Survey shows many chief executives of charities earning more than €100,000


More than 40 per cent of charities that responded to a survey conducted by The Irish Times pay their chief executives €100,000 or more.

Although a majority of charities contacted agreed to reveal their chief executives’ pay, a small number would not.

Three of 32 charities that supplied information – the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children , Unicef Ireland and Misean Cara – did not disclose their chief executives’ salary. Unicef Ireland said it disclosed total pay for all employees in its annual accounts but not for individual employees, adding that the role of executive director was remunerated at levels comparable to other international charities.

The ISPCC said the charity’s board had “decided not to release this information at this point in time”.

Misean Cara said it was “100 per cent funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, via Irish Aid” and allocated 6 per cent of the budget for administration, including salaries and rent, and operated “within that parameter”.

Six other charities – Ability West, Bóthar, the Irish Fair Trade Network, Christian Aid Ireland, Oxfam Ireland and the Western Care Association – gave indicators as to how much their chiefs were paid.

Eight charities did not respond to requests for information.

The Irish Times conducted its survey earlier this year to provide a snapshot of the non-profit sector in the context of the Government’s decision to defer the implementation of the Charities Act on cost grounds.

‘Public trust’

The survey involved 40 organisations spanning a wide range of services and programmes.

The decision was made not to include the Rehab Group in the survey, as many of its activities have a commercial basis.

Commenting on the charities’ failure to respond to the survey, Deirdre Garvey, chief executive of the Wheel network, said given that 60-70 per cent of the sector’s income came from the State and 20-25 per cent came directly from the public, transparency was paramount.

“There should be no reason whatsoever that an organisation would not divulge in a completely transparent way the information about where its money is coming from and what its money is being spent on,” she said. “We are a sector that depends utterly and entirely on public trust for our survival.”

The highest-paid chief executive of the 32 charities that supplied information to the newspaper was at Enable Ireland – with a salary of €156,241 per year.

The charity said its chief executive had never availed of the 10 per cent bonus available to all senior public sector grades; had waived a pay increase of 2.5 per cent in 2008; and took a pay reduction to bring the salary in line with the public service cut of 12 per cent.


Ms Garvey said chief executives’ salaries were “relevant to the size of the business and the area of work these organisations are in”, adding that those paying such a level of salary “are usually organisations with turnover of €10 million-plus”, and that these salaries compared favourably with their private- and public-sector equivalents. There is an optional level of disclosure, specifically designed for charities, called the Statement of Recommended Practice for financial reporting, under which organisations can provide more detailed accounts, including remuneration data, in the interests of transparency.

Of the 8,000 non-profit bodies registered in Ireland, only 165 have opted to follow the SORP standard. If the Charities Act was enforced, it would be mandatory for all non-profit organisations to adopt this code.

A Department of Justice spokeswoman said it planned to start a consultation process early next year on bringing the Act into force. Ms Garvey said she was encouraged that the consultation process “seemed to be back on track . . . We do need an independent regulator to be able to be that independent voice that provides that information to the public.”