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Policy Information

Dormant Accounts Fund

Published: 28 November 2018
From: Department of Rural and Community Development


The Dormant Accounts Fund enables unclaimed funds from accounts in credit institutions in Ireland to be used to support the development of persons who are economically or educationally disadvantaged, or those affected by a disability, within the meaning of the Equal Status Act 2000.

A dormant account is an account with a credit institution that has had no customer-initiated transactions for 15 years. Credit institutions include banks, building societies, credit unions and An Post. Life assurance policies with a specified term are considered dormant 5 years after the end of that term.

Money in dormant accounts is used to benefit the public. This money is used to help people who:

  • are economically or socially disadvantaged by supplying opportunities for personal and social development
  • are educationally disadvantaged
  • have a disability

Getting your money back from a Dormant Account

If you have not used your account or claimed your life assurance policies, you can still get your money back. This is legislated under:

These laws compel banks, building societies, credit unions, An Post and insurance companies to find who the money belongs to and make all possible efforts to contact them.

If financial institutions cannot find the owner of a dormant account, the money in that account is transferred to the Dormant Accounts Fund.

The Dormant Accounts Fund is managed by the National Treasury Management Agency.

The owner of that money still has a right to reclaim their money in the future. There is no time limit on this right.

Handling of Dormant Accounts

The designated government minister is responsible for dormant accounts. This was set up by law in the Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Act 2012. Since July 2017 the Minister for Rural and Community Development has responsibility for this function, with the function delegated to the Minister of State.

Every three years, the minister must publish a new scheme for dormant accounts. These are contained in the Dormant Accounts Disbursement Scheme.

The Dormant Accounts Disbursement Scheme outlines:

  • how the dormant funds will be distributed
  • what areas of disadvantage should be included in the action plan

The current Action Plan

Every year, the minister must publish the Dormant Accounts Fund Action Plan that lists the:

  • specific measures that will be funded from the Dormant Accounts Fund
  • maximum money that each measure will get

The Dormant Accounts Action Plan 2019 allocates funding totalling €6.5 million to 6 measures which aim to address disadvantage or support persons with a disability.

Funding is being provided for 3 measures relating to Sports and Physical Activity Measures for disadvantage persons.

Funding is also being provided to support the Big Brother Big Sister youth mentoring programme, Men’s Sheds organisations throughout Ireland, and 8 LGBTI Community Organisations.

These measures will all be funded using money from the Dormant Accounts Fund

To view the Dormant Accounts Fund Action Plans from 2014, click the following link:

Dormant Accounts Fund: Annual Action Plans.

The Dormant Accounts Fund Annual Report

In June 2018, the Department of Rural and Community Development published the 2017 Dormant Accounts Fund Annual Report. The report says that the Dormant Accounts Fund spent €15.8 million in 2017 on various support programmes. These programmes helped:

  • children and young people
  • prisoners
  • unemployed people
  • carers
  • victims of crime and human trafficking
  • people suffering from dementia
  • several marginalised communities

To view the Dormant Accounts Fund Annual Reports since 2014, click the following link: Dormant Accounts Fund: Annual Reports.

To view a list of those who have benefited from Dormant Accounts Fund, click the following link: List of Dormant Account Funds Grantees

The Dormant Accounts Disbursement Scheme Review includes an analysis of:

  • the measures that were funded
  • how the scheme was administered
  • how information was managed
  • other issues, particularly why the fund was underused
  • recommendations for improving how the fund is administered
  • making disbursement schemes more effective