Power of prayer pushes profits at RDS

Eucharistic Congress helps Dublin institution to bumper year

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin at the opening of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress ceremony and Mass in the RDS. Photograph: Alan Betson

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin at the opening of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress ceremony and Mass in the RDS. Photograph: Alan Betson

Fri, Apr 19, 2013, 05:00

Faith and security were key elements in the Royal Dublin Society in Ballsbridge increasing its surplus by 27 per cent to a record €2.1 million in 2012.

The 282-year-old institution had a bumper year thanks to hosting the International Eucharistic Congress, which drew an attendance of 15,000 last June, and the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Ministerial Conference, which brought 1,200 delegates to Dublin.

You can add to that two Bruce Springsteen outdoor concerts, the annual Dublin Horse Show, which attracts about 88,000 over its five days, Leinster Rugby’s roster of home matches, including the RaboDirect PRO12 Final against the Ospreys, and a raft of exhibitions, exams and other gatherings.

The RDS’s income rose by 15.2 per cent to just more than €19 million while its expenses were 19 per cent higher at €16.5 million. Income wise, this was the society’s best year since 2008, when the economy crashed.

This gave the society an operating surplus of €2.5 million. Interest payments on its offices development on Simmonscourt Road reduced by roughly one-third to €635,000 while the finance costs amounted to €128,000. Investment income increased by 38 per cent to €289,000.

The RDS closed 2012 with 3,932 members, slightly down on the previous year.

Chief executive Michael Duffy acknowledged that the Eucharistic Congress and OSCE were once-off events and that the RDS’s performance this year is likely to be “more in line” with 2011. “They drove revenue in an exceptional way,” Duffy said.

This year, the RDS will rock to the sound of two old stagers – Rod Stewart and Neil Young – while the venue will host the Amlin Cup Final, European rugby’s second tier competition to the Heineken Cup.

Naming rights
Duffy said plans to sell the naming rights to the venue are still progressing.

“We’ve been in active discussions for the past few months with two or three parties,” he said.

Funding from the rights would help towards the cost of replacing the Anglesea Stand with a more modern structure.

The RDS also has permission to build additional offices on its grounds but this expires in 2014.

Duffy said the society would only proceed with the offices if it could pre-let to tenants.