, including 23 health and disability groups, will receive funding based on their existing allocations up to July 2015.

Mr Kelly said he and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Kathleen Lynch, had agreed that public funding of organisations in the health and disability sector needed to be reviewed. Efficiency in the use of public money was needed and duplication had to be avoided.

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”.

The cut was heavily criticised by Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin and leading neurologist Prof Orla Hardiman, among others. Organisations affected by the cut included the Irish Deaf Society, the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Irish Autism Action.