Soros donation helped to boost Amnesty’s revenue by 8%

Human rights group has refused to return the €137,000 donation despite breach of rules

The controversial €137,000 donation from a George Soros funded organisation to Amnesty International Ireland contributed to a 8 per cent boost in human right's group's revenues in 2016.

Amnesty International Ireland is standing firm in refusing to adhere to a request from the Standards in Public Office Commission to return the money. Ireland’s campaign finance laws prohibit foreign donors giving money to groups involved in elections, or referendums here.

Accounts for 2016 show the monies from Open Society Foundation contributed to Amnesty International Ireland’s income increasing from €2.78m to €2.99m. Amnesty’s operating surplus for 2016 increased by 70 per cent, going from €479,000 to €814,000.

The organisation is expected to be a leading player in the upcoming referendum on abortion and the accounts show that Amnesty’s high profile executive director, Colm O’Gorman was the best paid staff member at Amnesty Ireland in 2016 with a salary of €115,498.


The total pay for the organisation’s seven key management personnel amounted to €519,357 for the year.

An Amnesty spokeswoman said the organisation experienced “significant membership growth” in 2016, adding 6,594 members and added a further 8,700 in 2017. “Currently, we have approximately 24,000 financial supporters of whom 21,000 are members.”

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times