For the Media
The Wheel is a leading voice for Ireland's charities, community and voluntary organisations and social enterprises. With over 1,380 organisations as members, we are by far the largest representative body for this vibrant and diverse sector.
Our team is available to brief the media on any issue related to Ireland's charity/nonprofit sector, including:
- the role and activities of charities, community and voluntary groups and social enterprises;
- Charity Law and regulation;
- transparency and accountability in the charity sector;
- good governance, quality standards and voluntary codes for the sector;
- volunteering and active citizenship;
- fundraising and funding for charities; and
- the role of the community, voluntary and charitable sector in delivering health and social care services.
For all media queries please contact:
Gert Ackermann, Communications Coordinator
M: 086 1769287
View our most recent press releases below.
The Wheel, the national association of charities, welcomes the publication today of the Charities Regulator’s new Code of Governance for Charities but calls on Government to streamline and fund compliance requirements.
Commenting on the launch of the Code of Governance for Charities, Deirdre Garvey, Chief Executive of The Wheel said, “High governance standards are key to maintain public trust and confidence in the work of Ireland’s 10,000 charities, and this new code is a welcome addition to the voluntary codes and standards that the sector has developed in recent years. It will be an important resource to help charities attain best governance practice”.
The Wheel notes that charities are facing many new compliance requirements from various agencies and that there are costs associated with meeting these requirements. Ms Garvey added, “The new Code places significant compliance and documentary requirements on all charities, additional to the many requirements that already exist. We are calling on Government to:
- initiate a process to streamline all the various compliance requirements, and
- ensure that Government agencies contribute to meeting the compliance costs of the organisations they fund.
“Charities welcome and have long demanded clear regulation and oversight. However, the state and relevant agencies must facilitate charities to fulfil their compliance requirements. We cannot afford to waste valuable public resources and volunteers’ time on unnecessary form filling and duplication. It needs to be streamlined now”, said Ms Garvey.
“The Wheel will be monitoring the impact of the Code of Governance on Ireland’s 10,000 charities. The feedback we gather should be included in a review of the Code following an initial roll-out period,” said Ms Garvey.
The Wheel, Ireland’s national association of charities, welcomes the outcome of a legal challenge taken by Amnesty International Ireland against the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPOC). Last November, Sipo ordered Amnesty to return a donation made in August 2015 by the Open Society Foundations (OSF), a body founded by businessman George Soros, for Amnesty’s international ‘My Body, My Rights’ campaign. The order was quashed by the High court earlier today.
Commenting on today’s decision Deirdre Garvey, Chief Executive Officer of The Wheel said, “The government should now introduce clarifying amendments to the Electoral Acts of 1997 and 2001 to ensure that charities and community-based organisations can continue working to develop, improve or change government policy affecting the people on whose behalf they advocate.
“Existing legislation rightly seeks to prevent wealthy individuals and groups, particularly from outside the state, from interfering in Irish elections and referendum. Lack of clarity in the wording could, however, potentially muzzle legitimate and important voices in civil society, including community organisations, non-profits, charities and international NGOs when making representations to government,” said Ms Garvey.
She added that the vague definition of 'third-party' should be legally clarified, “A local group campaigning for better street lighting, for a neighbourhood playground or even a Tidy Towns Committee could fall within this category, simply by accepting a donation over €100.
“This vague definition of political purpose was identified by the Standards in Public Offices Commission (Sipoc) as far back as 2003, but consecutive governments failed to correct the legal anomaly.”
“The government should, therefore, bring forward the necessary amendments to clearly exempt those advocating for causes they espouse, such as the development of a specific national policy on housing or contributing to government consultations, from third-party provisions contained in the Electoral Acts,” said Ms Garvey.
The Wheel is a member of a coalition of organisations who are committed to working with Government to find a better solution. The coalition is led by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.
Coalition 2030 Challenges Government’s First Progress Report to UN Body
Coalition 2030, an alliance of over 100 Irish civil society organisations and networks, today expressed concern that Ireland is falling behind on its commitment to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The coalition outlined its concerns in a report published as the Irish Government prepares to present its first progress report on the SDGs at the United Nations in New York on Tuesday (17 July).
