The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) has received a legacy of over €10 million for its work in Galway.
The bequest from Maureen O’Connell, who died in 1998, was originally received in 2007 and was worth €7.73 million. This has grown to €10.5 million through accumulated bank interest and other income. The costs for administering the funds came to eight per cent of the total, according to the Irish Times.
O’Connell was the owner of O’Connell’s public house in Eyre Square, Galway city. Her will stated that the gift to the SVP was for the general objectives and purposes of the society in Galway.
The income represents a substantial boost to the charity. In 2018 SVP had an income of over €80 million, with general donations and legacies a significant part of voluntary income.
Because of its scale, the Fund had its own administration and accounts management, separate from the main SVP structure in the region.
Consequently the charity was careful to ensure it maximised the impact of the gift. Following consultations it developed a plan to cover community, family and individual beneficiaries.
Details of how the fund has been used, and the projects which benefited, were published on Thursday. SVP was not the only beneficiary. A total of 95 projects have benefited, providing direct assistance to more than 3,000 households and over 8,500 people.
The funds were spent on a range of projects, including capital projects such as social housing, aimed at:
- enhancing education
- developing family resilience
- enabling community development
- improving quality of life for older people
- improving life opportunities for young people
- resource centres and community and youth facilities.
Harry Kenney, chairman of the Maureen O’Connell Bequest Committee, said the funds had “provided an opportunity for SVP to make a lasting difference.
“This would not have been possible without the kindness and generosity of the late Maureen O’Connell for which we are very grateful,” he continued.
He added that the building which houses the St Vincent de Paul Resource Centre in Galway (Croí na Gaillimhe) “has been renamed Maureen O’Connell House as a lasting tribute to her memory.”
The bequest has now been almost fully disbursed and the winding up procedure is in progress.
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