Secret Millionaire sparks €10k donation
DUBLIN suicide prevention service Pieta House was inundated with calls and received another anonymous donation of €10,000 after featuring in TV show The Secret Millionaire.
Successful businessman John Concannon went undercover in west Dublin to find deserving charities in the programme.
The plastics company millionaire met local people and found a common ground with volunteers.
Around 644,000 viewers watched as Mr Concannon discovered that thugs had burned out football team St Mark's Rangers FC's changing room.
Their pitch was littered with glass bottles, beer cans and needles almost every day.
But when Mr Concannon, whose company JFC Manufacturing is worth around €30m, revealed who he was and donated a cheque, the club was able to kit out a new changing area.
"We've ordered a new container and it's on its way," volunteer Rachel Doyle told the Herald.
"We're going to fit it out with seats and changing rooms. People were always doing damage to the old ones."
Cathy White of The Carers Association in Clondalkin received a cheque for €10,000, which has allowed the centre to deliver a number of hours of emergency respite to family carers and has provided extra resources, training and support to family carers.
"I feel so privileged that John should choose The Carers Association, given that there are so many other deserving causes out there," she said.
"When I got the cheque, I was genuinely lost for words but we cannot thank John enough for his generosity."
One person that particularly struck a chord with the wealthy inventor was local man John Quinn who was working to prevent suicides in the Lucan and Clondalkin area.
He said he never guessed that the Mayo businessman was so high profile.
"I was told he was a poor farmer from the west who wanted to find out how charities work and bring it home with him," he said. "We hit it off straight away. When I said to come up to the pub for a pint -- I meant it."
Mr Concannon made a generous donation of €25,000 to Pieta House which has been a refuge for hundreds of people with depression and suicidal thoughts -- and even more people called yesterday to pledge their support.
"That cheque saved 25 people's lives," Mr Quinn said. "If we can stop one, it means so much."
The Secret Millionaire continues on September 26, at 9.35pm on RTE One, when hotelier John Fitzpatrick goes undercover in Dundalk.