€40m in dormant bank accounts to be given to community projects

Government will distribute unclaimed personal accounts and insurance policies

 Minister of State Seán Kyne at the launch at Buswells Hotel, pictured with Deirdre Mortell , CEO of Social Innovation Fund Ireland. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Minister of State Seán Kyne at the launch at Buswells Hotel, pictured with Deirdre Mortell , CEO of Social Innovation Fund Ireland. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

The Government has distributed €40 million in unclaimed personal bank accounts and insurance policies to several community projects around the country.

The 2018 Dormant Accounts Action Plan, the latest in a series, has spread the money between 45 projects benefitting various disadvantaged areas of society.

It will support everything from broad social enterprise and health and wellbeing projects to the financing of Irish sign language and “novice angling”.

Funding is sourced every year from dormant financial accounts and unclaimed life assurance policies identified by financial institutions as having been untouched for a prolonged period of time.

Under legislation, accounts are identified and reported to the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) and later administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Alternative causes

Launching the latest round of funding on Tuesday, the Minister of State Seán Kyne said there was a “certain cyclical quality” about money originally put aside for a good cause being utilised for alternative causes.

“This is money that has been earned by people across the country, saved and invested for a rainy day, for retirement or other events,” he said.

“These events have probably since come and gone and for whatever reason the accounts and policies, which our families, friends and neighbours carefully arranged over the years, have been forgotten or overlooked.

“This money will always remain the property of its original owners or beneficiaries who can reclaim this at any one time.”

Money is periodically reclaimed and the account fund, which currently stands at about €300 million, maintains a contingency pot of about €80 million to finance reimbursements.

Among the groups present at the 2018 launch that will benefit from the Dormant Account funding were the Social Innovation Fund Ireland, Care Alliance Ireland, Ruhama which works with women affected by prostitution and trafficking, and Sports Ireland.

The latter organisation’s chief executive John Treacy said the money “helps us reach people that we would never reach at all”, increasing participation in sport, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

The larger of the scheme’s 2018 funding awards went to such sports measures (€5 million) as well as to funding for the Garda youth diversion service (€3.15 million), homelessness transition services (€3 million) and dementia aid (€2.2 million).

Further resources were allocated to a wide variety of schemes aiding the country’s most vulnerable sectors, and included library supports, employment initiatives, Roma community development projects and upgrading the Civil Defence vehicle fleet.