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Sinead Ryan: I want to give money to Rehab but not to this woman's €400k salary

WITH a Rehab facility right on my doorstep, it's a charity I regularly support.

Just this weekend there was a fundraiser on -- a low-key auction where all the usual suspects turned out, gave their services for free, and a few bob was made.

There have been pub quizzes, fashion shows and all manner of things in the past.


It's also a cause which celebrities including Rosanna Davison, Alan Hughes and Aoife Cogan have lent their smiles to, and tin rattlers are regularly seen selling their lottery tickets and cheerfully attempting to extract you from your money.

It's hard not to want to support a disability charity, right?

So that's why it sticks in my craw that the CEO of this not-for-profit organisation, Angela Kerins, earns more than €400,000 a year.

That's more than the Taoiseach or President gets.

The charity is at pains to point out that none of this comes from State funding (of which they have received a generous €365m over the past five years), but that is to miss the point.

Rehab is non-profit making, so whatever money goes to highly paid staff automatically means less for disability sufferers.

Doesn't it also mean that if Ms Kerins' salary isn't coming from State coffers, it's coming from me, and those like me who give a fiver or a tenner here and there?

Being the chief executive of a huge charity -- one which employs 3,500 people -- is as challenging, if not more challenging, as running a large commercial organisation.

Nobody is disputing that.

But in an era when salaries of over €200k for the heads of vast Government organisations are considered too high, a salary of twice that for the head of a charitable organisation defies logic.

Perhaps in my naivete it never occurred to me how much some charity workers earn -- I'm pleased they do; it's a hard job, but this much? Come on, please!

Nobody's arguing that the skillset required of a CEO isn't huge.

Kerins is clearly a highly competent person and is a member of several boards.

She is on the Equality Authority. She is also on the National Disability Authority and HIQA board. A busy lady. It doesn't stop there.

The Broadcasting Commission uses her board acumen, as does Comreg.


Rehab is currently in the news because new Minister Kathleen Lynch is asking it (and others) to sign up to service level agreements to determine what it is spending its money on.

Rehab's profits look healthy, although its comprehensive website -- which seems to want to tell us the financials -- omits specific details on staff pay.

Perhaps in her overhaul of the charity sector, Minister Lynch might consider it's time to cut down on the extent of its expenditure on salaries.

If everywhere else is being asked to take a hit, why are charity bosses any different?

After all, there's less money going around for everyone -- and many people will be reluctantly deciding that they cannot afford to give quite so generously.

If charity begins at home, then leadership begins at the top.