In its report, Coalition 2030 acknowledges the tremendous role played by the Irish Government in getting global agreement on the SDGs and the progress it has made to date to map progress towards the goals. However, Coalition 2030 warns that there are significant gaps in the Government’s National Implementation Plan for the SDGs launched by Minister Denis Naughten in April.
Speaking in New York, Suzanne Keatinge, CEO of Dóchas, the Irish association of non-governmental development organisations said, “Much greater urgency and political leadership will be required if we are to ensure the transformative change that the SDGs envisage by 2030. The Government needs to develop a realistic costing and prioritise targets and outcomes, but also involve all stakeholders, particularly civil society, in that process. Only then will we meet the ambition of the SDGs which is to make sure that the needs of the poorest and most marginalised in society, at home and abroad, are met sustainably and for future generations.”
In its independent report, Coalition 2030 calls for greater focus on developing national policies to support the implementation of the SDGs, “Arguably the greatest threat to Ireland’s implementation of the SDGs is a pronounced lack of policy coherence. Greater focus has to be placed on the inter linkages between the 17 Goals which makes them so transformative. This issue is particularly manifest in Ireland’s poor performance in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and failure to stem the downward spiral in Ireland’s biodiversity. As part of the National SDGs Implementation Plan, the government, in consultation with the National Economic and Social Council, should strengthen a whole-of-government approach to the SDGs,” said Michael Ewing from the Environmental Pillar, an advocacy coalition of 29 Irish environmental NGOs.
Also commenting on the report, Dr Sean Healy, CEO of Social Justice Ireland said, "Ireland's performance on the Sustainable Development Goals is particularly bad on environment and inequalities. This emphasises the need for Government to put these SDGs at the centre of policy formation across the board. Much of what Ireland is doing is damaging people, the economy or the environment. Ireland needs much more committed action to build a future consistent with the SDGs."
David Joyce from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions added that “Ireland as one of the richest countries in the world have to do better and move faster than most in meeting SDG targets. Ireland has the potential to be the best performer on every single goal, showing that it is possible to combine economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. The report being delivered to the UN this week shows we have a long way to go in terms of leaving nobody behind. “
Valerie Duffy, Development Education Coordinator at National Youth Council of Ireland said, “To achieve the SDGs we also need education for transformative change. We need education that enables all people to participate meaningfully, to critically engage in sustainable development, and to imagine and create new futures. This is a central part of SDG 12, which is under review at this year’s High Level Political Forum. Goal 12 requires Member States to mainstream Global Citizenship Education and Education for Sustainable Development.”
Ivan Cooper, Director of Public Policy at The Wheel, the national association of charities said, “Dialogue with stakeholders is absolutely essential and we need everybody working together all the way from the State down to the grassroots movements if we are to achieve these goals."
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 goals, which reflect the totally intertwined economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. All UN member states committed to using them to frame their national agendas and political policies to reach the targets by 2030.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are therefore an essential framework to guide the future direction of Irish domestic and foreign policy, as well as the development of a healthy and sustainable society and economy in Ireland.
Coalition 2030’s report is available at www.ireland2030.org/report-2018/
Three landmark reports addressing the barriers to political, social and economic participation were launched in Dublin today at a special summit hosted by The Wheel, the national association of charities, and the Carnegie UK Trust. The reports originate from The People’s Conversation, an initiative to support and encourage people to participate in shaping our future through dialogue.
The first of the reports, Money Matters, explores the extent and implications of financial exclusion in Ireland outlines recommendations for improving the current situation. The report looks at the extent of poverty in Ireland and the impact this has on people. It presents a brief analysis of income adequacy, whether people are out of work and dependent on access to social welfare supports, or in work and need decent adequate take-home pay. It also maps the employment, education and training services that are available nationally to support people into the labour market.
