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CRC fallout impacts on local charities

The choir of St Christophers in full voice at St Mels Cathedral Centre on Sunday evening during the Longford County Choir Christmas Celebration Concert. Photo: Tiernan Dolan

The choir of St Christophers in full voice at St Mels Cathedral Centre on Sunday evening during the Longford County Choir Christmas Celebration Concert. Photo: Tiernan Dolan

The fallout from the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) debacle has hit charitable organisations across the country this week.

The sector in Co Longford too, has suffered a decrease in donations over the past couple of weeks since the news broke that the CRC had moved €3m from the accounts of the Friends and Supporters of the CRC to the CRC itself to prop up employees’ pension fund.

Pat O’Toole, Manager of St Christopher’s Services - said recent revelations from CRC were “very disappointing”.

“We don’t engage in top ups and all our fundraising is used to cover services that the Health Service Executive (HSE) won’t cover,” he added.

“It costs €50,000 for a 20 seater bus with a special lift for wheelchairs and we need to install special hoists and baths into our houses which costs €25,000; so it is the provision of services like this to which we apply the money that is fundraised.”

Mr O’Toole went on to say that no employee at St Christopher’s ever had their salaries “topped up” with charitable funds, and he pointed to the HSE ‘consolidated’ pay scale which has been implemented there.

“We have to maintain and upkeep our houses, grounds, the vehicles and provide fuel for those vehicles,” he added.

Mr O’Toole confirmed he earns in the region of €85,000 in his role as manager of St Christopher’s Services.

Louise Lovett is the CEO of Longford Women’s Link (LWL), a Longford based charity providing education, training, support and advocacy for local women.

Ms Lovett said that what happened at CRC “could not be condoned”.

Salaries are paid by the HSE at LWL and fundraising - which amounts to €20-€25,000 per year - is used to cover heating and lighting bills and IT supports.

“We must be compliant with the rules on using money from funds in the first instance; the issues at CRC seem to be long standing and a legacy situation,” added Ms Lovett. “Therefore what has happened in CRC is not reflective of what’s happening in other organisations.”

When asked about her earnings as CEO of LWL, Ms Lovett said that she was not prepared to discuss her salary .

 

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