Charities 'more influential than church' in Ireland

Voluntary organisations shape our values, say 68% of households

Charities are now more important in shaping the personal values of people in the Republic of Ireland than the church, according to a survey of 1,000 Irish households.

Sixty-eight per cent of respondents to the survey, conducted by not-for-profit think-tank nfpSynergy, said charities had an influence on their values. The church was mentioned by only 38 per cent.

Only family was a bigger influence than charities on values, while 55 per cent of respondents listed local communities as another important influencing factor.

"These findings underline the central role community and voluntary activity plays in Irish society," said Ivan Cooper, director of advocacy at The Wheel, a representative group for Irish charities and community groups.

Cooper said charities were increasingly seen as a source of moral authority in society.

Of all the institutions in the survey, government scored lowest, with only 8 per cent saying it shaped their personal values.

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