Friday 24 November 2017

Barnardos distance itself from charity that owns vulture fund

Barnardos Chief executive Fergus Finlay
Barnardos Chief executive Fergus Finlay
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

Barnardos and Temple Street Children's Hospital have denied they are partnered with a charitable foundation that owns a vulture fund.

The Matheson Foundation owns vulture fund Mars Capital, which in 2015 paid just €250 in tax on €11m profits - a rate of just 0.002pc. It specialises in buying distressed mortgages.

The foundation claims it is partnered with Barnardos, Temple Street "and many more".

However, chief executive of Barnardos Fergus Finlay said it had never received money from the foundation.

"The short answer to the question is - no, we don't (get money from the Matheson Foundation)," Mr Finlay said.

He explained that, in 2006, he gave a presentation to members of staff at Matheson Ormsby Prentice, the respected law firm, which agreed to become a charity partner with Barnardos. But he said the registered company for the foundation had never donated.

"To the best of my absolute knowledge, and we've trawled through our records, we've never had money from anything called the Matheson Foundation," he said. "We work with children who are homeless. We're not going to be involved with organisations that set out to make children homeless."

Temple Street Children's Hospital has also denied receiving donations from it.

A statement from Matheson said it had a long record of supporting charities through its foundation. "The foundation is not a vulture fund. However, we recognise that confusion now exists with respect to the status and activities of the foundation."

The company said a review of the foundation would now take place.

Independent TD Stephen Donnelly has already raised concerns about the ownership of Mars Capital and registered charities owning vulture funds.

Irish Independent

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