Pobal looks likely to continue to be supported by the Government, despite pre-election talk of closure, Minister Phil Hogan has indicated to ‘Changing Ireland’.
The Government agency was listed as one of the 145 so-called “quangos” that the State could do without, with Fine Gael proposing the takeover of its functions by local authorities. The body handled €377m of national and EU funding in 2007 and is responsible for managing a range of community-related Government programmes.
Recently, ‘Changing Ireland’ asked Minister Phil Hogan about Pobal’s future.
Minister Hogan pointed out that it was a matter for Government and not for he alone to decide:
“While it is possible that the services provided by Pobal could be provided internally by my Department or other Departments, it is unlikely that significant savings would arise given that staff resources would need to be redeployed, systems would require development and the necessary expertise in providing advice to the sectors concerned may not be readily available.
“Additionally, because Pobal delivers funding on behalf of a number of Departments involved in supporting services in the not-for-profit, community and voluntary sectors, the Company is in a unique position to bring considerable value-added because of its comprehensive knowledge of the sectors. The central administration and integration of services offered by the Company across the various programmes and the fact that the same staff work on a number of programmes are considerable strengths which would not be easily replicated if Departments separately implemented programmes.”
‘Changing Ireland’ also asked about €750,000 which was recently cut from Pobal’s budget to manage the Dormant Accounts Fund. We asked was this re-distributed to community initiatives or sent to ‘Brussels’?
The Minister replied that “efficiency are retained as savings (and) are not redistributed.”