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The following story appeared on Irishtimes.com on Thursday, 27 May:

 

Charities under funding pressure

Almost a fifth of charities in Ireland fear they will be forced to close their doors within the next year after cuts in funding, it emerged today.

Concerns were also raised that thousands of jobs would be lost and frontline services across health, education and social services decimated if Government support is pulled.

Deirdre Garvey, chief executive of The Wheel, said more people than ever before are reliant on charitable organisations.

“The reduction in social welfare funding and rising unemployment have led to a surge in demand for support from charities,” she said. “Further cuts will result in a collapse of services for the most vulnerable people in our society.”

More than 200 charities took part in a survey commissioned by The Wheel, the national support and representative body for community, voluntary and charitable organisations.

It found that nearly 18 per cent may have to cease operating within the next 12 months. Some 68 per cent said they have suffered cuts in the past year, with over half stating they rely on the Government for at least half of their income.

The results were presented at Building a Better Ireland, a national conference for the sector at Croke Park in Dublin.

Representatives from charities across Ireland heard 16.5 per cent have made staff redundant in the past six months, with 75 per cent introducing pay cuts or reduced benefits and working hours. Of the 205 organisations surveyed, 58 per cent suspended or delayed projects due to a lack of funding.

The Wheel said the community and voluntary sector is worth €2.5 billion and employs 8.8 per cent of the workforce.

Ms Garvey insisted the economy can recover without targeting the most vulnerable people. “This can be achieved by raising Ireland’s total tax take in a fair and equitable manner while still maintaining a low-tax economy. This will provide the resources to rise Ireland’s social services and infrastructure to at least EU levels,” added Ms Garvey.

PA 

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