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Charities face big government cuts

Howard Lake | 23 April 2009 | News

Five of the countries biggest overseas aid organisations will have their government funding cut by 20 per cent this year.
Concern Worldwide, Goal, Trócaire, Christian Aid and Self Help Development International received €70.8 million under Irish Aid’s multi-annual programme scheme (Maps) in 2008, with Concern receiving €26 million, Trócaire €20 million and Goal €17.7 million.
The cutbacks are a direct result of the government’s decision to reduce its overseas development aid budget by €100million, reducing the budget to €696 million. The recent cut was the fourth to the aid budget since June 2008.The total budget is now €225 million less than it was ten months ago.
Concern, Trocaire and Goal are three of the biggest fundraising charities in Ireland.
Concern chief executive Tom Arnold said the sector was being ‘‘hit on a number of fronts’’. He said exchange rates – they mainly deal in dollars – had not worked in the favour of NGOs.
Income from corporates and philanthropic donors is also down. Income from the general public continues to hold up, but there are fears that this may change with the continuing economic decline.
The government promised to spend 0.7 per cent of gross national income (GNI) on aid by 2012. It now looks unlikely to meet that commitment.