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Irish Cancer Society funding saga has been mishandled dreadfully

Your editorial (January 14) offers a veritable understatement of gargantuan proportion, given the shambles of the Irish Cancer Society’s last few days in the media-zone and the surge of public opprobrium ensuing.

For an organisation which has so many highly paid fund-raising/advocacy ‘staffers’, it’s flabbergasting to witness how amateurish their handling of this funding fiasco has been.

Michael Clifford (January 14) parses and probes the scenario even further, concluding that the ‘wounded’ U-turn was prompted solely by adverse perception from outside the walls of its comfortable D4 surroundings.

The delayed revelation of the November 2015 ICS board decision, one suspects, was originally a ‘strategic’ decision to avoid any negative downturn on pre-Christmas fund-raising drive. Better wait until the relative low-activity shadowlands of January to slip out the ‘blip-news’.

It’s hard to see how a two-month-old board decision can be rescinded overnight — partially, at least.

The contextual financing realities of the ICS organisation, like many others in the national fund-raising ‘business’, would seem disproportionately skewed towards central salaries and advertising campaigns rather than the primary remit of supportive assistance to very needy people dealing with major personal challenges.

This sorry and embarrassing saga (still unfolding, it would seem) belies a wider-lens scoping of many charitable fundraising groups, big and small. The social-entrepreneurial opportunism which weaves a handy career and generous income cloth for those at the helm, engages a somewhat ‘cynical’ misuse of patently harrowing (mostly health, homeless or human rights orientated) scenarios to bolster burgeoning organisations, which supply handy, comfortable and remuneratively generous executive management careers for the burgeoning tribes of ‘social-entrepreneurs’ — surely an oxymoronic title, if ever there was one.

The erstwhile Rehab and CRC debacles, still very much lingering in the collective ether, were perhaps the ‘zenith-nadir’ culprits in this zone of self-same ‘social-entrepreneurial’ malaise.

Many of the older traditional fundraising agencies have, very unfortunately, gradually become victim of the neo-liberal/market-place dynamics of protective self-aggrandisment enjoying a priority over egalitarian social empathy, whereby altruistic endeavour to assist fellow citizens in need is frequently trumped by salaried comfort-zones for the self.

It’s a sad state of affairs.

Jim Cosgrove


Co Waterford


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