Wexford bachelor leaves €1m to Irish Cancer Society

On average 97% of funding for the Irish Cancer Society comes directly from public donations
Wexford bachelor leaves €1m to Irish Cancer Society

Gordon Deegan

A mystery bachelor last year softened the pandemic impact for the Irish Cancer Society (ICS) by bequeathing over €1 million to the charity.

The man — a native of Enniscorthy, Co Wexford — bequeathed the bulk of his estate to five charities and it is not known at this stage what other four charities received bequests and how much each received.

However, the ICS confirmed on Friday that the man has bequeathed €1.039 million to the charity and the bequest is contained in newly published annual accounts for the ICS.

The ICS does know the identity of the Wexford man but declined to say who he is out of respect for his wish for privacy.

Confirmation of the bequests to the five charities by the man follows three years after it emerged that Elizabeth O’Kelly from Stradbally in Co Laois donated €30 million to five charities including €6 million to the ICS.

Daffodil Day

The largest tranche of the man’s bequest to the ICS came on March 16th last year when €750,000 was transferred to the ICS as the charity was at the time reeling from its decision to cancel its major annual fundraiser, Daffodil Day due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A spokeswoman for the ICS said: “The gentleman was originally from Enniscorthy in Co Wexford, but had lived in Dublin for some time.”

She said: “He was a retired accounts manager who spent his last years in a nursing home in South County Dublin. The donor had never married and had been predeceased by his parents and siblings.”

The man died in 2018 and the ICS spokeswoman said that the charity was first notified of the intention of the deceased to leave a bequest to the Society including a cash gift of €50,000 in December 2018.

She stated: “Further details were provided in March 2020. We have no information on the other selected charities.”

The ICS confirmed that the deceased man’s solicitor also does not want his own identity divulged or to provide any further information on the donations made to the other charities or the identity of the other charities.

No restrictions

The ICS spokeswoman said that there are no restrictions imposed by the donor “on this generous donation”.

She said: “The money will be used to continue to provide vital free services such as Night Nursing, our Freephone cancer Support Line, free cancer information, Daffodil Centres across all major hospitals, a transport to treatment service and counselling for anyone affected by cancer."

The ICS was last year forecasting a €3.8 million hole in its finances for 2020 due to the pandemic.

However, the ICS’s annual report shows that the end of year total of €21.94 million was only €2.34 million down on the 2019 revenue total of €24.29 million.

The ICS’s spend reduced from €21.88m to €20.46m with the charity recording a surplus of €2 million for the year.

The donation by the Enniscorthy native contributed to the ICS receiving €4.08 million in legacies — an increase of €840,000 on the 2019 total.

Late Late Show special

The income from the charity’s flagship daffodil day was last year €1.8 million compared to €3.67 million in 2019.

However, this year, Daffodil Day income soared to €7 million — its most successful Daffodil Day in its history greatly helped by the success of a Late Late Show Daffodil Day special raised over €3 million alone.

The spokeswoman said: “The Irish Cancer Society’s financial position is stable, in line with our commitment to continue our vital services and supports to anyone affected by cancer.

She stated: “As the number of people diagnosed with cancer in Ireland is set to increase, the necessity to expand and increase our footprint of support and research will follow.”

The accounts show that ICS chief executive Averil Power last year was paid a salary of €110,367 — a drop of €14,633 on €125,000 in 2019.

The ICS spokeswoman said: “In anticipation of a revenue impact due to the pandemic, the Executive Leadership Team, Department heads and other senior management took a 10% reduction in pay from 1 April until 30 September 2020 while the CEO took a 15% reduction.”

At the end of December last, the ICS had total funds of €29.43 million. The company’s cash funds totalled €16.78 million.

One in two get cancer

The ICS spokeswoman said: “One in two of us will receive a cancer diagnosis in our lifetime. Our strategy’s vision is of an Ireland where no-one dies from cancer. To deliver this we will need to increase our fundraising capacity over the coming years to be able to invest in world-class research and support. This will ensure that no-one needs to face a cancer diagnosis alone.

"On average 97% of funding for the Irish Cancer Society comes directly from public donations, so it’s thanks to the generosity of our wonderful donors, fundraisers and volunteers that we are able to provide services and support to ensure nobody in Ireland has to face cancer alone.

"Without this generosity, the Irish Cancer Society would not exist and the free supports for anyone affected by cancer such as Night Nursing, Daffodil Centres, the Support Line or counselling would not be available.”


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