Funding cuts for children’s charity and cancer group while greyhound racing gets boost
Mar 21, 2019 —
A children’s charity and cancer group are suffering devastating funding cuts, while greyhound racing enjoys major funding boosts...
This week, children’s charity Barnardo’s announced redundancies due to a gap in state funding.
The Irish Times has reported that the charity “which has advocated for children’s rights for more than a decade, is closing its campaigning department causing ‘shock and dismay’ among staff.” The staff affected are the head of advocacy, advocacy officer and campaigns officer.
Barnardos chief executive Suzanne Connolly told the Irish Times that the redundancies had been necessary due to gaps in State funding.
According to a statement from Barnardo’s, government funding cuts in 2009 have not been restored, while costs have increased.
“If we had no financial challenges we would not be making the positions in the advocacy and the learning and development functions redundant,” it added.
What an outrage that a charity providing vital services to vulnerable children has been forced to scale back due to a cut in government funding, while the same government is happy to hand out millions of taxpayers’ money to greyhound racing.
In 2009, funding to the Irish Greyhound Board was also cut - from €15 million to €13.6 million and over the next few years, the amount handed over was gradually reduced to €10.8 million in 2014. However, unlike Barnardo’s, the Irish Greyhound Board saw those cuts restored and in the years that followed, the IGB received an increasing amount of state funding - €13.6 million (2015), €14.8 million (2016), €16 million (2017) and €16 million (2018). This year, despite plummeting race attendances and continued financial losses for tracks, the government saw fit to grant greyhound racing €16.8 million. This brings to over a quarter of a billion euros the amount greyhound racing has received since 2001. During the same period, horse racing has been granted over €1 Billion (much of which ends up as prize money in the pockets of wealthy horse owners and trainers).
While the Irish Greyhound Board this year saw its grant boosted by €800,000 to €16.8 million, the Cancer Trials Ireland group has seen funding cutbacks of €750,000 per year.
Newstalk FM reported this week that a National Cancer Strategy, designed to improve cancer prevention rates, missed six out of its seven targets for 2018.
The Irish Cancer Society sharply criticised the government for underfunding the programme, with CEO Averil Power stating: "This is truly shocking, and will have a major impact on cancer patients and their families.”
"One of the six missed targets was to ensure patients are diagnosed earlier, therefore increasing their chances of survival,” she said. “95% of people classified as having breast cancer symptoms needing urgent investigation were supposed to be seen within two weeks, but only 75% of them were."
Other examples of greyhound racing funding being put before funding for health services include:
- A €1 million euro Irish Greyhound Board grant for Kilkenny greyhound track last year, while Kilkenny’s St Luke’s Hospital has been waiting years for funding for a life-saving MRI scanner.
- Mullingar greyhound track promised €100,000 in funding to pay for renovations to a track-side restaurant - while a fundraising team at Mullingar General Hospital are short €100,000 in their long-running campaign to raise €950,000 to purchase an MRI scanner for adults and children.
Health Minister Simon Harris and the Minister for Children Katherine Zappone are among the TDs who approved funding for horse and greyhound racing. In 2016 and 2017, Minister Harris voted in favour of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund Regulations which granted €80 million plus €80 million, while Minister Zappone voted in favour of the funding in 2016, 2017 and 2018 (total €244 million).
Urge Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to stop the funding and instead direct the money to health groups, charities, sports clubs, animal rescue centres and other deserving causes. Email "Stop funding the cruel greyhound industry" to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar
Department of the Taoiseach,
Upper Merrion St, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6194020
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tweet to: @campaignforLeo
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Paschal Donohoe TD
Minister for Finance
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: +353 (0)1 6045810
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PaschalDonohoe/
Tweet to @Paschald
Urge Ministers Simon Harris and Katherine Zappone to stop voting in favour of funding to horse and greyhound racing.
Simon Harris TD
Department of Health
Block 1, Miesian Plaza,
50 – 58 Lower Baggot Street,
Dublin, D02 XW14
Tel: 01 635 4000
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Leave a comment on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/DeputySimonHarris
Tweet to http://www.twitter.com/SimonHarrisTD
Katherine Zappone, TD
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs
43-49 Mespil Rd, Dublin 4
Phone: 085 2196189 OR 01 647 3000
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