The second report, Powering Civil Society sets out a vision and a plan for how active citizenship can be supported by a thriving, independent community, voluntary and charity sector, and how, in turn, the active citizenship represented by civil society organisations can be supported by the establishment of a participatory public governance system.
The third report, A Two-Way Street, addresses the role of public servants in citizen participation. The report concludes that on the basis of the citizen’s jury that was piloted in Galway in recent years by the PeopleTalk initiative, we need to rethink the mediating role of the public servant in a democratic culture which is truly participative.
Commenting on the launch of the reports, Ivan Cooper, Director of Public Policy at The Wheel said, “Taken together, we believe the three reports present a coherent analysis of the challenges we face as a society to ensure everyone can participate and fully realise their potential as human beings. We encourage everyone to read the full reports at www.peoplesconversation.ie, disseminate them widely, and feedback views through the comments section at the website.”
“The Wheel will be working to engage with policymakers and communities, and with our partners, in bringing the necessary change about, change aimed at ensuring that all people have the means to participate, and are afforded opportunities to participate in our democracy to proactively shape our collective futures for the common good,” said Mr Cooper.
The can be accessed at www.peoplesconversation.ie
This video provides a brief overview of the three reports.
The Wheel, the national association for charities, today called on Government to implement measures to relieve growing pressure on Ireland’s 10,000 charities.
Addressing the National Summit for the Charity Sector at Croke Park, Deirdre Garvey, Chief Executive of The Wheel also proposed adoption of the charity sector’s people-centred approach to care services as a model for health reform in the HSE. This should form part of overall public service reform to release the potential of the voluntary sector
Ms Garvey said, “Charities are implementing a growing list of reporting requirements from multiple regulators, funders and state bodies. There is excessive duplication between the various reporting processes, and this is adding to the administrative burden on charities.”
A recent survey of 312 charities conducted by The Wheel found that 62 percent of charities say their staff are under increased pressure because of the growth in reporting requirements, while 58 percent say their administrative costs have gone up.
These costs are set to increase with as the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) come into force on Friday, 25 May.
“We are calling on the Charities Regulator to implement their commitment to promoting an initiative to coordinate and streamline the multiple reports charities have to file with various state bodies, including the Companies Registration Office, the Charities Regulator itself, the Lobbying Regulator and, for many charities, the HSE, TUSLA and HIQA. Charities welcome regulation and oversight, but these organisations cannot afford valuable public resources on unnecessary form-filling and duplication.”
In relation to the reform of public services, Ms Garvey said, “The recent series of crises in the HSE shows that the current accountability process involving senior officials is neither effective nor appropriate in the health and social care setting.
“On the other hand, the model of direct contact with accountability to service users provided by the community and voluntary sector makes charities both highly effective and compassionate at delivering people-centred services.
“Any reform of the HSE should draw on and adopt the people-centred approach delivered by charities.”
Ms Garvey also called for Government to implement the national strategy for the charity sector: “The current programme for government includes a commitment to develop a strategy for the community and voluntary sector. A process is already underway in the Department of Rural and Community Development, but we need this strategy progressed and implemented as a matter of urgency. Nonprofit organisations (many of which are charities) sustain 158,000 jobs, generate an annual turnover of €12.1bn, and mobilise an army of nearly half a million citizens to provide 230 million hours of unpaid work, valued at over €2bn per year. Most importantly, the sector provides essential services and supports to society in areas such as community development, health and social care provision.”
“Together these measures will help to unlock the potential of the community and voluntary sector, and help to address the many deficits in our health and social care services,” said Ms Garvey.
The National Charity Summit is Ireland’s largest annual gathering of community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises. Then the two-day event will attract representatives of over 200 organisations and attendees will hear from over 40 speakers. The event is organised by The Wheel, the largest representative body for the charity sector.
Ireland's national association for charities, The Wheel today warmly welcomed a report by the Charities Regulator that lays the foundations for a new governance code for the charity sector. The Charities Regulator launched the report of its Consultative Panel on the Governance of Charitable Organisations at an event in Dublin earlier today.
