The fundraising bodies attached to Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin and the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin have moved to reassure the public that none of the money they raise goes in "top-up" payments to senior executives.
Both voluntary hospitals have been found to make top-up payments. In the case of Crumlin, the chief executive, Lorcan Birthistle, was receiving a €30,000 top-up from the hospital shop to fund his €140,808 salary, while the master of the Rotunda Hospital, Sam Coulter Smith, is in receipt of a total remuneration package of €306,116, part of which comes from a "privately funded allowance" of €20,000.
Crumlin medical research foundation chief executive Joe Quinsey said "absolutely none" of the money raised goes on hospital salaries. "All our funding goes to help sick children. So don't give up on them. They need your support now as much as ever."
A statement from Friends of the Rotunda, an independent charity with its own board of directors, said none of the money it raises was used for any salary/allowance payments to hospital management or staff.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who is the chair of the Crumlin hospital board, declined to comment.
His spokeswoman said: "The membership of the board of Crumlin is a collegiate enterprise and Archbishop Martin will not be making statements himself outside of those issued on behalf of the hospital."
However, another board member, Fine Gael councillor Ruairi McGinley, defended the payments to Mr Birthistle. He said the basic salary of €110,000 paid to Mr Birthistle was "not the appropriate salary for the CEO of a national children's hospital".
He did not have an issue with commercial revenue being used to top up Mr Birthistle’s salary to a rate equivalent to that of senior executives in other Dublin hospitals.
"My first point of call would be to change the HSE scale. The second point would be that the business case for the present salary is justified. I certainly don't believe the issue of any amount being recouped arises," he told the RTÉ Radio 1.