Tuesday 16 January 2018

Andrea Pappin: There are 24,000 charities in Ireland ... do we really need that many?

THERE'S been much discussion over the last week about whether the charity Goal has the right corporate governance or not. Given that governance is a pretty private sector practice, has anyone done that other corporate sector practice of a cost-benefit analysis to see if we even need Goal?

This is a conversation that we don’t seem to be happy to even broach in this country. Usually when the question ‘do we have too many NGOs here?’ is even posed, you are usually accused of being proactively in favour of both seal-clubbing and children home and abroad catching preventable diseases. So before anyone hits the keyboard to reply with indigence, let’s start with some basics so you can see where this is coming from. Searching for a cure for cancer and other fatal diseases, the protection of the seriously vulnerable in Ireland and abroad and many, many causes in between are all areas that need representation. It’s not only important, it is essential for us as a country to have that third space along state and business for this kind of cause-related work.

So the need for the existence of not-for-profits is not in question here, but what is up for discussion is the sheer number of them. Because here in Ireland, it seems that at the rate we set up charities, we could give amoeba a run for their money.

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