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Thursday 21 September 2023 Dublin: 13°C
# the trust
Troubled Rehab and CRC lottery takes first, faltering step towards recovery
The Care Trust, affected by its parent charities’ scandals, is back in the black – but all is not as it seems.

collector The Care Trust The Care Trust

THE CHARITY THAT raises money for Rehab and the Central Remedial Clinic has begun to bounce back from the scandals of 2014, but an analysis by suggests all is not entirely as it seems in the Care Trust’s road to recovery.

According to newly-published financial statements, The Care Trust managed to operate at a profit last year, for only the second time in six years.

However, a deeper analysis by reveals that the charity is still – as it has for some years – being propped up financially by at least one of the charities for which it exists to raise money.

And although significant strides have been made in cutting costs and reducing executive salaries, the organisation’s boss is still among the highest-paid in the Irish charity sector, despite leading a relatively small organisation.

In fact, Senan Mullins, the CEO of the Care Trust, which exists in part to raise money for the Central Remedial Clinic, is on a salary almost €30,000 higher than the CEO of the CRC itself.

But first, the basics.

What is the Care Trust?

The Care Trust is a registered charity which is owned on a 50/50 basis by Rehab and Friends and Supporters of the CRC, a Central Remedial Clinic subsidiary at the heart of scandals over executive pay in 2014.

Its mission is to raise money for Rehab, the CRC, and the Mater University Hospital, through subscriptions which enter members of the public into three draws a month, with cars and cash as prizes.

Until last year, the money it raised for the CRC actually went to the Friends and Supporters of the CRC, from which it was ultimately transferred to the CRC.

From 2015 on, though, all CRC funds are sent straight to the CRC.

On its website, the Care Trust says:

Our beneficiaries receive state funding and also fundraise directly themselves. However the money provided by The Care Trust is hugely important as it is a vital source of extra funding which is allocated to a broad range of projects and services supporting children and adults.

According to its 2015 annual report, published last week, the Care Trust had around 42,000 donors in December, via direct debit, salary deductions, and one-off donations.

Here’s how the lottery has worked over the last few years, using average figures from 2010-2014. (We’ll get to 2015 later).

TCTlogo The Care Trust The Care Trust

  • €7.26 million comes in from people paying to enter draws (the lottery)
  • By law, at least 60% is ring-fenced for prizes and charities. That’s €4.38 million
  • €570,000 goes out in prizes, leaving…
  • €3.8 million for charities
  • Of that, €1.78 million each goes to Rehab and the CRC (via Friends and Supporters of the CRC), and €250,000 goes to the Mater
  • The Care Trust’s (maximum 40%) cut is €2.88 million
  • Of that, €934,000 is paid to the agents who solicit direct debits door-to-door, over the phone, and so on, leaving…
  • €1.95 million for the Care Trust
  • Employees must be paid. On average, there are 31 – eight in management and 23 in the field. This costs €1.51 million
  • Then there are admin costs and overheads: expenses for staff, office costs, travel, rent, marketing and advertising
  • When you add up all the expenditure, it comes to €2,508,660
  • The Care Trust was left with €1,947,688
  • With some mitigations and savings, this means an average operating loss of €385,084 from 2010-2014
  • Then Rehab and the CRC, who co-own the Care Trust, step in. They forgive loans worth (on average) €484,800
  • This brings the Care Trust back into the black, with a net profit of €100,417

00148622 Former CEO Angela Kerins at a Rehab board meeting in 2014.

However, the forgiveness of loans by Rehab and the CRC is tantamount to those charities handing back hundreds of thousands of euro to what is, essentially, their fundraising arm, simply in order to cover the cost of fundraising.

In 2010, for example, the Care Trust was left with a massive operating loss of €858,000.

Then Rehab and the CRC forgave loans amounting to €956,000, allowing for a net profit of €98,269.

Remember, however, that by law at least 60% of charity lottery proceeds must actually go to charities.

It could be argued that writing off a loan is essentially the same thing as handing over a sum of money.

This was a point made in a 2014 report by John Cregan, who was appointed by the HSE as Interim Administrator of the Central Remedial Clinic, following that year’s scandal.

The Care Trust pays 60% to the beneficiaries but the expenses of operating the lottery exceed the 40% threshold. The resulting deficit is funded on a 50/50 basis by loans from [the Friends and Supporters of the CRC] and Rehab.
These loans have been forgiven by [the Friends and Supporters of the CRC] and Rehab, i.e. the loans are not repaid.
The effect of above transactions was to reduce the lottery proceeds [the CRC] ultimately received to less than the 60% paid, in the first instance, by The Care Trust, as required under the Gaming and Lotteries Act, 1956.

Staying with the example of 2010, the Care Trust gave €4,123,947 to its charities that year – Rehab, the CRC and the Mater. But two of those charities effectively handed back €956,000 to the Care Trust, leaving a net contribution to the charities of €3,167,647.

Total lottery income that year was around €8 million, meaning the three charities ultimately gained only around 40% of that – well below the 60% they got in the first place.

Last year

2015report The Care Trust The Care Trust

In 2015, the Care Trust had a significant net profit for the first time in years – €74,897.

