An extra €2m has been added to the funding pot for animal welfare charities by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue.
The total fund of €5.8m is an increase of 55% on 2022.
It means funding for animal welfare has doubled since the coalition Government took power.
Announcing the fund, Minister McConalogue said it would help with important work carried out, often in very challenging circumstances, by animal welfare organisations and their dedicated volunteers and staff across Ireland.
“Animal welfare charities play a crucial role in helping animals in need, educating people and raising public awareness about improving animal welfare,” he said.
“Many of the organisations who will benefit from today’s funding operate on a voluntary basis and carry out vital work in communities across the country. We are committed to continually improving animal welfare and this funding represents that commitment.”
Minister of State Pippa Hackett added: “It is also worth reminding people at this time of year that pet ownership comes with significant responsibilities and people should think carefully before buying a pet for Christmas.
“I would urge prospective pet owners to consider rehoming or fostering from a reputable animal welfare organisation before buying.”
The largest single allocation of funds was €891,750, made to the ISPCA National Animal Centre, but the money will be divided across 99 charities in all.
Minister of State Martin Heydon said he was delighted to be part of the Department’s strong show of support for animal welfare work.
“They play an important role in ensuring all animals are cared for and protected. It is work that we can all be proud of. We must also continue to put emphasis on education and the importance of responsible pet ownership,” he said.
Five winners were chosen from 1,000 entries received from children aged 10 to 12 for the inaugural children’s art competition to mark Animal Welfare Awareness Day.
The five winning entries, chosen by a judging panel led by ISPCA ambassador Rosanna Davison, were: Ava McCole, 11, Co Galway; Joey Hughes, 12, Co Cavan; Sofia Vicinska, 11, Co Cavan; Órlaith Fahy, 11, Co Mayo; and Brónagh Feeney, 11, Co Sligo.
The winning entries were presented with specially commissioned certificates to mark Animal Welfare Awareness Day by Minister McConalogue when they joined him on a visit to Farmleigh Estate where he met staff from the ISPCA, DSPCA, the Donkey Sanctuary and Dublin Zoo.