Supporting Local News

Chinese donor gives big to University of Galway


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Chinese donor gives big to University of Galway Chinese donor gives big to University of Galway

University of Galway secured €400,000 from a Chinese donor under the so called ‘golden visa’ scheme that was shut down in February amid concerns by Government.

The donation to the university in 2021 was channelled through Galway University Foundation, a registered charity.

It was donated by a Chinese donor under the Immigrant Investor Programme, which Minister for Higher and Further Education Simon Harris closed earlier this year.

The donation was recorded in Galway University Foundation’s recently published financial statements for the year ended September 30, 2022.

The university told The Galway City Tribune that the money was used to support its Access Hub project.

In a statement to this newspaper, it said: “University of Galway has given careful consideration to the Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) and noted that applicants were subject to eligibility criteria as set by the Department of Justice.

“The University sought funding under the programme in order to support our mission and objectives in line with the applicable guidelines as set out by public policy.

“In 2021 an endowment of €400,000 was received by Galway University Foundation from a Chinese donor under the IIP to develop our Access Hub project, which is dedicated to building positive social change and tackling inequality in our society through access to education and ensuring that our Access mission is fully integrated across our colleges and areas of work in our institution.”

The university added it “gratefully acknowledges all donations” from its Foundation to support “education and research for the public good”.

The Foundation’s financial statements for the year to September 2021 show that some €1.2 million from Chinese donors was received by the Galway University Foundation in that year.

The IIP was introduced in 2012, when the struggling economy needed investment. But last February Minister Harris said Ireland’s changed circumstances meant “such investment routes were no longer a good fit for the needs of a thriving economy and society”.

When he closed the scheme, Minister Harris also noted serious concerns expressed by Europe about immigrant investment programmes in general in relation to border security, money laundering, tax evasion and circumvention of EU law.

The Minister said the programme “gave rise to issues of broader public policy concern”.

According to the Galway University Foundation financial statements, it generated donor income of €3.91m in the financial year 2022.

Expenditure on what it called ‘charitable activities’ accounted for 96% of its total €3.49m spend, which included transfers of €3.32m to University of Galway projects.

It said the beneficiaries of this funding were medical research, student scholarships and innovation and research programmes at the university.

The statements said the group had fixed and current assets of €12.9m, and liabilities of €2.3m.

As of September 30, 2022, the Foundation had cash at bank of €9.64m and investments worth €3.02m.

As well as China, there were large donations to the university, through the foundation, from Ireland (€1.9m), Australia (€313,000) and the United States (€1.5m).


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