Written answers

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Department of Rural and Community Development

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Photo of Holly CairnsHolly Cairns (Cork South West, Social Democrats)
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78. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the support she is putting in place to help voluntary community groups meet operating costs during the pandemic when their usual means of fundraising cannot take place. [43577/20]

Photo of Joe O'BrienJoe O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Green Party)
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Through my ongoing engagement with the Community and Voluntary sector, I am keenly aware of the challenges faced by the sector and their communities both rural and urban at this time whilst meeting increased demands on many of their services. My Department has put a range of initiatives in place that provide operating supports to the community sector during the pandemic.

A €45 million COVID stability fund for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Charities and Social Enterprises was launched by Government in May and is administered by my Department through Pobal. This funding is being made available from the Dormant Accounts Fund and was intended to be a targeted once-off cash injection for organisations and groups delivering critical front-line services to the most at need in our society and in danger of imminent closure due to lost fund-raised or traded income as a direct result of restrictions to counter the spread of COVID-19.

My Department received 1,060 applications during the application periods. To date, funding of €31,370,238 has been allocated to 598 organisations. On 11 December I was pleased to announce a further €13,436,742 top-up has been allocated to 574 of those organisations as a result of the €10m announcement in Budget 2021. Lists of successful applicants are available on my Department’s website at

My Department recently launched a €1.7m COVID-19 Emergency Fund, which community and voluntary groups can now apply for through their local authorities. This follows on from a previous €2.5m round of this fund which was focussed on groups participating in the Government’s “Community Call” initiative.

My Department currently supports over 420 community organisations under the Community Services Programme (CSP)to provide local services through a social enterprise model. In response to the difficulties being experienced by organisations due to COVID-19, my Department developed a Support Fund totaling €4.75M which assists all CSP supported organisations to continue to retain their CSP supported employees on their payroll and also provides assistance for the Employers PRSI contribution, during this crisis period up to April 2021.


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