A Galway parish has managed to use a tax relief provision to pay for over a third of the cost of a new pastoral centre.
Kilkerrin’s new pastoral centre cost €170,000 and the parish got donors to its fundraising campaign to pay €110,000.
The remaining €60,000 was raised by the donors using a little-known tax shelter for contributions to charity.
Other churches have tried to avail of this Finance Act provision but with less success.
The provision allows people to avail of tax relief on donations to charities subject to the relief being paid to the charity in question.
Churches and other voluntary bodies are approved as charitable institutions by the Commissioners for Charitable Donations and Bequests and donations to them are tax-deductible.
Kilkerrin parishioners who are PAYE taxpayers were able to claim the rebate on Mass offerings and parish dues and over a number of years, these raised €60,000.
This obviated the need for special fund-raising for the centre, as the parish was already able to fund the balance from its own resources.
At the opening of the Centre, parish council spokesman Jimmy Dillon thanked parishioners for making their claims to the Revenue Commissioners.
The new facility will now be used as a venue for weekday Masses, because they are attended by a small number of people and the village church is costly to heat on a daily basis.
It will also be a meeting place for community activities in Kilkerrin itself and other adjacent parishes – Dunmore, Glenamaddy and Williamstown - with which it has been associated in a parish clustering initiative in the Tuam archdiocese.
In particular, it will facilitate prayer groups and first communion and confirmation preparation.
The centre will serve as a parish office and has an ‘adoration room’, which provides a tranquil prayer area.
The centre was blessed and opened by parish priest Fr Tom Commins.