Minutes of ElectricAid Meeting held on 29th January, 2013


Venue:          The Oval, EirGrid, 160, Shelbourne Road


Present:        Patricia Wade           Jim Caplis             Anthony Le Courriard       James Foley

Pauline Holland        Denis Blanch,        Niamh O’Neill                  Éadaoin Smith

Mick O’Connor         Anne Hogan          Des Doherty                   Dave Carey by audio link

Adele Sleator, Michael Behan, Niamh Delany and Tim Hurley attended for all or part of the meeting as EirGrid ElectricAid members.

Apologies:     Ivan McAuley, Paul Cox, Tina Pittock , Gerry Mooney, Pearse Crilly, Michael Fox and John Kelly


  Item   Description  Action by 
 Minutes of Previous Meeting andMatters Arising 
  • In the absence of John Kelly, Patricia Wade chaired the meeting and began by welcoming the ElectricAid Committee to the offices of EirGrid in Shelbourne Road.


  • The Minutes of the 27th November, 2012 Committee meeting were proposed for adoption by Pauline Holland, seconded by Michael O’Connor and signed by Patricia Wade and Anne Hogan.


 Financial Report                                                          €’000Income                                                 1,297,694Donations and Expenditure                    1,341,126Excess of Expenditure over Income         (43,432)


  • Jim Caplis sought formal approval to write-back funding for project   11-A-110, to the value of €9,940, which was approved in September, 2011, but the reference was never received.    After this item was discussed, it was proposed for approval by Denis Blanch and seconded by Éadaoin Smith

Jim also proposed running a neutral budget for 2013, i.e. pay out what is taken in, unless a special appeal applies.  In other words, large surpluses will not be the order of the day in future.   It was proposed to discuss surpluses at the next Committee Meeting.   Jim is to bring a formal proposal to the March meeting for policy for the next year.

Pauline Holland recalled Mark Connolly’s maxim, “if there is a need for money, spend it”

Denis Blanch drew attention to the importance of having a reserve in case of emergency.

Anthony Le Courriard suggested considering a few different options.

Re Audit arrangements for 2012:   James is to check what had been agreed re 2011 audit.





























 Funding Applications 
  • The Evaluation Group met on 16.01.2013, and considered 32 funding applications – 4 Home and 28 Abroad.

Treasurer guidance for this funding round was €215,000.

The applications were mostly of a good standard, but with some exceptions, which did not reach that standard, were incomplete, inappropriate or misleading.


  Item   Description  Action by 
 Funding Applicationscontinued 
  • 4 applications were for Ireland, 5 for Uganda (16%, more acceptable – which was the lowest in a very long time), 8 for Kenya (25% – this needs to be monitored), 2 each for Nepal and India, and one each for 11 other countries.   Applications were received in respect of Syria and Guinea-Bissau, which represent new territory.
  • The Evaluation Group recommended funding 25 of the applications (6 in full, 19 in part). The total gross value of recommended funding is €219,318.  However, a matching contribution of €5,000 from the C.E. in respect of 12-H-019, and the fact that 12-A-162 is an emergency relief funding, brings the total committed for normal development projects to €207,868, well within guidance.
  • 4 projects were rejected, and 3 deferred for significant additional requirements.


  • James referred to what he considered to be 2 good, well referenced, projects from Kenya both of which were deferred – 12-A-153 and 12-A-154.  Suspicions were raised when it was noticed that both applications had the same style of presentation and similar misspellings.  Following an investigation, a common author was identified.   James has been in touch with him for his comments.   While this in itself is not considered a reason for automatic refusal, it was decided to defer these applications until full clarity and reassurance was obtained.


  • A robust and frank exchange of views took place around rejected project 12-H-021, for the replacement of Club jerseys for Glanmire Ladies FC.





