THE Taoiseach's election strategist, Frank Flannery, has urged Ireland's leading businesspeople to loosen their purse strings when it comes to charitable donations.
Mr Flannery is spearheading preparations for a "national giving" campaign under a Philanthropy Ireland initiative that aims to persuade tax exiles and the richest business leaders that a growth in donations will help to spark economic recovery.
He said the Irish public "are good givers, they stand up", but the corporate sector did not perform so well – the top 500 Irish companies give 0.01 per cent of their profits to charity while in Britain the figure is 1.2 per cent.
The importance of the Philanthropy Ireland initiative has been increased by the imminent departure of Chuck Feeney's Atlantic Philanthropies, which has contributed €800m in donations since 1988.
Mr Flannery said that "with decent government support we can tap a great resource and create a new concordat amid our people".
He added that he believed the current economic climate had created a "more reflective" business elite who believed "the Ireland we rebuild should be a lot better than the one we lost".