I thank the Minister of State for his attendance. This story is not finished but the catchcry of "Are we there yet?" is one that is very well known to Irish people. Bóthar would be perceived as one of the more earthy charities. It is one to which I have contributed myself over the years because there was always a tangible output, or at least that was the perception. Instead of just sending money, there was a tangible result from the contributions the public made, namely, the charitable contribution of live animals and other agricultural produce and materials to developing countries. The premise on which the charity was founded, and on which it succeeded and caught the public's imagination, is that Irish people could finance the sending of a cow, a sheep or a goat and that it would make a manifest difference and impact on the lives of local communities in developing countries.
We have been here before with charities like Console. We thought that was the end of it, that corruption within the charitable sector was over and would never again be tolerated, that it would be much easier to root out and that charities would be subject to much more intensive interrogation, oversight and regulation. However, we find ourselves back at the same point again, not due to the corporate outlook or objectives of an organisation but because of the greed of a few. The Government must give some response to try to reassure the public. As we know, it is often those with the least who give most and over the years people have donated small, or sometimes significant, amounts to such charities. They did so with the best will in the world, as part of an ethos in this country that goes back to our connection to suffering and hardship and our empathy for those who have to endure the same kind of suffering and hardship. It is a crushing blow to people to discover that when they made that gesture and gave to people in countries less developed and less well off than our own, the organisation mediating those funds had within it corrupt and greedy people who would go to great lengths to corrupt the funds, and to cover their tracks in the process.
The issue itself has been well publicised in the newspapers, including the secreting away of significant funds by members of Bóthar and the payment of bonuses to staff. I would like to know what contributions the State made to this charity, whether through the Minister of State's Department or the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, over the years. I look forward to his statement on the matter.