€220k for scouts as board resigns

Scouting Ireland will receive €220,000 in State funding after it was granted a three-month reprieve by Childrens’ Minister Katherine Zappone.

In April, Ms Zappone suspended State funding to the organisation over grave concerns about its governance.

In May, she appointed Jillian van Turnhout as an independent expert to review the governance and related issues within the group.

The minister announced yesterday that she is prepared to restore funding until September, pending a further review of governance changes.

Following the announcement, Scouting Ireland said its entire board will resign to make way for new governance arrangements after the controversy surrounding the handling of a rape allegation.

The funding suspension came after an allegation was made by a female scout leader in 2016 that she had been raped in 2009 while 18 and on a scouting trip.

The man against whom the allegation was made was suspended from the scouts, but ultimately, the DPP chose not to prosecute.

It emerged he was not Garda vetted before returning to the Scouts.

Scouting Ireland said in a letter yesterday that it fully supports the introduction of more robust governance procedures.

In order to allow a new board to take office, the body said: “Current members of the board have confirmed their decision to resign effective 31st October 2018 and this is a very strong endorsement by these board members of the new governance and board structures”.

If we do not reorganise and restructure with new governance arrangements we will not be able to function as a national organisation. The restoration of funding by Minister Zappone is contingent on Scouting Ireland among other matters, being able to demonstrate a commitment to good governance, and a vote in favour of the new board structures is an important step in that journey,” it said.

Following the announcement of the funding restoration, Scouting Ireland said that all events planned for the summer will go ahead.

There are 13,000 adult volunteers and 35 paid staff in Scouting Ireland. It has 40,000 youth members, making it the largest youth organisation in the country.

Announcing the funding restoration, Ms Zappone said: “I would like to acknowledge the significant progress achieved by Scouting Ireland to date in the implementation of the recommendations contained in the Report, particularly with regard to those recommendations relating to safeguarding issues.

In view of the Board’s commitment to the full implementation of the outstanding recommendations, I have decided to restore funding to Scouting Ireland for a further three month period and fund the organisation up until the end of September 2018.

The Review of Scouting Ireland, carried out by Ms van Turnhout, makes recommendations which the minister believes must be implemented before the question of full restoration of funding can be considered. The review contains recommendations in four key areas: safeguarding; management of the organisation; governance; and charities legislation.



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