The Refugee Council and the Miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes

Sometimes the NGO sector would give you the impression that whatever client group they have decided to adopt – often when said client group does not even know the NGO exists – would be starving on the side of the road if it were not for their “advocacy.”

Of course, that is not what NGOs do. They rarely practically assist people, well not to any great extent at least in comparison to all the money they receive from the taxpayer via a compliant state which has a cosy, and dare-one-say-it, even unhealthy relationship with said NGOs. This can be explained in part by the alacrity and ease with which many people, particularly in the upper echelons, move seamlessly from one to the other. All this happens on our tab.

A good example of this is the Irish Refugee Council which has recently issued recommendations – or demands really – on how Ukrainian and other refugees, ought to be treated within the education sector.

All of the demands centre on extracting more money from the public purse. They are being made at a time when people who are already here, including people born here with Irish born children, are finding it increasingly difficult to access educational services. That applies right across the board from primary school places, through special needs assistants, right up to the expense of third level education particularly given the enormous pressures on accommodation.

The Irish Refugee Council is not short of a few bob, nor of the clout to ensure that they can persuade the state to spend money outside of what they themselves receive. In 2020 they had an income, almost entirely from the state and various foundations, of €970,284. Of that they spent €866,727 on “charitable activities.”

Good for them you say. Charity means selflessly giving of one’s time and resources to help others less fortunate. Except that a considerable part of the charity work of the Irish Refugee Council is paying their own staff, and paying for their offices and admin etc. This accounts for €727,772.  So over 70% of their income goes to paying themselves and ensuring that their electric and social media accounts and so on don’t get cut off.

I mention this, not to be churlish, but to merely highlight the fact that in their submission to the Oireachtas Committee they claim to have “supported almost 300 people in accessing further and higher education via our annual grant system.”  They can hardly have much money for this on top of all of their other outgoings? So to this neophyte accountant that appears to basically to ask the state for more money for stuff they don’t do themselves.

This does not make them unique. It is what all of these NGO advocacy groups do. They get vast amounts of money from the taxpayer to look after whichever client group is “theirs” and then they spend most of that money not in directly assisting members of that said client group but in asking the taxpayer – well the people they elect to be accurate – to give those client groups more money from public provisions not explicitly devoted to them.

Which is what the Refugee Council are doing here in their submission to the Joint Education Committee on Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science. And they are not just talking about refugees from Ukraine who may require assistance in accessing education, but also want funding for “third country nationals who were studying in Ukraine on student visas but who are now unable to continue their studies or to return to their country of origin.”

Why are said foreign nationals not able to return to their “countries of origin” – which are presumably the countries in which they were residing when they acquired their visas to travel to Ukraine, and possibly even some sort of grant? Has Ireland become the default bailout zone for all of these people as well?  Don’t hold your breath for any questioning of this by the people you elected.

The Irish Refugee Council has sent its list of demands to the Education Committee where no doubt it will receive a warm reception, and indeed they’ll be in their Granny’s because no-one is going to deny them what they want. Especially not those who seem to believe that, like some secular leftie miracle of the loaves and the fishes, you can just continually add to all the list of stuff that costs money without anyone seeing any downside.

The sort of people who think that not only can the Irish state break all building construction records, and increase social welfare payments, and provide school and hospital places for those already here, but that more or less anyone who wishes can come here and wet their beak too. It  is of course impossible. Just don’t tell the Joint Education Committee on Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.


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