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FewerWishes granted as scandals hurt donations

CHARITY Make-A-Wish Ireland is warning that fewer terminally ill children will be granted wishes this year as recent scandals have damaged fundraising.

The not-for-profit organisation brings joy to the lives of very sick children by granting them once in a lifetime wishes - such as meeting a celebrity or travelling to Disney Land.

In its first annual report, the charity revealed that it had granted a record 210 wishes in 2013 to children with life-threatening illnesses.

This was a 63pc increase on the number of wishes granted in the previous year.

During 2013, the charity provided an average of four wishes a week to children suffering from a range of life threatening illnesses such as leukaemia, cystic fibrosis and congenital heart diseases.

It represented the most wishes ever granted by Make-A-Wish Ireland in its 21-year history and the most wishes granted per capita by any of the Make-A-Wish organisations internationally.

But Susan O'Dwyer, the chief executive of the Irish organisation, warned that bad publicity received by some charity organisations, has hit fundraising.

HEARTBREAKING

"It is heartbreaking that we are unable to fulfil the wishes of some very seriously ill children as a result of those controversies but that is the case," she said.

She added: "Unfortunately, like other charities, we have seen a direct and significant impact on our fundraising activities arising from controversies this year.

"This will directly impact on our ability to grant wishes in the current year and unfortunately we expect the number of wishes we are able to grant for seriously ill children in 2014 to fall significantly as a result."

A majority of Irish charities reported a drop in financial support following a number of scandals to hit the sector - despite most not being directly involved.

The scandals emerged at the Central Remedial Clinic, Rehab and others in the wider sector.

Two of the major revelations involved top-ups and pay-offs scandal at the CRC and the salary paid to former Rehab CEO Angela Kerins.

Ms O'Dwyer, said that the value of wish granting for serious ill children was increasingly recognised.

Research has found that 89pc of health care professionals believed that the wish experience can influence a wish child's physical health.

hnews@herald.ie


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