The chair of the Council for Finance and General Purposes of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Dermot Farrell, has welcomed the significant donation by The Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation to charities providing food and basic necessities to marginalised communities since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bishop Farrell said, “On behalf of the Bishops’ Conference, I wish to express our deep gratitude and indebtedness to The Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation for its magnanimous donation of €500,000 to Irish charities providing vital services.”

Catholic philanthropist Albert Gubay, the founder of then-household names Kwik Save and Total Fitness, created the Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation in 2010. On 23 February 2011, Pope Benedict XVI bestowed on Mr Gubay the Knight Commander with Star of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great, for his philanthropic work over many years. This papal knighthood was presented to Mr Gubay by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster. Mr Albert Gubay RIP died on 5 January 2016.

One of the charities to receive funds was the Dublin-based diocesan charity Crosscare. Conor Hickey, the chief executive of Crosscare, said, “The donation from the Gubay Foundation has allowed Crosscare to establish an emergency food provision centre in north Dublin where we were able to distribute thousands of food parcels to those most in need and to provide crisis support for particularly vulnerable people.”

In the Archdiocese of Armagh the grants enabled three charities to meet the increased and changing needs of the people that they serve. Father Mark O’Hagan of Saint Patrick’s Soup Kitchen/Food Parcels in Dundalk, Co Louth, said, “The Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation has secured the future of the soup kitchen/food parcels which today, more than ever, meets a growing need within our community.” According to Rev Dermot Clarke, Deacon of the parish of Haggardstown and Blackrock in Co Louth, “Because of the support of the Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation, families have been supported to purchase food using food vouchers in local stores.”

Based in Dublin’s south inner city, Ruth Harkness of The Little Flower Penny Dinners said, “The Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation grant enabled us to continue to bring food to those living on the margins. In most cases our charity provided the only human contact that clients experienced during the pandemic as they were required to self-isolate or cocoon and so were particularly vulnerable.”

Kieran Stafford, national president of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, said, “This generous grant from the Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation is extremely important and very welcome to allow us to tackle food poverty which is an everyday reality for one-in-ten Irish households.”

In welcoming the donation from the Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation towards the hardship fund for Irish prisoners in England and Wales, Bishop Denis Brennan, chair of the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas (ICPO) said, “The service of the ICPO is a core example of the social justice outreach of the Church. Prisoner families at home suffer great emotional and financial hardship. Thank you to the Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation for your kindness and generosity which will improve the quality of life for those on the margins who have nobody to turn to.”

Bishop Farrell concluded, “The Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation`s very generous donation of €500,000 has been especially helpful at this time as we face the fastest and deepest contraction in our economic history. The charity sector has been particularly vulnerable in this context.

“Day in day out, the Christian, like Jesus, must firmly be on the side of the voiceless and oppressed. In this regard Albert Gubay led by example.”

ENDS