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Deputy Wynne said it was very disappointing that the funds hadn’t ended up with the charity.

West Clare Cancer Centre never received Wynne’s €12k payment

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IT has emerged that the West Clare Cancer Centre never received a financial boost of just over €12,000 that was expected to come to it, following a payment from TD Violet Anne Wynne to Rural Resettlement Ireland (RRI) over two years ago.

The Sinn Féin TD made the payment to RRI to resolve an underpayment of rent and at the time representatives of RRI said it would be given to the West Clare Cancer Centre.

However, it is now understood that due to a clause in its constitution, RRI could only transfer the money to another housing body. None was identified, and with the company having since gone into liquidation, its remaining assets are to be distributed by its liquidator.

It is also understood that the West Clare Cancer Centre was not made aware of why the payment had not been made, nor was Ms Wynne.

An article in last week’s Clare Champion stated that Ms Wynne had made a payment to RRI to resolve an underpayment of rent, and that the funds had “ultimately ended up with the West Clare Cancer Centre.”

However, chairperson of the West Clare Cancer Centre Willie McGrath wrote to the paper subsequently to say that no money had been received from either Ms Wynne or RRI.

“Our financial donations are receipted and our accounts are audited on a yearly basis. As a community-based charity we strive to be open and transparent at all times.

“The TD’s office made contact with our centre on several occasions to secure a receipt for monies received, however we were unable to provide this as no funds were received.”

In May of 2020 Ms Wynne’s solicitor made the required payment of €12,126 to Michael Nolan & Co Solicitors in Kilrush, who were representing Rural Resettlement Ireland, which, by this stage was no longer active, but had not yet gone into liquidation.

Later that month RRI founder Jim Connolly spoke to The Clare Champion and said that the money would be going to West Clare Cancer Centre, while Mr McGrath also told the Clare Champion that the organisation would be delighted to accept it. However, the sum of money never arrived.

This week a spokesperson for RRI’s solicitors said that the organisation was actually precluded from giving the money to the West Clare Cancer Centre, but this hadn’t been realised initially.

“First of all it was Jim’s intention that it would go to the West Clare Cancer Centre. But under the terms of the constitution of the Rural Resettlement, in the event of it ceasing to trade it could only go to a housing body of one sort or another. It couldn’t go to a cancer organisation.”

However, he said a compatible body had not been found, while the company entered voluntary liquidation earlier this year and a form filed with the Companies Office showed that RRI had assets of €10,964 and liabilities of €8,542 on the last day of 2021.

Ms Wynne said it was very disappointing that the funds hadn’t ended up with the charity. “They were tied into this situation and they’ve had two years of uncertainty and whatever goes with that, before coming to the conclusion that they won’t receive it.”

The West Clare Cancer Centre has three taxis working full-time to take patients to and from treatment, while it also offers services such as counselling and complementary therapies. It is located in Kilkee and has raised over €3 million for the provision of cancer care services in West Clare.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.