Grandmother in animal charity mix up leaves €7m to sick children
Published 09/01/2013 | 05:00
A GRANDMOTHER who left €500,000 to two animal charities has donated €7m to a camp for sick children.
Elizabeth Burke, of Ailesbury Road, Dublin, who died on October 20, 2011, left an estate valued at €12.3m.
Ms Burke was the owner of Stackallen Stud, Co Meath, and was well known in social and racing circles.
In her will, she wanted €500,000 from her estate to go to the Limerick branch of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
However, no such organisation exists.
The will was referred to the Commissioners for Charitable Donations and Bequests, which decided the bequest should be split between two animal charities – Limerick Animal Welfare (LAW) and the Limerick Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (LSPCA).
Ms Burke also left €7m to the Barretstown Camp in Kildare which was established by late Hollywood actor Paul Newman in 1994 and provides recreation programmes for children who have been through serious illnesses.
On Ms Burke's death notice in 2011, her family requested that any donations be made to the ISPCA.
LAW's Marion Fitzgibbon said they were "extremely grateful to this wonderful woman".
"When she (Ms Burke) was younger she lived in Limerick on the Ennis Road and we think she may have known one of our founding members who is deceased now," Ms Fitzgibbon said.
"We never had anything like this before and are truly broke in every sense of the word."
Last year, LAW spent €550,000 on running costs and it has a mortgage of €650,000 on their sanctuary in Kilfinane, Co Limerick.
In 2012, they received €11,000 in public donations – a considerable drop from the €25,000 in 2011.
Ms Burke's donation will be used to complete the next phase of their animal sanctuary that provides shelter for 120 cats, 70 dogs and 21 pups, numerous rabbits, goats, pigs, horses, ponies and donkeys.
An LSPCA spokesman said they were currently in discussions with legal representatives "about monies bequested by a generous supporter of its work".
"The distribution of this generous bequest is being determined for the LSPCA and those discussions are ongoing," he added.
It is understood she also donated over €500,000 to the Irish Georgian Society.
Ms Burke is survived by her son Nigel, daughter Orla, grandchildren and extended family.
Nigel, who runs an internet cafe in Dublin, did not want to comment when contacted.
The estate's administrators – solicitors Liston and Company from Donnybrook – did not want to comment on the matter either.