Call for disclosure from street charity collectors

Donors should not have to ’drag out’ what actual amount goes to intended beneficiary

Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan said that as a percentage of overall gross national income “we give more than France, Germany and Austria, none of which are bailout countries”.

Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan said that as a percentage of overall gross national income “we give more than France, Germany and Austria, none of which are bailout countries”.

Wed, Feb 19, 2014, 16:33

Charities seeking direct debit agreements on the street from potential donors, should have to state how the money is divided, the Dáil has been told.

Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan said the Government should encourage non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in receipt of State funding to “spell out from the start” the division of funding, “similar to the terms and conditions of a telephone contract”.

The Limerick TD said “on any street in urban Ireland one is bound to meet a representative of an organisation funded by Irish Aid..with a clipboard and a very good tale of the work they do”.

Mr O’Donovan added however that “you have to almost drag out of them what percentage of the money winds up sinking the bore hole in Uganda”.

He called on Minister of State Joe Costello to encourage agencies to “level with” the people they stop on the street about “the percentage the collector gets, the percentage the NGO gets for administration and the percentage the person in the developing country benefits from”.

Mr O’Donovan raised the issue during questions on foreign affairs, seeking Government assurances that the salaries paid to senior executives in organisations working overseas and funded by Irish Aid were not topped up.

He said the overall Irish Aid budget was €629 million and NGO’s received about €159 million and he called on the Minister to encourage NGOs to state from the start to those they “stop on the side of the street to ask if they would sign a direct debit” exactly “what percentage of the money goes to the charitable purpose, how much goes to the collector and how much goes to the organisation for administration”.

Mr O’Donovan said that as a percentage of overall gross national income “we give more than France, Germany and Austria, none of which are bailout countries”. He added that given the economic collapse and meltdown “we need to be accountable for every cent that goes out of here”.

The Limerick TD said that given what had happened in the charities sector in recent months “ we must ensure every stone is turned over to ensure there are no top-ups or CEO payments in excess of the salaries” of Government Ministers.

Mr Costello said “it is extremely important all NGOs are transparent and accountable on the allocation of the money they receive”.

the Minister said about 25 per cent of Ireland’s overseas development assistance was channelled through non-governmental agencies. He said a maximum of 6 per cent of funding could be allocation for administration and senior executives’ pay was “being reviewed in the context of overall administration costs”.

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