Russborough House records €395,000 loss in 2014

Charity previously relied on grant support from Fáilte Ireland and Wicklow council


Losses at Russborough House last year came to almost €395,000, according to figures just filed by the Alfred Beit Foundation at Companies House.

The charity reported a surplus of €568,414 in 2013, but that was due largely to the sale of a collection of Chinese porcelain, which delivered an exceptional gain of more than €1.125 million in that year.

In 2014 the foundation reports that it made just €187,678 on admissions to Russborough House and maze, with a further €48,368 coming from sales at its shop, as well as €68,738 from selling a book, Russborough: A Great Irish House, its Families and Collections.

However, wages and salaries for its 16 staff exceeded that sum – at almost €320,000 – before making any allowance for insurance, security costs and repair and maintenance.

Total income, including donations came to almost €900,000 but operating costs were almost €1.1 million, even before allowing for depreciation in the value of the building.

The accounts state that the committee of management of the foundation values Russborough House at around €44 million for insurance purposes, but it is valued at just €4.27 million under “assets” in the books of account.

Russborough has depended heavily in the past on generous grant support but tighter economic circumstances mean grants last year – from Wicklow County Council and Fáilte Ireland – came to just under €21,000.

While making no specific reference to the controversial ongoing sale of nine paintings, the directors’ report on 2014 says: “The foundation is undertaking a fundraising campaign with a view to creating an endowment to safeguard the long-term future of Russborough.”

In their report the directors state that the principal risk faced by the foundation is the current economic environment and its effect on its fundraising capabilities.