The appeal was made by Philip Beirne when he accepted a cheque from Shell E&P Ireland for €5,640 - the proceeds of a Christmas canteen bucket collection on the Bellanaboy gas terminal and a donation from Shell.

His comments came in the wake of the controversies surrounding the Central Remedial Clinic and the St Vincent’s Hospital Trust revelations of top-ups to salaries at senior levels of both organisations.

Mr Beirne said Irish people were very generous in supporting their favourite charities. There was a danger that much needed help would reduce following the controversies and it was important that people should check those charities and establish for themselves where their contribution was going.

“In the case of the SVP here nobody gets paid. Everything is done on a voluntary basis and everything donated finds its way to people who need help,” said Mr Beirne.

He thanked Shell and the workers on the Bellanaboy site for their generosity to SVP over the years and added that their generosity had been of great help to many people.

As well as the financial contribution, a number of presents and parcels donated by companies working on the Corrib Gas project were handed over to the society.