Re: Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

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St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh, Co. Cork

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it is that time of year again (in fact a little anticipated) when we all have the pleasure of reading he returns made to the Companies Registration Office by St. Colman’s Roman Catholic Trust Limited. This, as you will recall is the body which raises “funds for the restoration of St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh, Co. Cork”. This year’s report is presented by Denis Murphy, the milk person from Mallow, but it remains ambivelant whether he is presenting the report as chairman of the Trust or not. It is dated 8 July 2010 – a fatal day for on that very day Bishop John Magee resigned as chairman of the Trust with immediate effect.

The boldest statement in the report (which, we must admit, is of fig-leaf dimensions) is that the Trust “intends to continue in its efforts to raise funds for the completion of the restoration“. It was well that this was stated as an intention. As a pious aspiration it might have been better – especially when we look at the results of the fund raising efforts for the financial year ended 31 December 2009. An enterprising boy would have done better for his confirmation.

Briefly, the fundraising activities amounted to 28,036 euro in bank interest; 40,000 euro from the Department of the Environment, heritage and Local Government, and 70, 000 euro from The Heritage Council. No donations, bequests or endowments are reported. So, that is the sum total of the efforts “to raise funds for the completion of the restoration of St Colman’s Cathedral” to year’s end 2009.

Praxiteles has to say that the bank interest received is pretty miserable – even for the present straightened circumstances. Perhaps the Trust might try a Post Office stamp account – the interest return could not be worse.

In the same period, 377,190 euro was spend on works to th Cathedral – presumably to stop the water coming in as a result of the “restoration” being pursued by the Trust. This left the Trust with a negative situation in the amount of 239, 154 euro which was subvented from reserves.

At the opening of the year, the rserve amounted to 1,093,274 euro. Subvenbting the works’ loss left the reserve at 854,120 euro at year’s end. However, as contingency item for 190,461 is charged to the reserve (this is money that may have to be repaid to the Heritage Council in the event of a breach of covenant made with the Heritage Council as a condition for funding received in the 1990s) it looks as though the reserve fund now really stands at 673,659 euro. Bearing in mind that the report commissioned for the Heritage Council states that some 1 million will have to be spent simply to make the building waterproof after the botched restoration Praxiteles is beginning to see a red coloured horizon – especially as the general population in Cork at present would not subscribe much to an appeal after the last run around the got.

More sad news: The Directors of St Colman’s Catholic Trust have now shrunk to three: brian Carroll, Denis Murphy, and the intrepid Fran Walley. They do not seem to have a chairman at the moment. Denis Murphy, in his report, wishes to place on record “our debt of gratitude to the contributions made by The Ven. Archdeacon WilliamTwohig (RIP) and to Rt Rev Mgr Denis O’Callaghan and Rt Rev Mgr James O’Donnell, who both retired on age grounds“. Everybody, I think, realizes that that is Alic in Wonderland and it remains to be seen whether the “debit of gratitude” will be re-iterated in next year’s report. Nobody has come on to the board of directors – clearly signs of the times and of trouble convincing business persons of the worthwhileness of this particular enterprise.

Praxiteles is beginning to wonder how a company can continue to operate with three directors – especially when one has to act the chairman. As it is, it looks more than probable that there is a winding-up on the horizon – but will anyone be left to propose second and vote for it at a board meeting? Perhaps a trip to the commercial court might resolve the matter in the end?

If anybody thought that the financial crisis was over, he should think again having purused this awful set of results:

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