The Black Santa – Rev David Gillespie
The scandal over payments to Central Remedial Clinic executives and former executives ratcheted up again with revelations that former Chief Executive Paul Kiely got €542,000 more in his retirement package than was disclosed to the Public Accounts Committee in December. The issue that has shocked people most is that funds paid into the CRC for charitable purposes turn out to have been paid to individuals. Elsewhere charities have been reported suffering the fallout as people withhold donations. As he started his Christmas sit-out on December 18th the Reverend David Gillespie might have wondered whether passers-by might keep walking past St. Ann’s Church on Dublin’s Dawson Street. It is there that the Church of Ireland vicar and his predecessors have mounted their annual ‘Black Santa’ pre-Christmas collection. Reverend Gillespie need not have worried. Although the collection was down from a high of €30,000 in previous years to some €28,000 in 2013 the Derry-born vicar, who was a journalist before his ordination, believes the smaller collection is because of particularly bad weather at the time. He spoke to Paul Loughlin.