Social Finance Initiative for Ireland implemented
Ireland’s Minister for Finance, Mr Brian Cowen TD, announced yesterday that the Government had approved proposals for the implementation of the Social Finance Initiative which he announced in Budget 2006.
The Government’s decision has given authority for the establishment of a not-for-profit social finance company to act a wholesale supplier of social finance.
Minister Cowen said that: “the social finance company will provide repayable finance capital for on-lending to support social and developmental projects and social and community enterprise in local communities.” The intention is, as far as possible, to use existing agencies and established networks of social finance providers. The banks have indicated a willingness to contribute both seed funding of €25 million and their expertise to support the practical delivery of this initiative.
The establishment of the social finance company is intended to provide the opportunity to test options for the future development of social finance provision in Ireland.
The Minister also said that: “My Department has consulted closely with a number of public, private and voluntary bodies currently involved or with interests in this area, in addition to its discussions with the banking community. These consultations have helped inform the design for the implementation of the initiative. I would like to thank all who participated in this consultative process. The Social Finance Initiative will complement the wide range of measures that are currently in place to promote and assist community infrastructure and local development, including social enterprise”.