  Item   Description  Action by 
 Funding Applicationscontinued  The following projects were approved: 

12-A-033                   €5,000

12-A-083                   €2,729

12-A-135                   €8,170

12-A-137                 €16,028

12-A-139                  €7,500

12-A-140                   €7,136

12-A-147                   €7,932

12-A-148                  €8,000

12-A-149                   €8,000

12-A-150                   €6,791

12-A-151                   €8,025

12-A-152                 €10,000

12-A-155                 €10,000

12-A-156                 €13,908

12-A-157                   €7,403

12-A-158                 €16,614

12-A-159                   €7,298

12-A-160                 €15,928

12-A-161                   €9,400

12-A-162                   €6,450

12-A-164                   €9,974

12-A-166                   €7,500


12-H-017                   €5,000

12-H-018                   €5,532

12-H-019                   €9,000


Proposed by Pauline Holland and seconded by Denis Blanch.










 SAGE  New Accounting System:   Jim said he has started the process of moving ElectricAid accounts from Excel to SAGE and that it is a much bigger, more complex and time consuming job than anticipated.  He said he would need to take a day out to complete it. JC
 ElectricAid – 25th Anniversary 
  • Inter-Denominational Service of Thanksgiving:  Niamh O’Neill advised that St. Stephen’s Church, Upper Mount Street, (otherwise known as The Pepper Canister Church) has been booked for Wednesday, 20th February at 16.30. hrs.


  • Rev. Martin O’Connor, St. Anne’s Church, Dawson Street, and Fr. Kevin Bartley, Administrator, Bird Avenue, Clonskeagh, (both former ESB staff members) have agreed to lead the Service and will liaise with each other re prayers and hymns.


  • It was agreed that a representative from another denomination would be appropriate, e.g. someone from the Islamic community.   Due to his proximity to the Islamic Centre in Clonskeagh, it was felt that Fr. Kevin would be in a position to make recommendations.




 Item  Description  ActionBy 
 ElectricAid – 25th Anniversarycontinued


  • James emphasised the following criteria for the Inter-Denominational Services – that it should be appropriate, simple, low key, cost effective and non-corporate.


  • Running order –Duration 50 mins


o    Welcome and Opening

o    Prayers – Fr Kevin Bartley

o    Music

o    Talk by Kevin Gaughran – Vision and early years of ElectricAid

o    Music

o    Prayers – Rev. Martin O’Connor

o    Closing Words – current ElectricAidperson.

o    Music


  • Music – organist and choir are being arranged by Fr Kevin Bartley


  • Niamh and Patricia actively searching for choral groups and an organist that won’t break the bank.


  • Candles, flowers for altar and refreshments are to be provided by ElectricAid


  • Bearing in mind an anticipated attendanceof 120/130, invitations are to be issued on behalf of ElectricAid Committee to ESB Corporate, EirGrid Corporate, retired ElectricAid members (via hard copy), a general invitation via ESBNet to ESB and EirGrid staff;  organisations such as Plan Ireland, Trócaire and a limited number from the “Presidential” list.


  • James sought and was given approval from the Committee to spend €750/€1,000 (max) on the Inter-Denominational Service.



















 Website and Social Media Update – Anthony Le Courriard and Pearse Crilly 
  • Anthony Le Courriard said a lot of progress has been made on this and that it is hoped to have it finished in a few weeks.   The plan is to get someone from IT to do a dummy website.  It is hoped to keep it simple and to be able to copy data from the intranet onto the internet without too much hassle.


  •  He also felt that WordPress access needs to be looked into.


  • Pearse Crilly is looking at different options in social media, e.g. Facebook and Twitter, which are considered good options.   While content and how to interact are considered important, it could be an opportunity for ElectricAid to show other companies what it does and maybe inspire other companies to do likewise.


  • Éadaoin wondered if there would be merit in putting an internal blog in to mimic a tweet.


  • Pauline drew attention to the usefulness of having a “Will-Them-Well” tweet as is the case with other charities.


  • James mentioned that the change of policy with regard to external web presence brought a danger of being flooded out with bogus applications, and that we had to proceed slowly and carefully – “festina lente”.


  • Des suggested inviting Rodney Rice, formerly of RTE and a Board Member with Action Aid Ireland, an expert communicator, to talk to the Committee about communications.




