Saturday 23 September 2017

Directors donate €150,000 to Chernobyl charity as losses soar

Gordon Deegan

THE finances of Adi Roche's Chernobyl Children International (CCI) charity continue to worsen, forcing two of its own directors to dip into their own pockets to give the charity €150,000.

Losses at what is one of Ireland's best-known charities have hit €1.3m for the past two years as donations to the charity have plummeted.

The directors of the charity who gave the €150,000 have not been named. The board is made up of eight people and includes Ms Roche, Ali Hewson and former government minister Liz O'Donnell.

In 2011, the charity recorded the largest loss in its 22-year history, recording a figure of €676,555. Last year's figure was not far behind, with a loss of €664,786.

The losses come as donations to the charity continue to decline sharply – donations have dropped by 25pc, from €2.53m to €1.9m in the 12 months to the end of January 31 this year.

The drop last year followed donations dropping by 30pc in 2011, from €3.6m to €2.53m.

The directors' report attached to the accounts states that "in view of the deficit incurred in the last two financial years, the board has taken steps to curtail programme expenditure and administrative expenses in the current year".

The losses last year continued to eat into the charity's reserves.

DISASTER

The charity's cash last year declined from €2.1m to €1.5m. At the start of 2011, the charity's cash totalled €2.84m.

Since the establishment of CCI, over €92m in direct and indirect medical and humanitarian aid has been delivered by CCI to the Chernobyl-affected regions and over 22,500 children have been brought to Ireland for much-needed recuperative holidays.

The charity was established in response to the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster – the register of the Companies Registration Office shows there were 23 separate companies established to raise funds for victims of the disaster.

The accounts to the end of January 2011 confirmed that two anonymous donors gave €500,000 each to the charity that year, with a third donating the €250,000 proceeds from the sale of a home in a legacy.

However, none of these donations have been repeated in the last two years. The loss last year also coincided with swingeing cuts to the charity's employment costs.

The numbers working at the charity last year reduced from 24 to 22, with staff costs reducing by 35pc from €419,614 to €274,684.

The figures show that cash donations fell by 19pc from €1.73m to €1.4m, with aid in kind decreasing by 37pc from €799,047 to €499,585.

Yesterday, Ms Roche, the charity's founder and chief executive, was in Belarus and was unavailable for comment.

Irish Independent

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