Laughter the best medicine as O'Carroll raises smiles
ACTOR Brendan O'Carroll has stressed the importance of giving this Christmas, despite the controversy surrounding charitable donations used as top-ups.
The 58-year-old admitted his fear that Irish charities would suffer, following revelations that donations were used to top up salaries at the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC).
"It's all about trust and a lot of people are going to use this as an excuse just not to give to charity," O'Carroll said.
"They'll say, 'I'm not giving this year because it's disgraceful what's going on'. Well, you just have to trust that the charity is going to do the job," he said.
"The two charities I am involved with -- Irish Autism Action and St Vincent de Paul (SVP) -- I trust them implicitly."
O'Carroll said that if it wasn't for the work of organisations like SVP, his family could not have survived at times. "There were two men who used to come every Friday, sometimes they paid my mum's electricity bill, sometimes they would pay the coal, and my mother used to tell me that they were my uncle Vincent and my uncle Paul. So I know how much good they do."
The 'Mrs Brown's Boys' star brought some festive cheer to Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin. He was joined by a string of well-known faces, including Shane Byrne, Keith Barry and Rosanna Davison, to sing carols and greet dozens of young patients as part of the Heinz Celebrity Ward Walk.
Former 'X Factor' stars Mary Byrne and Melanie McCabe sang, but it was Joanne Connolly who gave the most magical performance with 'O Holy Night'.
The 16-year-old Kilkenny native is waiting for a heart transplant and has been a resident at the hospital for the past three months.
"I want to be an opera singer, so to get to sing in front of everyone was amazing," she said.
Carlow teenager Kelsey Nolan was among the patients to meet the Florida-based actor, who was accompanied by his wife Jenny Gibney and co-star Rory Cowan, yesterday.
The 17-year-old and her eight-year-old brother Cody have cystic fibrosis and pay monthly regular visits to the hospital.
"I got out on Christmas Eve but was back in on Christmas morning last year, so hopefully that doesn't happen again," she told the Irish Independent.