Saturday 17 February 2018

Irish Cancer Society chief to step down from charity

ICS boss John McCormack Photo: Tom Burke
ICS boss John McCormack Photo: Tom Burke
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The chief executive of the Irish Cancer Society John McCormack is to resign and leave the charity at the end of the year.

He said yesterday: "I'm very proud of the Irish Cancer Society and I feel privileged to have led an organisation of talented and caring people focused on the needs and concerns of people affected by cancer.

"We couldn't do that without the exceptional support and generosity of our volunteers, fundraisers, donors and friends who work so tirelessly to help the society.

"I'll continue to be a lifelong supporter of the society's vision, which aims for a future without cancer."

He first joined the Irish Cancer Society as chief accountant in 1989 and was appointed head in 2002. He was at the centre of controversy in January last year after it emerged he was on a salary of €145,000.

After a public backlash he took a pay cut to €135,000. The original salary drew criticism after the charity was closing the €1.8m annual financial support programme for cancer sufferers.

It then partially reversed the cut in response to the outcry.

It said it would continue to spend €200,000 a year on providing financial support to the families of children with cancer. The decision to end supports for adults with the disease was unaffected by the partial U-turn.

More recently the charity drew a mixed reaction over an advertisng campaign with the slogan: "I want to get cancer."

The charity defended the campaign, saying it was "deliberately provocative".

"It's deliberately provocative because it has to be. It's hard-hitting, it's impactful because getting cancer is hard-hitting and impactful," a spokeswoman said.

She said the campaign was borne out of concern about projections that by the year 2020 half of all people will be diagnosed with a cancer.

Irish Cancer Society chairman Dermot Breen said yesterday that throughout Mr McCormack's career, he had been instrumental in all of its achievements through his mix of skill, energy and enthusiasm.

Irish Independent

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