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Congregation’s response to the Irish Government in light of the Ryan Report

The Religious Sisters of Charity have written the following letter to the Minister for Education and Science in regard to the congregation’s commitment to make a further voluntary contribution in light of the Ryan report:





The following summary was made by the Panel of Three appointed by the Government:
€m                           €m
Financial Resources as at 31 May – Irish Province and Land & Buildings held by the Irish based Generalate
Land & Buildings                                                                233.0  
Financial assets                                                                   32.8  
Other assets                                                                            0.4                       266.2
of which:                    

Property in use at present or
subject to restriction                                                        232.6  
Restricted funds                                                                   0.4                          233.0

Liabilities & Commitments   
Liabilities                                                                              0.7                               0.7
Continuation of services                                                 11.6  
Living, welfare and
care of members                                                              38.8                            50.4


We are currently updating the valuation of our property in order to reflect the reality of property values in the present economic climate.
We will update this website page as soon as the information is available to us.

Further information contained in our Statement of Affairs
The number of sisters in the congregation as at 30th June 2009 was 465.  There are 264 sisters in the Irish Province with an average age of 75; 181 sisters are aged over 70.  It is estimated that 30 sisters are likely to return to Ireland from our missions abroad within the next few years.

Traditionally all congregational properties are ‘held’ by the Generalate which is based in Ireland.  Of the land and buildings set out in the Panel’s summary, €207.2m relates to Ireland and €26m is situated overseas. Overseas property is in use as convents, a primary school, 3 secondary schools, a hospital and for the provision of charitable services such as assisting victims of human trafficking.

Of total property in Ireland, 15 primary schools (3 of which are for pupils with special needs) and 8 secondary schools account for €64m,  properties from which services are delivered  €85m, convents €53m and administrative properties €5m. There are local authority mortgages of €2m.

Properties under Lease/Licence relate to Healthcare, Pastoral and Social Services, e.g. Day Centres, Counselling Services, Adoption/Tracing Services, Meals on Wheels, Older Person Special Needs including people with a visual impairment, Convalescent/Nursing Homes, Adult Education.  All of these have been valued at Open Market Rental Values.  Many are on sites with high values and the buildings are either purpose built or have been refurbished to suit the service.  We subsidise rents annually in excess of €4m so that services can be provided.

Four of our properties and services have been transferred into companies and are not included in our Statement of Affairs (St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group Ltd.; Our Lady’s Hospice Ltd.; St. Patrick’s Centre (Kilkenny) and St. Patrick’s Hospital (Cork) Ltd.)  Another six companies have the properties leased to them for a nominal amount well below their open market value.  The Memorandum and Articles of Association of these companies state that should these companies be wound up any surplus assets must be transferred to a similar charitable entity.  The Boards of these companies set policy without reference to the congregation.  All of the companies are registered charities and therefore no dividend may be paid to the shareholders.

In some cases properties were handed over with no financial benefit to the congregation, e.g. properties to the value of €51.6m were transferred without sale in the past ten years, the latest of which was St. Mary’s, Baldoyle which was handed over to St. Michael’s House in phases between 2005 and 2007 in order to provide a broader range of services for the children and young adults in St. Mary’s.  Cappagh Orthopaedic Hospital (The Lady Martin Trust) was also handed over.  This was transferred to The Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital Limited in 2006 to secure its future as part of a broader grouping of health care facilities.

Congregational property was sold worldwide over the last 10 years to the value of €63.5m.  The funds received from the sale of these properties were used for the continuation and development of the mission of the congregation in Ireland and overseas and the provision of community care.  It was also necessary to provide alternative accommodation for sisters where properties were sold or handed over.

The Religious Sisters of Charity submitted their Statement of Affairs, as requested by the Government, on 22nd July 2009.