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Irish charity shops feel pressure from commercial traders

Howard Lake | 21 October 2011 | News

A number of Irish charities who generate income with charity shops have reported losing business due to a rise in the number of companies that offer cash for second-head clothes. These new companies are commercial and don’t have a charitable purpose: they are either selling clothes to the Third World or Eastern Europe, or recycling them.
Paul Hughes, spokesman for the Irish Charity Shops Association, told the Sunday Business Post that there was a link between the decline in clothing donations and the rise in the number of cash-for-clothes outlets.
The Dublin Simon Community confirmed that the charity detected a direct link between the shortage in donations and the increase in cash-for-clothing companies. Noel Cassidy, retail manager at Oxfam Ireland, told the newspaper that it was “a struggle to get clothes donations” but he attributed the the difficulty in getting donations to the poor state of the economy.
Philip Moloney, chief executive of Liberties Recycling, a non-profit clothes recycling charity and social enterprise based in Dublin, said that all charities were struggling to get donations. ‘”Some 60 per cent of our funding comes from clothing. We sell at reduced rates, not commercial rates,” he said. ‘‘But when we have half a million unemployed, what else can we expect?”
Some Irish charity shops are experiencing similar problems to those affecting UK charity shops. Some have reported that they were losing clothes donations because some commercial organisations were picking up their charity bags from peoples’ houses.