Killaloe priests donate thousands to diocese

 

THE PRIESTS of the Catholic Diocese of Killaloe have paid more than €340,000 to shore up the diocese’s finances.

Accounts for 2010 and 2009 published yesterday show that the priests in the diocese have contributed €343,913 to its coffers over the two years.

The accounts also show that an individual – who wishes to remain anonymous – donated €100,000 to the diocese in 2009 in response to its financial troubles.

The accounts also disclose further payments to victims of clerical sex abuse in 2010 and 2009 totalling €428,162, bringing to €2.24 million the sum paid by the diocese since 2003 to victims of sexual abuse.

The priests’ contributions arose from the global financial crisis as Killaloe had, before the crash in 2008, relied on dividends from shares, mainly in banks, to fund its operations.

Priests have an annual salary of between €22,000 and €27,240. On average, over 2010 and 2009, each of the 90 priests in the diocese contributed €3,821. The move comes against following the collapse of the diocese’s income from investments and dividends.

In 2008, €468,521 was generated from its investments, representing 42 per cent of its income. Last year, investment and dividend returns had plummeted by 89 per cent to €50,988.

In a statement accompanying yesterday’s accounts, Bishop of Killaloe Dr Kieran O’Reilly praised the priests for “contributing extremely generously from personal funds a total of almost €172,000” in 2010.

Parishes across the diocese have also responded to the church’s financial troubles by increasing their total contribution from €559,725 in 2008 to €812,050 in 2009 and €795,595 last year. This resulted in the diocese recording a surplus of €93,941 in 2010 compared to a deficit of €22,403 in 2008.

One of the priests to contribute, Fr Brendan Quinlivan, said yesterday that the priests “were very happy to play their part. They have responded very generously.”

He said the contributions followed a request from former bishop Dr Willie Walsh that priests contribute in response to the drop-off in investment income.