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Policy Information

Dormant Accounts Fund

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


The main purpose of the Dormant Accounts Acts is to reunite account holders with their funds. Unclaimed funds are transferred to the Dormant Accounts Fund, which is managed by the National Treasury Management Agency. Whilst the beneficial owner has a right to reclaim their money at any time, the Acts provide for the use of unclaimed funds for measures that address economic, social and educational disadvantage, or support those with a disability.

The Minister for Rural and Community Development has responsibility for administration of the Dormant Accounts Fund, including approving the measures to be funded from the Fund which are delivered across a range of Government Departments.

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 .

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

Reclaiming Dormant Account Funds

As stated previously, the main purpose of the legislation is to reunite account or policy holders with their funds in credit institutions or insurance undertakings and in this regard, these bodies are required to take steps to identify and contact the owners of dormant accounts and unclaimed life assurance policies.

Dormant funds or unclaimed life assurance policies which have not been reclaimed by the original accounts/policy holder or their beneficiaries, are transferred each year by the holding institution to the Dormant Accounts Fund which is managed by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA). The transfer of moneys takes place on the basis that the beneficial owner has a guaranteed right of reclaim to their property at any time in the future.

More information on how the rightful owner can re-claim funds from a dormant account is available from the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland:

https://www.bpfi.ie/customer-assist/personal-customers/dormant-accounts/ .

Disbursement Schemes

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 Department conducted a review of the Disbursement schemes, which was published in July 2018 and is available at Dormant Accounts Disbursement Scheme Review.

Action Plans

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 receive

The Dormant Accounts Action Plan 2020 allocates funding totalling €45.5 million across 9 departments and for 43 measures which aim to address disadvantage or support persons with a disability.

Specifically the measures set out in the 2020 Action Plan will benefit some of the most vulnerable sections of the population, helping to address issues such as social inclusion, assisting migrants, support for carers, transitioning homelessness to long-term housing, sports measures for disadvantaged communities, protecting young people from crime and raising awareness of domestic and sexual violence.

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

Under Dormant Accounts legislation the Department of Rural and Community Development is required to prepare an annual report on the disbursement of moneys from the Dormant Accounts Fund during the preceding year. In June 2019, the Department published the 2018 Dormant Accounts Fund Annual Report. The report outlines how the Dormant Accounts Fund spent €28.2 million in 2018 across a number of Government Departments and Agencies.

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

Dormant Accounts Fund: Annual Reports .