An Irish member of parliament has criticised a medical charity associated with Crumlin Children’s Hospital for not spending the €30 million it has on its balance sheet while the hospital is experiencing financial difficulties.
However, the Children’s Medical and Research Foundation insists that its resources could not be used for the purpose of plugging the gap left by shortfalls in State funding.
Green TD Mary White said she was ‘gobsmacked’ by the €30 million balance and questioned whether some of the money could not be used to improve services at the hospital.
“I know hundreds of people who have fundraised to help the hospital. Why is that money not being spent?,” White said in the Dail.
The foundation’s financial statements for 2007 shows that its income for the year was €13.8 million which left it with a net surplus of €4.26 million when all costs and grants had been paid out. It had a greater surplus in 2006, that amounted to €6.85 million.
The €4.26 million surplus for 2007, when added to fund balances of over €25 million brought forward from previous years, meant that the overall fund balance of the foundation at the end of 2007 was €29,583,000.
Its current assets included investments of €11.5 million in a number of managed funds in addition to almost €12 million in cash at the bank and on deposit. In 2007 the foundation spent €3.69 million on fundraising costs, management and other expenditure.
The financial statement states that the policy of the foundation is that all funds not immediately required for operational purposes should be invested in short-term deposits or longer-term investment funds. It explains that it has accumulated a “substantial balance” of €5 million in the children’s cancer fund in anticipation of significant costs being incurred on research into childhood cancer.
A general reserve, valued at €2.5 million in 2007, was also established. The statement outlines its function, stating that it is to provide “a buffer against unforeseen circumstances either in the form of a sudden demand for resources or against a fall-off in income”.
A spokeswoman for the foundation said it was an independent company and charity set up by individuals in the 1960s to raise money for paediatric research in Ireland. “Our role is certainly never, nor will we ever, be there to plug the holes left there by Government cutbacks,” she said.
The money it gives to the hospital at present is for items like children’s parties, for refurbishments, and to upgrade equipment, though it is also fundraising at present for improvements to the hospital’s emergency department.