U-turn as 23 groups get funding restored

Some 23 disability and health agencies are to have their state funding restored, for at least a year, following a climb-down by the Government on the controversial cuts which would have resulted in many vital services shutting their doors.

Environment minister Alan Kelly announced “bridging finance” covering the next 12 months for a Scheme to Support National Organisations (SSNO).

He said a review will, meanwhile, take place on the best funding model for such groups.

Organisations like the Irish Deaf Society, the Alzheimer’s Society and the Neurological Alliance of Ireland had their funding suddenly cut off by Mr Kelly’s predecessor, Phil Hogan.

Disability and health groups had previously made up half of the groups who received funding under the scheme, but it was reduced to one in eight.

The decision prompted claims the Department of the Environment no longer wanted to pay for services which it believed should have been funded by the Department of Health.

But the junior health minister with responsibility for disability and mental health, Kathleen Lynch, said earlier this week she had not been consulted about the cuts.

Following concerns many agencies would be forced to close down, Mr Kelly announced he would make €1.3m available to “avoid a sudden and adverse impact” on the organisations.

Funding of such groups will be reviewed to find “a more long-term sustainable solution to the funding problems of these organisations”, according to a statement from the department.

Overall, a total of 30 organisations will have their funding restored until July of next year.

A statement said “the services and advocacy they provide should continue for that period”.

A number of groups, not in the health field, will have their funding restored including Show Racism the Red Car (€29,014), Irish Mountain Rescue Association (€58,000) and the National Association of Youth Drama (€29,000).

Re-funded

Among the groups having their funding restored:

- The Irish Heart Foundation: €41,500.

- The Neurological Alliance of Ireland: €49,700.

- The Alzheimer Society of Ireland: €62,000.

- Muscular Dystrophy Ireland: €37,300.

- Irish Deaf Society: €62,000.

- The MS Society: €50,000.

- The Carers Association: €62,000.

- Huntington’s Disease Association of Ireland: €19,000.


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