And the Oul' Collecting Tin Went Jingle-Jangle...

It feels like I have been bashing Ireland a lot these past few days, but then that's like blaming someone playing Whack-a-mole for battering the little blighters when they appear.

The RTÉ News.

As a further illustration of the endemic problems Ireland has, I now have to turn to the sorry tale of the charitable sector and the inflated pay of some of its senior executives.

Ireland is rather odd in that much of what is the function of the State in most other countries (the provision of education, healthcare and other social services) was contracted out to the 'charitable sector' (primarily the Catholic Church) by a very poor newborn national government, and enthusiastically embraced by churches, holy orders and charities, for whom the provision of such services guaranteed a line of government funding, and gave them a degree of control over the recipients of the services (think again of the Catholic Church and education).  The result is the sad tale of the like of the Magdalene laundries
And although charitable fundraising to supplement the budgets of hospitals and schools is pretty common in the UK and the US, it is (I think) even more prevalent in Ireland, where many of the charities and institutions could not function at all, despite funds from central government, without the committed and dedicated work of its supporters and volunteers, running raffles, selling teddies and taking street donations, all to plug a gap in service provision that the inadequacy of funds from direct taxation has created.  Many of these charities, such as the Central Remedial Clinic
I cannot begin to understand then the disappointment and sense of betrayal felt by people such as , when they discovered that the Board of the CRC, like that of St. Vincent's hospital

Essentially, when Ireland fell into economic crisis, pay-caps were introduced across much of the public sector to reflect the strained circumstances the Exchequer found itself in, and to dampen public anger towards salaries that were barely justifiable during the boom times let alone in a country that was bankrupt.  For charitable bodies like the CRC and St. Vincent's, whose senior executives receive salaries that are mostly funded from the public purse, but also partly-funded from private sources, the boards of these organisations decided (apparently having signed employment contracts that made no allowance for pay reductions in times of reduced funding) to adhere to their contractual obligations and top-up their CEO's pay-packets from their private funds.

Private funds (NB: Children In Need is in no way implicated)

So one of two things happened:Read more »