Ireland has an “astonishing” 32,841 NGOs and, with many being taxpayer-funded to the collective tune of €5.9 billion annually, an Offaly TD has called for a “critical examination” of the sector.
Independent TD for Laois Offaly Carol Nolan has called on the government to initiate an immediate review into the necessity of non-governmental organisations (NGO’s) and the way in which they operate.
Deputy Nolan was speaking after she questioned every government department and Minister on the amount of funding they had provided to NGO’s, which are often referred to as non-profit organisations, in 2020:
“The latest information we have clearly states that Ireland has a staggering 32,841 non-profit organisations funded to the tune of €5.9bn annually in state funding,” she said.
“This is an astonishing level of financing and it demands further critical examination.”
“I accept we have the Benefacts organisation that promotes transparency in NGO funding but even Benefacts focuses mainly on the sources of the funding rather than the rationale for keeping any particular NGO going. Indeed, Benefacts itself was in receipt of almost one million euros in state funding last year alone.”
“I also accept that a great many of the smaller organisations do fantastic work at community level in terms of education, health and welfare related issues.”
“But it is clearly the case that many of them wield enormous lobbying power that is completely disproportionate to the actual support they have in the community,” she said.
“The most recent example of this kind of NGO power is, of course, An Taisce which has received millions in state funding in recent years, and look what it has done with it – obstructed and actively hindered growth in the rural economy.”
The Independent TD said that the sector needed a major overhaul.
“Any honest review of the NGO sector in Ireland would make it clear that many of these organisations are often little more than proxy arms of government designed to endorse and justify a particular politically driven national or international agenda.”
“We need an urgent and critical debate on this issue, not just from the value for money perspective but also from the threat that such insider relationships generate when it comes to pushing forward policies that have no real democratic mandate,” concluded Deputy Nolan.