Wexford man leaves over €1m to Irish Cancer Society in will

Charity says no restrictions imposed by the donor ‘on this generous donation’

A Co Wexford man left over €1 million to the Irish Cancer Society in 2018.

The man — a native of Enniscorthy — bequeathed the bulk of his estate to five charities and it is not known at this stage what other four charities received bequests and how much each received.

However, the ICS confirmed on Friday that the man bequeathed €1.039 million to the charity, as noted in newly published annual accounts for the ICS.

The ICS does know the identity of the Wexford man but declined to say who he is out of respect for his wish for privacy.


The largest tranche of the man’s bequest to the ICS came on March 16th last year when €750,000 was transferred to the ICS as the charity was at the time reeling from its decision to cancel its major annual fundraiser, Daffodil Day due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A spokeswoman for the ICS said: “The gentleman was originally from Enniscorthy in Co Wexford but had lived in Dublin for some time.”

She said: “The donor had never married and had been predeceased by his parents and siblings.”

The man died in 2018 and the ICS spokeswoman said the charity was first notified of the intention of the deceased to leave a bequest to the charity including a cash gift of €50,000 in December 2018.

She stated: “Further details were provided in March 2020. We have no information on the other selected charities.”

The ICS spokeswoman said that there are no restrictions imposed by the donor “on this generous donation”.

She said: “The money will be used to continue to provide vital free services such as Night Nursing, our Freephone cancer Support Line, free cancer information, Daffodil Centres across all major hospitals, a transport to treatment service and counselling for anyone affected by cancer.”

The ICS was last year forecasting a €3.8 million hole in its finances for 2020 due to the pandemic.

However, the ICS’s annual report shows that the end of year total of €21.94m was only €2.34m down on the 2019 revenue total of €24.29m.

The ICS’s spend reduced from €21.88m to €20.46m with the charity recording a surplus of €2m for the year.

The donation by the Enniscorthy native contributed to the ICS receiving €4.08 million in legacies — an increase of €840,000 on the 2019 total.

The income from the charity’s flagship daffodil day was last year €1.8m compared to €3.67m in 2019.

However, this year, Daffodil Day income soared to €7m — its most successful Daffodil Day in its history greatly helped by the success of a Late Late Show Daffodil Day special raised over €3 million alone.

The spokeswoman said: "On average 97 per cent of funding for the Irish Cancer Society comes directly from public donations, so it's thanks to the generosity of our wonderful donors, fundraisers and volunteers that we are able to provide services and support to ensure nobody in Ireland has to face cancer alone. Without this generosity, the Irish Cancer Society would not exist and the free supports for anyone affected by cancer such as Night Nursing, Daffodil Centres, the Support Line or counselling would not be available."

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times