Commenting on the launch of the Charities Regulator’s report, Deirdre Garvey, Chief Executive of The Wheel said: “This report is highly significant in that it acknowledges the uniqueness of charities and the distinct and specific challenges faced by the many unpaid trustees who volunteer freely of their time to govern our charities. It is another important step marking a more engaged relationship between the state and the community, voluntary and charity sector. We are delighted to see that the Regulator has committed to developing the new Governance Code for Charities in collaboration with the sector and that the regulator has also committed to promoting efforts to streamline compliance and reporting duplication facing charities” said Ms Garvey
Ms Garvey added that as a member of the Consultative Panel on the Governance of Charities, The Wheel has worked closely with the Charities Regulator to ensure the proposed governance framework takes a proportionate approach - especially towards smaller charities.
Ireland’s nonprofit organisations (many of which are charities) sustain 158,000 jobs, generate an annual turnover of €12.1bn, and mobilises an army of nearly half a million citizens to provide 230 million hours of unpaid work – valued at over €2Bn - per year. Most importantly, the sector provides essential services and supports to society in areas such as community development, health and care provision.
The Wheel and partners Early Years Northern Ireland are today hosting a conference on the role of civil society in Europe at Trinity College Dublin. The half-day conference celebrates the end of the Atlantic Philanthropies funded project Access Europe, which aimed to build the capacity of Irish civil society organisations to access EU funding.
The conference is partly funded by the European Parliament through the Europe’s Future project, which intends to activate community involvement in European decision-making. The event will hear the findings of the Access Europe project, stimulate engagement with key stakeholders, and spark discussion on possible future engagement in Europe, post-2020.
A number of speakers will take part in a series of talks and panels throughout the day, including Lynn Boylan MEP; Catherine Day, Former Secretary General of the European Commission; Hugh Quigley, Chairman of Access Europe; Siobhan Fitzpatrick, CEO of Early Years Northern Ireland; and Gina McIntyre, Chief Executive of the Special EU Programmes Body. Brian Harvey, social researcher and evaluator of Access Europe, presented the results of the project and a host of organisations that have been successful in EU funding shared their projects and experiences, including Youth Work Ireland, the Irish Council of Civil Liberties, and the National Women’s Council of Ireland.
Participants also have the opportunity to explore a showcase of European funding programmes available and learn about their potential from the various contact points who will be present on the day.
Speaking ahead of the event Deirdre Garvey, Chief Executive of The Wheel said: “EU funding offers a multitude of exciting possibilities for civil society organisations in Ireland. Engaging in European projects can benefit organisations of all sizes, allowing them to develop new research, ideas, programmes, and resources; collaborate with and learn from partners throughout Europe, and build an international profile. We encourage all Ireland's community and voluntary groups, charities and social enterprises to explore these wonderful opportunities.”
Those interested in learning more about civil society and the future of Europe are advised to contact The Wheel at email@example.com for further information.
The Wheel, the national association of charities, today launched a new resource in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to help communities achieve greater sustainability. The free online Sustainable Communities toolkit provides community and voluntary organisations with practical guidance for implementing sustainability solutions within both rural and urban communities.
The toolkit covers five topics:
- · ecological integrity
- · health and wellbeing
- · participation and engagement
- · culture and heritage
- · economic resilience.
Each of the above-mentioned topics is covered in a separate section with a video introduction, case studies, a list of suggested actions and access to other resources and supports.
Speaking today at the launch of the Sustainable Communities toolkit at the Rediscovery Centre in Ballymun, Dublin, Johnny Sheehan, Membership and Regional Coordinator at The Wheel said: “This toolkit aims to support local communities across Ireland to awaken an awareness, deepen understanding and activate participation in sustainable development with a view to living better by using less. We seek to shine a light on what is already there, validate and recognise this work and provide some frameworks for communities using this toolkit to draw on for your own organisation and community context.”
The toolkit can be used free of charge at www.sustainabletoolkit.ie