 Item  Description  ActionBy 
Website and Social Media Update continued – Anthony Le Courriard and Pearse Crilly
  • In terms of communication, James is of the opinion that ElectricAid’s core communication issues are with staff of ESB and EirGrid and how it presents itself as the charity of choice for ESB and EirGrid people.   An even greater challenge is how to communicate with pensioners.


  • James wrote to 75 people to keep their membership.  He said that the drifting down in membership is marginally due to hard times.


 Chambers Ireland – CSR Award Application (Patricia Wade) 
  • Patricia went to the Chambers Ireland CSR Award ceremony in September.  She is of the view that ElectricAid is already excelling in this area and should be participating in this Award scheme.   ElectricAid, which is a stand-alone charity in its own right, consists of two companies, with two sets of staff and can be a role model for other companies.   How to write up a case study would take some time/consideration.


  • If ElectricAid were to compete, it would need to be a joint application from ESB and EirGrid.  James and Patricia are to put out “feelers” with a view to entering.

















 Governance Certification; Working Group Update – (Pearse Crilly, Ivan McAuley, Jim Caplis) 
  • Jim said a meeting has been scheduled with Pearse and Ivan.   This has to do with the process mapping of applications from when they come in to when they go out.  While the financial controls framework is already in place, there is a need to document the procedures.


  • Des said that constitutionally speaking there should be at least one Trustee at every Committee meeting.   James replied that Denis Blanch had been present for most of the meeting. He also felt that there was nothing in the Constitution that required the physical presence of Trustees at the Committee meeting, but that spending decisions had to be Trustee-authorised – whether or not they were present.  Either way, every financial outlay is subject to Trustee approval – this is a key control in ElectricAid’s financial governance.


 Location for ElectricAid AGM – April 2013
  • Following a detailed discussion on the options available through the use of teleconferencing, it was decided to keep the process as simple as possible.   For this reason it was proposed to hold the AGM in Wilton, Cork, and use technology in the Conference Centre, Dublin.


  • A change of day/date was also considered.   As there is a daily/hourly train service from Dublin to Cork, it was decided to leave the AGM date stand, as arranged, i.e. Tuesday, 23rd April, 2013 and that attendees should make their own leave and travel arrangements.


  • It was noted that Tellers would be needed in both locations and that access to a photocopier would be required in order to print ballot sheets.




  Item   Description  ActionBy 




  • A vote of sympathy was extended to Denis Blanch on the recent death of his wife, Monica.   In reply, Denis asked that his and his family’s appreciation be extended to the Committee for the help and support received by them and to those who attended her funeral Mass or sent Mass cards


  • A vote of sympathy was also extended to Ivan McAuley on the recent death of his father.


  • The appropriateness of having the postponed “Christmas” drinks after the Inter-Denominational Service was discussed.   It was considered not to be disrespectful if it were to go ahead.


 Next Committee Meeting   The next Committee Meeting will take place on Tuesday, 26th March at 3.30 p.m.  Application            Evaluation              Committee                   

   Deadline                 Group                   Meeting


26.02.2013              12.03.2013              26.03.2013







 ElectricAid Meeting Dates for 2013  







 Application                    Evaluation                 Committee            Deadline                        Group                      Meeting            

     26.02.2013                   12.03.2013                 26.03.2013


Stuart McGovern will make a presentation on bore hole before the next Evaluation meeting on Tuesday the 12th March at 3:15 in the Helsinki Room.




ElectricAid AGM will take place in Wilton, Cork, on Tuesday, 23rd April, 2013 with a teleconferencing link to/from Head Office


Attendees are to make their own travel and leave arrangement.

For election purposes, Tellers and photocopy access will be needed in both Wilton and Head Office.


Application                    Evaluation                 Committee        

   Deadline                        Group                      Meeting


30.04.2013                   14.05.2013                 28.05.2013

01.07.2013                   16.07.2013                 30.07.2013

27.08.2013                   10.09.2013                 24.09.2013

29.10.2013                   12.11.2013                 26.11.2013