A West Clare charity has received an unexpected windfall of €12,116 following the transfer of funds owed to another charitable organisation by General Election poll topper, Violet Anne-Wynne.
John Lynch of John Lynch and Company Solicitors, Newcastle West, has transferred a payment of rent arrears owed by Deputy Wynne following her eviction from a Rural Resettlement Ireland house to their solicitor, John Nolan.
On receipt on these funds, RRI founder, Jim Connolly decided to donate this money to the West Clare Cancer Care Centre in Kilkee as the RRI no longer exists.
Last February, Mr Connolly proposed that Deputy Wynne should make a donation of €12,000 to charity in view of the fact she will earn an annual salary of €96,189 and is now a Dáil legislator.
Deputy Wynne and her partner John Montaine were asked to respond to a claim notice issued by RRI for the sum of €12,126 being the amount of four years’ rent arrears of rent up to June 3rd, 2016, according to court documents.
A weekly rent of €63.64 was set under a letting agreement dated December 1, 2011 and the family remained in the Tullycrine house until December 2017.
RRI were granted a decree for possession of their premises at Tullycrine, Kilrush by Ennis District Court on July 28, 2017 with a two month stay.
Deputy Wynne has stated the couple paid 12 months rent and a deposit until they experienced serious financial difficulties due to health problems.
Deputy Wynne said she had always intended to pay back the arrears and had a few ideas of where any donation could be made.
The Kilrush-based deputy decided to employ a solicitor to ensure that she was doing everything properly as she had no previous experience with the legalities around making this donation.
She said her solicitor informed her the RRI is still registered as a charity even though it doesn’t have any staff on its books and isn’t operating.
The advice from her solicitor was to make the donation to the RRI and he helped to facilitate this transaction.
Commenting on RRI’s choice of charity, Deputy Wynne said she is delighted this money is benefiting a West Clare charity.
“Many charities are experiencing difficulties as they can’t fundraise at the moment to fund the much needed services they provide people. Charities fill a lot of gaps in the West Clare area. I find West Clare is almost an anomaly because it doesn’t have neighbouring communities to connect into.
“West Clare is very much cut off. The neighbouring community for Kilrush to avail of certain services in Ennis, which is 40 kilometres away.
“I feel this matter is now at an end. I am delighted I am in a position to repay the money, which was always my desire. It is through the opportunity of people electing me as a Dáil deputy that I am in a position to pay the money that was owed.
RRI founder, Jim Connolly recalled it was one of the hardest decisions he had every made to lodge court proceedings to evict a family for non-payment of rent.
“This was never a personal debt for me as it was owed to RRI a registered charity. I am glad this matter is finally wrapped up now. It gives me no personal satisfaction that a person obeys a court order, that is a matter for the law if they don’t.
“I welcome the payment in terms of what now can be done with it.
“The West Clare Cancer Care Centre are an extraordinary charity doing extraordinary voluntary work transporting cancer patients to hospitals,” he said.
Mr Connolly said it is important that any lawmaker complies with a court order, which he acknowledged Deputy Wynne has addressed through this donation.
Willie McGrath of the West Clare Cancer Centre said they are delighted to accept such a large donation for the charity, which has been supporting cancer patients living in West Clare since 1998.
Mr McGrath said it the donation is very welcome because a lot of their fundraising will not go ahead this year due to Covid-19.
He recalled previous tractor runs in Mullagh and Carrigaholt used to generate in the region of €10,000 in total, will not take place in the near future.