Galway S.V.P. donates €45k to LGBT Group


The Catholic Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Galway has donated €45,000 to local gay rights group AMACH!. The money donated came from the Maureen O’Connell fund. Ms Nula Ward from AMACH! says she is thrilled about receiving such a large amount of money from “such an esteemed organisation”: “We are delighted to announce solid support from SVP Maureen O’Connell Fund in the form of a grant! €45,000 over three years has been awarded to AMACH! towards the AMACH! LGBT Resource Centre project.”


Chair and Vice chair of AMACH! John Corcoran & Nuala Ward pictured here signing the contract at the SVP, Maureen O’Connell fund office.

In 2007, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Galway received a bequest of €7.8m from the late Maureen O’Connell, following the sale of her landmark Galway property “O’Connell’s” public house. The St. Augustine Conference is managing the spending of the bequest according to the terms of the Will, which states that “…funds should be used for the work of the SVP in Galway City and County.” The Conference is comprised of members of local SVP Conferences from throughout Galway.

Priorities of the Fund
In accordance with the aims and mission of the Society, the Maureen O’Connell Fund aims to tackle poverty in all its forms through the provision of practical assistance to those in need, specifically addressing poverty and isolation among older people, family poverty, child poverty, educational needs of disadvantaged children, young people and adults and homelessness. It will support innovative projects which complement the activities of SVP
Conferences which add value to existing services or fill gaps in existing services for the most disadvantaged groups.
Peter Quinlan, Acting President of St Augustine’s Conference, emphasises that “St. Augustine’s Conference is particularly anxious to help individuals or groups in need who have fallen through the cracks in the system and are not being helped or are being inadequately helped by other agencies.”
In September 2009 St Augustine’s Conference appointed a Project Manager, Annalisa Murphy, to manage the administration of the Maureen O’Connell Fund.

Annalisa Murphy

Annalisa Murphy

Project Manager, Annalisa Murphy says:
“Listening to the needs of disadvantaged people is what SVP volunteers do best and the reason Maureen O’Connell bequeathed her funds to this organisation. It is critically important to develop systems and procedures to ensure the Fund is managed in a fair and transparent manner. Maureen O’Connell entrusted her funds to the Society because she believed in what the Society stands for and the work the volunteers do. We in turn owe it to Miss O’Connell to be one hundred per cent accountable in the stewardship of the Maureen O’Connell Fund.”

The question of course is would the late Maureen O’Connell approve of the way the funds are being used by this Catholic organisation. She left her money to SVP in good faith that it would be used to help the poor and needy of Galway. I have difficulty understanding how a resource centre for the gay community falls into this category.

If SVP wants to support the gay community then why didn’t it use the €45,000 to set up a local branch of the amazing Catholic group ‘Courage’ who offer support, education and understanding of people who experience same sex attraction and also want to remain faithful to the Catholic Church? What an opportunity missed.

Bishop Martin Drennan of Galway has written to Galway SVP regarding this issue and is awaiting their reply.

Sources –

8 thoughts on “Galway S.V.P. donates €45k to LGBT Group

  1. In about 2003 I was part of the founding of a chapter of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul at the Parish of St. Timothy in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The emphasis on social justice can be beneficial if it is secondary to the sharing of the gospel, but unfortunately the gospel has become secondary for fear of offending those who are ‘receiving support’.

    How can we claim to be loving if we don’t bring the life giving gospel message, as our primary goal, in order to save precious souls. Great opportunities are being squandered, because rarely is a soul so open to the gospel as when it experiences physical hunger or nakedness or homelessness. Physical needs are real needs, but they are temporary, whereas the souls’ needs are eternal. That’s why our Lord Jesus emphasized the need to seek the Kingdom of God FIRST, and then the temporal needs would be provided for.

    Who among us is so ‘enlightened’ as to assume that we know better than God Himself? Supporting a soul’s fleshly needs without providing the greater need of guidance isn’t mercy. It is not love to ignore the soul’s needs, and so I’m convinced that St. Vincent’s way was changed, not to suit a greater need, but to pander to fearful Catholics who weren’t comfortable with inviting the needy into the Kingdom of God.

    I love the Lord and His Church; the Catholic Church. He doesn’t force anyone to accept His invitation, but He expects us as members of His body, to extend His invitation to all, especially the most wretched and lost. The LGBT community certainly qualifies as wretched and lost, and although they may have many needs, there greatest need should be obvious to believers.

