The wrong target

Some of the excess and greed shown by charity chiefs inevitably provoked public outrage.

It was more than galling for those people, some of them surviving in greatly reduced circumstances, who generously supported the Central Remedial Clinic, to discover that a former chief executive, Paul Kiely, retired on a package worth a very enviable €750,000.

That he feels no compunction to return some of that money just adds to the sense of outrage felt right across the country.

Unfortunately, this has had, almost inevitably, very negative consequences for the entire charity sector, one already struggling with reduced incomes and in some cases — like the St Vincent de Paul Society — greatly increased demand for their services. Yesterday The Wheel, an umbrella agency for 930 charities, suggested that donations to their members had fallen by something around 40% since the scandal broke.

This of course has consequences that those withdrawing support do not intend. Those who depend on charities need our help as much as ever, and should not be punished for the shabby behaviour of a greedy minority.

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