IRISH COMPANIES raised more than €16.7 million for charities and community groups last year as part of ongoing partnerships between business and non-profit groups around the country.
Some 43 firms have formed partnerships with more than 3,600 community groups as part of Businesses in the Community Ireland initiative.
National statistics show that over €11 million was given in cash donations; €3.3 million was raised through employee fundraising and a further €2.3 million was contributed through “in kind” donations of goods and services.
Employees of the contributing companies also volunteered over 130,000 hours to local groups and projects during the year.
Issues that received the most support were health initiatives (€5 million), community projects (€3 million), education (€2.9 million), social inclusion (€2.3 million) and homelessness (€760,000).
Cash donations were highest in Dublin at €6.8 million, followed by Mayo at €1.1 million, Cork at €800,000 and Kildare at €350,000. Oil company Shell donated nearly €1 million in cash, products and services in Co Mayo.
Separately, former Ireland international footballer Niall Quinn launched the ninth year of the Dublin Bus Community Spirit Initiative for 2012 by donating €5,000 to the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin.
Mr Quinn has been a patron of the programme since 2003 and the personal donation will go towards providing food for families in Dublin.
“The people at this centre are here for hampers of food. They can’t even afford the bus in, so Dublin Bus is providing them with free tickets home so when they do get here they don’t have to pay on the bus,” he said.
Rather than getting annoyed at the political system, he said, it was about honouring the people involved in volunteering and he hoped the money would be put to good use.
The charity is now seeing more young families which are finding it difficult to pay their mortgages, according to Br Kevin Crowley, head of the centre.
“We meet people who have lost their jobs and people on the verge of losing their homes, and there is a huge amount of depression amongst these people. Our main concern is [maintaining] their dignity and respect,” he said.