To chorus calls decrying cronyism and state-sponsored nepotism, Irish Times journalist Una Mullaly was announced by the then Minister for Children Katherine Zappone to be appointed as
Chair of the LGBT National Youth Strategy Committee in December 2016.
A new role, reporting over three years, to help steer the state’s policy towards young members of the LGBT community, the group was additionally charged with doling out grants to various NGOs providing youth services.
Almost four years on and the committee, chaired by Mullally, hands in its final set of recommendations to inform policy, and has had many of its recommendations already implemented. Under Freedom of Information requests we examine the cost of the strategy to the national coffers.
From figures forwarded to us by the Department of Children, we can reveal that the accumulated cost of the group to the taxpayer is just over €840,000 in miscellaneous costs and grants paid out to selected LGBT charities and consultancy firms. Listed among the expenses is a payment of €13,467 paid to Mullally for her work chairing the committee.
While large chunks of funds were transferred to specific LGBT related youth charities, a surprisingly large amount was given to various consultancy firms for their work preparing the strategy, with the auditing and strategy firm Mazars chief among them. Below is a breakdown of some of the main beneficiaries from the grants earmarked for various LGBT groups, and additional PR and consultancy firms who helped produce the report.
It should be pointed out that for many of the LGBT organisations listed above, the grants received from the strategy is merely a very small component of their total income stream, with certain charities listing millions in state and private sector revenue per annum, according to their financial records provided to the Charity Commision.
Alongside Mullaly on the committee was Catherine Cross, Education and Family Support Officer for the transgender pressure group TENI Ireland, and a receipient of grant money.
Cross in her work for transgender activism has also helped compile reports for the Irish National Teachers Organisation on how to introduce children to trans issues in the classroom, as well as a study on challenging gender norms in primary schools for Educate Together.