This Week In Seanad – 28th March

We spoke about the Education and Training Boards Bill 2013 at the Committee Stage.
We debated the Health (Alteration of Criteria for Eligibility) Bill 2013 in the Second Stage.
We debated the Courts Bill 2013 in the second stage.
We debated and passed the Motor Vehicle (Duties and Licences) Bill 2013 in all stages.
We debated and passed the Health (Alteration of Criteria for Eligibility) Bill 2013 – Committee and Remaining Stages
Finally, we debated a motion on philanthropy which was put forward by the Independent Senators. It was an interesting motion – the text of which is contained below:

That Seanad Éireann would welcome
– A national debate on the current context and challenges facing the not-for-profit sector with regards to philanthropy, fundraising, sponsorship and private giving in Ireland.

It notes
– The publication in May 2012 under the auspices of the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government of the Report of the Forum on Philanthropy and Fundraising.

– According to the Irish Non-Profits Knowledge Exchange the not-for-profit sector in Ireland employs over 100,000 people across the community, voluntary, sporting and cultural sector and a pay cost of €3.5bn.

– 32% of the non-for-profit sector in the Irish Non-Profit Database are unincorporated, which means that pending the commencement of the Charities Act, we have no regulatory source of financial information about them.

– With concern that there is no centralised register available on the level of state funding given to the not-for-profit sector.

– That the Programme for Government states ‘We will work with stakeholders in the Arts Community to develop proposals aimed at building support of the Arts in Ireland exploring philanthropic, sponsorship or endowment fund opportunities.’ (Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht)

– There is a dearth of accurate and robust data on which to base public policy in this area.

– The declining public funding environment and the exiting of two major foundations from Ireland (One Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies) puts the sustainability of the sector in doubt.

– That approximately 20% of the National Lottery Fund goes to Arts and Heritage funding, with 19.4% going to Sports and 36% going to community organisations.

Welcomes
– The initiatives within the voluntary, community and the arts sector across public and private organisations to build on capacity and leveraging for fundraising; in particular:

o The Philanthropy Leverage Initiative by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht;
o Pilot Raise Scheme by the Arts Council;
o New Stream by Business to Arts.

– The work of both Philanthropy Ireland and Fundraising Ireland in supporting training and capacity building across the community and voluntary sectors.

– Welcomes the proposal in the Finance Bill 2013 to simplify the tax incentive for charity donations.

Calls on the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government
– To update the Seanad on the progress of the recommendations of the Report of the Forum on Philanthropy and Fundraising.

– To outline the impact of the departure of key philanthropic organisations such as Atlantic Philanthropies and One Foundation.

Senators Fiach MacConghail, Jillian van Turnhout, Marie Louise O’Donnell, Mary Ann O’Brien, Katherine Zappone.

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