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According to a spokesperson for the DECLG, 32 “schemes to support national organisations” (SSNOs) received a combined total of €1,386,854 million for the 12-month period beginning in June of last year.
The DECLG described the money as “once-off transitional funding and will enable organisations to plan for their future, whether with or without State support”. Bodies that received funding include Safe Ireland, which supports women and children affected by domestic violence, with €76,606; the Dyslexia Association of Ireland was allocated €62,172; and the Alzheimer Society of Ireland also received €62,172.
The bridging funding came about following an outcry over the decision to refuse some organisations that were unsuccessful under the new application process, but which had been funded under a 2011-2014 scheme. “Minister (Alan) Kelly reviewed this decision,” a DECLG spokesperson explained, “and announced in July 2014 that funding was being made available to the majority of organisations who were unsuccessful in their applications under the SSNO… ”
A review of the public funding given to national organisations in the health and disability sector is now taking place, involving the DECLG, the Department of Health, the HSE and Pobal.
Consultations have also taken place with a number of the SSNOs involved, with submissions received from many of the organisations in receipt of temporary funding. It is intended to complete and publish the outcome of the review shortly.
However, the Genetic and Rare Disorders Organisation (GRDO) is concerned about the possible conclusions of the review.
“GRDO has an SSNO grant for one information officer for 15 hours a week. Last year, we applied to the new SSNO scheme to fund a full-time person over three years and were rejected, as it was said we did not fit the new criteria,” said GRDO Chair Ms Avril Daly. “We disagreed as our intention is, and remains, to have a full-time resource acting as a voice for the 300,000 Irish people who it is estimated can develop a rare disease in their lifetimes… RD patients continue to be among the most marginalised in society and yet the grant is for ‘marginalised communities’ and to encourage inclusion, so we did not understand how we did not qualify.”