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Killaloe priests offset drop in parish contributions

By Sarah Mac Donald - 06 March, 2014

Bishop Kieran O'Reilly of Killaloe. Photo: courtesy of www.clarepeople.com

Bishop Kieran O’Reilly of Killaloe. Photo: courtesy of www.clarepeople.com

The Diocese of Killaloe paid out €234,362 to assist survivors of clerical abuse in 2012 according to the latest financial figures published on Tuesday.

The hefty payout was made as parish donations dropped for the second consecutive year forcing priests in the diocese to contribute over €70,000 from their personal resources.

In a statement responding to the figures, Bishop Kieran O’Reilly said expenditure on child safeguarding and support services for victims had also increased from €10,947 in 2011 to €43,180.

Killaloe contributed €14,000 to the ‘Towards Healing’ counselling and support service for survivors of institutional, clerical and religious abuse, which is funded by the catholic church in Ireland.

Figures for 2012 show that contributions from Killaloe’s 58 parishes were down 2.5%, following a 4.3% fall in the previous year.

The figures reveal that in 2012 parish donations totalled €742,000, while in 2010, the figure was €795,000.

Bishop O’Reilly expressed concern at the year on year fall as these parish donations form “the most significant proportion of diocesan income”.

While the diocese’s overall accounts have shown surpluses in recent years, according to Bishop O’Reilly, this has only been possible because of the additional contributions from Killaloe’s priests and donations and bequests.

“Such generosity cannot be taken for granted or predicted in future years,” he warned.

He said priests of the diocese had “once again” made “significant contributions” amounting to €76,000 from their personal resources to help make up the shortfall in parish donations between 2011 and 2012.

This is despite the fact that the basic salary for a priest in the diocese of Killaloe is €22,000 and rises to just €27,240 after years of service. 

The contributions from priests was also supplement by a bequest of €54,000 but even that sum is a massive drop from the nearly €152,000 the diocese received in 2011 from such gifts.

The total income for the diocese of Killaloe in 2012 was down by €171,000 from that in 2011.

The Bishop has urged the faithful to help improve the financial picture through greater use of available tax concessions in respect of charitable donations.

Despite the concerns over the drop in parish donations, overall there was good news for Killaloe as had a net surplus of €162,750 for 2012, when gross income for property and other investment portfolios were taken into consideration.

Bishop O’Reilly also highlighted in his letter that the small west of Ireland diocese raised €317,000 for Trócaire and other missionary activities.  

“The total contributions from the people of our Diocese towards Trócaire and other relief agencies, in the six years 2007 to 2012 inclusive, now exceed € 2.5 million,” he said.

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