Rory McIlroy raises close to 1m euro for children's charities at Irish Open
Golf star Rory McIlroy has secured close to one million euro for three children's charities on the back of the Irish Open tournament.
Barretstown, which runs camps for seriously ill youngsters and their families, the Jack & Jill Foundation, which helps families with brain damaged children, and the LauraLynn Children's Hospice were given 317,000 euro each.
McIlroy said: "While winning the Irish Open this year meant a lot to me, being able to give my prize money to three local children's charities made it all feel much more special.
"I can think of no charities as worthy or deserving of support than Barretstown, the Jack & Jill Foundation and LauraLynn Children's Hospice.
"I'm so proud of how much my Foundation raised and I'm already looking forward to new projects in 2017."
The money was raised after four-time major winner McIlroy, from Holywood, Co Down, donated his 666,000 euro winnings for lifting the title at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at The K Club in May.
A percentage of each ticket sold for the event also went to the fundraising campaign.
Barretstown will use the cash to help pay for a new dining hall at their Naas campus while Jack & Jill will pay for more than 19,800 hours of home nursing care and the LauraLynn hospice can use it to cover the cost of two clinical nurse specialists as well as expenses and administration costs.
Barry Funston, chief executive of the Rory Foundation, said the fundraising exceeded expectations.
"Thanks to the events and initiatives that took place during the week of the Irish Open we were able to raise a huge amount of money for three very worthy charities," he said.
"Our hosting of the event really is creating a platform for positive change, raising not only money but awareness of the incredible work being done in the community."
Dee Ahearn, Barretstown chief executive, praised McIlroy and his Foundation.
"The impact this funding will have on the lives of the children with serious illness we serve will be huge," she said.
Jonathan Irwin, chief executive of the Jack & Jill Foundation, described the money as a "gift of time for families".
"What this golf and charity champion has gifted to families is time to do the 'normal' things that others take for granted - I should know as I've walked this pathway - like a full night's sleep or a day out with the healthy siblings, safe in the knowledge that their sick child is being well cared for at home by one of our nurses," he said.
Sharon Morrow, LauraLynn chief executive, said: "We are so grateful to be a beneficiary of the Rory Foundation, Irish Open initiative and for the awareness it has enabled us to raise about the services we provide to children with life-limiting conditions and their families."
Next year's Dubai Duty Free Irish Open takes place at Portstewart Golf Club from July 6-9.