A charity fund set up to support RTE by the Government is under pressure to boost its charitable donations by over €1m.
In the wake of the death of a RTE employee, Minister for Children Eoghan Murphy has been criticised for “overly politicising” the fund.
The charity fund is one of the Government’s key priorities and the Government has pledged to make it bigger, but the Government says it will be able to raise more than €1.5m from private donations by the end of this month.
The Government has said that the €1 million increase will come from private contributions and it will not go to charity directly.
The fund has also been criticised by many in the community who say that while the Government should not politicise its work, it has done so and should be transparent about how the money is being spent.
This week, the RTE Community Committee met with Minister for Communications Shane Ross and Minister for Community Development and Tourism Shane Rau in the Dáil to discuss the matter.
Speaking to the committee, Minister Rau said that “over a hundred” people have contacted the Government over the last 24 hours asking for information on the donation.
The Minister said that while he was aware that people were not happy with the way the Government had done things, he was pleased that “there has been a change in tone”.
“I am pleased that the public have spoken to us about the issue,” he said.
“We will continue to be transparent, and I know that we will be doing the right thing by raising the money.”
Minister Murphy said he is looking at the way that the Government works in relation to the charity fund, and he is committed to “taking steps to increase the level of charitable donations”.
The Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has also written to the Government to inform it of the charity plan, saying that it is important to understand what people want and that the Minister is committed “to providing the best service for our community”.
A spokesperson for Minister Ross told the Irish Independent that the fund is still under review and that a final decision will be made by the time of the next election.
“The Government remains committed to increasing charitable donations, and has committed to raise €1,000,000 from the private sector in the first financial year after the election,” the spokesperson said.
It is unclear what the Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe has in mind when he says that the money raised from private donors will go to the fund “as it is”.
It is also unclear whether Minister Rae will make a commitment to increase public funding to the Fund, or if he will make his own announcement about the fund at a later date.
The RTE community committee has already raised concerns about the Government “taking away the funding of the Rte Community Foundation”, a fund set-up by the previous Government to help the charity.
In a letter to Minister Rue, the committee said that its members are “extremely concerned that the State is making donations to a private organisation without taking responsibility for them”.
In a separate letter to the Minister, the community committee also said that RTE is “not able to fund its own operation” and that “this lack of accountability is a significant barrier to ensuring the organisation operates effectively”.