    Although Maureen O’Connell would probably roll over in her grave because of this, anyone who supports the LGBT while they promote their current agenda will have to answer to God, not to anyone else. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Social justice has to take a back seat to the gospel. Although Jesus fed people on occasion, He didn’t set out to eradicate hunger, because He who allowed the spirit to lead Him into the desert for 40 days of fasting and prayer knows the spiritual value of going without. He knows our greater need, and therefore He structured His ministry accordingly. We have been called to follow Him, which means doing the same.

  2. I tend to agree that a contribution to “Courage” would have been the better move, or at at least split it between the two groups. Ok, yes, meet people where they are, and try to lead them closer to Christ. I am totally on board with that. But usually, most SVP groups do not directly contribute to LGBT organizations, although, they certainly help LGBT individuals. Truly not sure the intentions of the fund are being met here.

    • Yes I agree. I think svp do great work usually and it seems that the Maureen O’Connell fund is slightly separated from the usual svp work. However it is still a contribution made by a Catholic woman to a Catholic organisation in good faith. That should have been respected.

  3. Pingback: Galway S.V.P. donates €45k to LGBT Group | Christians Anonymous

  4. Hello there. I am a VdP volunteer, and am appalled. What really disturbs me is the tenor of the official VDP statement. It is (to say the least) disingenuous. I have commend on it below; parsed in brackets after some asterics thus ‘* * *’.

    I have just read American (‘liberal catholic’) websites which rejoice in the ‘evolution’ that the stand as taken by the VDP represents for the Catholic Church. The VDP is now being taken as representing the vanguard of Catholic evolutionary thought !

    My fear is that the VDP has evolved into a de-facto Humanist organisation, and a useful adjunct to the State’s social welfare program.

    I am currently considering resigning my membership after all this time.


    SVP’s position on grant to AMACHT LGBT Ltd., Galway
    The SVP Maureen O’Connell Fund in Galway has approved a grant to AMACH LGBT Galway as a contribution to a resource centre which Galway City Council has pledged to provide.
    (* * *And the Galway City Council’s donation is a precedent that qualifies VDP’s donation in what manner ? )

    The decision was endorsed by the SVP National Management Council (So not a local aberration) as providing support for an excluded and marginalised group in need of support.
    ( * * * A ‘marginalised’ group (LGBGT) whose aggressive liberal agenda extends to ‘Gay Marriage’ , abortion on demand, and divorce.)
    This is consistent with the SVP mission statement to support people in poverty, both material and emotional, and social justice initiatives.
    (* * * And a donation with a political payload; else why would there have been objections from the Catholic Church; an organisation that VDP claims affinity – and into whose pockets it dips its hands monthly.)

    It is also a key element of the SVP Christian ethos to be non-judgmental when its assistance is sought.
    (* * * Given its patronage, this detachment can be taken too far; at what point of grant application would a Pro-Choice abortion organisation be declined ?)
    To put this grant – €45,000 to be paid over three years – in context. The MOCF has spent or approved €8.5m to a variety of projects in the Galway area. The MOCF is a restricted fund, the result of a legacy which stipulates that it can only be used in the Galway area. In the context of SVP support it is a fraction of what the SVP spends in providing direct assistance to families and individuals, €42m in 2012.
    (* * * A contaminant is a contaminant; a drop of faeces in a bucket of water renders it undrinkable).
    The grant does not come in any way from funds collected from the public in the diocese of Galway, at church gates or anywhere else.
    (* * * and that matters because . . )
    The MOCF operates separately from the day-to-day work of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Galway, which involves volunteer members responding to the needs of households who request assistance.
    (* * * The fund distribution was innocently placed under the direction of a nationally admired Catholic charity; support for lifestyles as supported by the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender organisation was not foreseen by the donor. The LGBT agenda is clearly opposed by the Gospels, this further reiterated by the Catholic Church.)
    The decision was made purely on the basis of needs in the Galway area, in the same way as all requests for support are assessed. It does not signify any ther motive.
    (* * * The current needs of the Galway area are much more diverse than suggested by the narrow focus of a group of people with specific sexual ‘orientations’)
    AMACH! LGBT Galway is a community based organisation and supported locally by Galway County Council, Galway City Partnership, Gort Resource Centre, Loughrea Family Resource Centre, Galway & Roscommon ETB, West Training & Development and Youth Work Ireland.
    (* * * State support is not a VDP funding prerequisite).


  5. Regarding my earlier post: my apologies webmaster; the original mail contained a cut-off e-mail address. The correct one is appended now.


  6. I will never ever again give any money to VSP again, since the wrong doing of funding of 45,000 to LGBT. I refer to what the word of God said on this controversial matter is abomination mentioned in the old and new Testament

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