It’s a PR coup waiting to happen or a nightmare of Scrooge-like proportions with Christmas just around the corner. Whatever happens, all eyes will be on the Annual General Meeting of Douglas Golf Club on December 9 when it considers a motion that proposes that it donate to local charities €1 million of a €6 million cash windfall that has been sitting idle in its bank account for the past seven years.
Member Liam Connolly is behind the move and proposed two motions that could see 23 local charities receive an unexpected Christmas bonus.
The first motion proposes a change in the club’s constitution to “allow members in general meeting to donate to such charities and in such sums as they shall from time to time decide.”
The other motion reads: “Douglas Golf Club shall donate, subject to the approval of the Minister for Finance in accordance with the Finance Act 2012, €1,000,000 (one million euros) equally divided between the following charities…”
The list of 23 charities includes the Society of St Vincent De Paul, Penny Dinners, Cork Simon Community, S.H.A.R.E., Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, Mercy University Hospital Foundation and St Patrick’s Hospital Marymount Hospice.
According to the club’s accounts, Douglas has €5,706,163 in its Capital Development Fund Deposit Accounts having received a €6m non-refundable deposit from developer Castlelands Construction as part of a proposed land swap that never took place.
Mr Connolly was not available for comment last night, however, the idea appears to be gathering support among the membership despite the recent public outcry against the use to donations to topping up of the salaries of managers at the Central Remedial Clinic.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, one member said: “I think it’s a great idea. What’s not to like about it?
“We got a lot of money for doing nothing and even though there has been talk of a new clubhouse, we wouldn’t be talking about that kind of money.
“In that times that we live in, it would be crazy to have that amount of money sitting in an account untouched. It is not as if the members of Douglas Golf Club are suffering the way others are suffering out there at the moment.
“I think it is a very good idea and I will certainly be supporting it. There is no doubt that it is the club’s money and if we can find the mechanisms to donate it to local charities, as long as the members are in favour, I am sure some mechanism can be found.
“If the members of the club are not benefiting from the money, I can’t see why the nuts and bolts of distributing it to charity can’t be sorted out.”
The land that was earmarked for Douglas Golf Club, which was valued at €100 m at the height of the Celtic Tiger years, was sold for just €7m by Nama last year.