Reilly awarded €500,000 in Lottery funds to Dublin North

Former minister for health approved 17 grants nationally against officials’ advice

Former minister for health James Reilly: his spokesman said he had moved to correct a “historical underfunding” in Dublin North. Photograph: Frank Miller

Former minister for health James Reilly: his spokesman said he had moved to correct a “historical underfunding” in Dublin North. Photograph: Frank Miller

Wed, Aug 13, 2014, 01:00

Former minister for health James Reilly awarded National Lottery grants totalling almost €500,000 to projects in his north Dublin constituency over a three-year period, according to a note prepared by his former officials.

Dr Reilly approved 17 grants nationally against the advice of officials, including three based in his constituency and three with links to Mayo, Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s constituency, the briefing note shows.

In the case of 26 projects approved for funding by department officials, Dr Reilly increased the amount paid.

Dr Reilly approved funding for projects in north Dublin to the tune of €228,500 in 2011, or almost 7 per cent of total funding. In 2012, he sanctioned funding of €195,000 for projects in the area, or almost 6 per cent of overall funding.

Freedom of Information

The equivalent figure for 2013 was €70,000, 2.1 per cent of the total, a note prepared for department secretary general Ambrose McLoughlin and obtained under freedom of information. The total amount disbursed by the department over the three-year period was almost €10 million.

In 2010, before Dr Reilly was appointed minister, north Dublin projects received €10,000 in lottery funding.

Dr Reilly is on holiday but his spokesman said yesterday he moved to correct a “historical underfunding” in Dublin North by boosting funding in the area for two years. The level was lowered in 2013.

“Minister Reilly had noted the significant underfunding in Dublin North historically and [he] proactively gave it a boost in 2011 and 2012 but pulled it down again in 2013.”

Previous ministers for health overruled advice from officials when they regarded the recipient organisation as deserving, the spokesman said.