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Ministers' constituencies had double national success rate in lottery funding applications

It could be you. If you make a representation to a minister.
May 15th 2014, 10:44 PM 10,108 65

A CULTURE WHERE Ministers over-ruled civil servants on the allocation of National Lottery funding have been revealed.

RTÉ’s Prime Time Investigates tonight showed how two ministers – Health Minister James Reilly and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald – both represented constituencies where projects applying for lottery funding were successful over 80 per cent of the time.

The national average is 42.2 per cent, the show revealed.

In a number of instances it was shown how Reilly had himself over-ruled civil servants’ recommendations to grant funding to projects in his Dublin North constituency.

In one case, a civil servant had given three reasons why they were recommending that no funding be given, but Reilly over-ruled them.

In a statement to the programme, Reilly said that Dublin North had traditionally been under served by funding in past years and that he had sought to correct that. However, in 2013, he changed course and Dublin North now receives less than the national average.

In Fitzgerald’s constituency of Dublin Mid-West, it was found that the success rate was in the low 80s. Fitzgerald said that the constituency was fast growing and that the awards were “fair and equitable”.

In the case of Fitzgerald’s former ministry, the Department of Children, an average of 18 per cent of funding applications were successful. That figure rose to 33 per cent when a minister, or in one case the Taoiseach, made a representation.

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Former junior minister Róisín Shortall, who quit in a row over the placement of primary care centres in Reilly’s constituency, told RTÉ that it had “always been a mystery” how funding was allocated.

“But now we see that it is done through ministerial intervention.”

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