April 1, 2013; Source: Irish Times

In Ireland in 2006, the Forum on Philanthropy and Fundraising was charged with helping to boost philanthropic and charitable giving to €800 million by 2016. Giving in Ireland now stands at approximately €500 million. Frank Flannery, the chairman of the Forum, seems to be saying that while giving in Ireland is high, it tends to be more individual and responsive and less planned; in other words, he says that Ireland is lagging in institutional philanthropy. He says that not only are there relatively few philanthropic foundations and trusts in Ireland, but that corporate giving is very low.

Flannery says that there are about 800 philanthropic foundations and trusts in the U.K. overall but only 30 in Ireland although “on a pro-rata basis, you’d expect 500 in Ireland.” And in regard to corporate giving, he notes, “A McKinsey report said the top 500 companies in Ireland give 0.1 percent of their profits to philanthropy whereas U.K. companies give 1.2 percent.”

Flannery says that he thinks that lacking philanthropy makes the public overly reliant on the government: “We started becoming very dependent during the second half of the 20th century. That said, the Forum on Philanthropy and Fundraising is not an excuse for the government to chicken out on its role to provide a socially cohesive society.” –Ruth McCambridge