(In 2013, they had a net profit of €9,242, but this was essentially due to savings of €289,000 when the company ended its defined benefit pension scheme).

And there appears to have been a real turnaround in various practices in the last 12 months.

  • Firstly, the mass resignation of the CRC and Rehab boards automatically led to the appointment of a new board to the Care Trust (whose directors are made up entirely from the two parent charities).
  • Secondly, the Care Trust cut its overall spending by 16% from 2014. Total staff pay dropped by 15%, and the number of employees went from 19 to 17. (In 2010, there were 41 staff, 10 of them managers).

Those continued redundancies have extended to the upper echelons of the charity, with one senior executive being let go in 2014, a regional sales manager following in 2015, and the resignation of the HR Director, whose position will not be filled.

  • Thirdly, last week’s annual report is among the most transparent you will find in the entire Irish charity sector, outlining income and spending in relatively scrupulous detail, and giving salary ranges for anyone paid over €70,000.

The new board seems to have fully heeded CRC administrator John Cregan’s warning that:

It is only through greater transparency on the part of The Care Trust itself and its shareholding organisations that the public will continue to support its core lottery business.

It would appear, then, that the Care Trust has managed to go from red to black (2014 saw a net loss of €231,000), while keeping salaries down and costs low.

However, a deeper analysis of the facts suggests that 2015′s healthy numbers may be somewhat superficial, that the Care Trust is once again depending on one of its parent charities for financial support, and that despite cuts, it still has one of the best-paid charity CEOs in Ireland.


rehabbonanza Rehab Fundraising Rehab Fundraising

Toward the beginning of 2015, it was decided that subscribers to the Rehab Bonanza draw (known within the Rehab-CRC-Care Trust family as “members”) would be transferred over to the Care Trust draw.

A spokesperson for Rehab told that this decision emerged from “a restructuring of Rehab’s cost base and fundraising activities”.

Those former Bonanza subscribers brought in €652,208 in extra income in 2015, a figure not included in the annual report, but provided by the Care Trust in response to our enquiries.

The cost of integrating them into the fold was “minimal”, according to the spokesperson, and “no additional staff were required.”

What this means, effectively, is that Rehab handed the Care Trust a batch of previously signed-up subscribers, worth more than €650,000.

The prize fund was not affected by this infusion of income. In fact, the value of prizes handed out by the Care Trust last year was actually lower than in previous years – €564,806 as opposed to €569,904 in 2014.

In return, Rehab got €198,975 back from the proceeds of former Bonanza subscribers – leaving a net gain of around €450,000 for the Care Trust.

With all other things being equal, let’s take Bonanza out of the equation, and see how 2015 would have looked for the Care Trust.

  • €5,724,754 in lottery income is reduced to €5,072,546
  • 61.4% was ring-fenced for charities and prizes, so let’s set aside that percentage. That’s €3,114,050.
  • Subtract €564,806 for prizes, and €2,549,244 is left for the charities.
  • €250,000 goes to the Mater, as it does every year, and Rehab and the CRC split the rest 50/50 – that’s €1,149,622 each.
  • The Care Trust gets €1,958,496
  • Expenditure remains €2,129,115 (remember, there was little or no cost to the Care Trust for taking on Bonanza subscribers)
  • That’s an operating loss of €170,619


senanmullins The Care Trust The Care Trust CEO Senan Mullins The Care Trust

As mentioned above, the Care Trust has clearly made strides towards cutting salaries, and in particular cutting executive salaries.

In 2014, five of its 19 staff were paid above €70,000. In‘s recent survey of 40 leading charities, this was the highest proportion (26.3%) of any organisation.

In 2015, that number dropped to three. But in a reduced staff of 17, that’s still almost 18% being paid above €70,000.

Charities are only beginning to publish their 2015 accounts, but 18% would leave the Care Trust as at least one of the charities with the highest proportion of employees paid more than €70,000.

It should be noted, however, that the senior management staff has since reduced to two, with the departure of the Director of HR.

The Care Trust CEO Senan Mullins has a salary of €119,500, and our survey found he was the seventh-highest paid charity boss in Ireland, based on figures from 2014, when his salary was €119,950.

This is despite overseeing a staff of less than 20, and revenue of less than €6 million.

Others in the Top 10 (which you can see here) manage thousands of employees and tens of millions of euro in income.

Mullins also receives an in-kind benefit worth €12,545 in the form of a 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe, leaving his total remuneration at €132,045, not including pension contributions, which the Care Trust declined to provide.

Interestingly, the new CEO of the Central Remedial Clinic, Stephanie Manahan, ranks in the bottom half for executive salaries – being paid €90,262 to oversee 266 employees and more than €18 million in revenue.

This means the head of the organisation set up, in part, to fundraise for the CRC, which provides services for thousands of children and adults with disabilities, has a total remuneration €41,783 higher than the head of the CRC itself.

To examine the Care Trust’s financial reports from 2011-2015, click here.

To read the Interim Administrator’s report on the CRC, click here.

Read: “Badly damaged” – 8 uneasy facts exposed by Rehab’s turn at PAC>

Read: ‘A twisted web’ – Credit cards, foreign trips and 5 other things we learned from the CRC hearings>

REVEALED: The charities with CEOs still earning more than €100,000>

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