Calls for more transparency over allocations of grants by Limerick City Council

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

CALLS have been made for the introduction of a more transparent method of allocating monies through the Social Intervention Grants scheme.

CALLS have been made for the introduction of a more transparent method of allocating monies through the Social Intervention Grants scheme.

Members of Limerick City Council’s Social Policy and Housing SPC have approved the allocation of almost €250,000 in grants to community and voluntary groups across the city.

The grants, which will be paid to 19 different organisations, range in size from €500 to €30,000.

The single highest grant (€30,000) will be paid to St Munchin’s Community Centre, Kileely while seven other groups will each receive more than €20,000.

The monies are allocated on an annual basis by Limerick City Council to groups which provide vital services in communities across the city.

When the item was raised during this week’s meeting, committee member Jim Prior expressed concerns about the lack of transparency in how the grants are allocated by the local authority.

Mr Prior, who represents the community and voluntary forum on the committee said he had no issue with the monies being allocated, or any of the groups.

However, he said he wanted to know how they were selected to receive funding.

“What are the criteria, how are they (the applicants) evaluated,” he asked, adding that he had raised the same concerns more than a year ago.

“It was agreed that the criteria would have to be clarified. How is it decided who gets what.” he told committee chairman, Cllr Tom Shortt.

Mr Prior said there was no documentation circulated to members to show how many groups had applied for funding through the scheme this year and which groups had been unsuccessful.

While other members of the committee agreed that there should be a more transparent mechanism, most said they were reluctant not to immediately approve the allocation of the funds.

Members of the committee voted in favour of the grants as proposed by council management with Mr Prior abstaining from the vote.