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Former Console bosses asked to repay grants worth €150,000

The charity, which was liquidated last year, received the money to provide counselling services for Irish emigrants in the UK.

Console founder Paul Kelly
Console founder Paul Kelly
Image: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

THE DEPARTMENT OF Foreign Affairs (DFA) has asked former Console bosses to repay €150,000 in grants it received.

The suicide prevention charity was wound down last year after it emerged through an RTÉ investigation that its founders spent donated money on personal expenses.

Console received the grants in question from the Emigrant Support Programme, which is administered by the DFA, in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The initiative funds projects that support Irish emigrants and communities abroad, with a particular focus on supporting the welfare of vulnerable people.

A spokesperson for the DFA told TheJournal.ie the funding was granted “to assist with the provision of counselling and welfare services to the Irish community in the UK”.

The DFA has now written to Console founder and former CEO Paul Kelly and his wife Patricia, who was also involved in running the charity, requesting that the money be returned.

Investigation 

In a statement, a spokesperson for the DFA said: “In line with wider Government policies on the management of grants from exchequer funds, the Department is committed to ensuring that grants issued are fully and transparently accounted for. In accepting a grant from the Department, all recipients agree that any grants not spent in accordance with the grant agreement will be repaid to the Department.

The Department confirms that following the conclusion of an audit by the Department’s Evaluation and Audit Unit, repayment of these grants was requested.

“There is an investigation ongoing by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement into issues surrounding the liquidation of Console, and as such there will be no further comment from the Department on this matter.”

In April of this year, the Public Accounts Committee heard that 58 employees who worked on a contract basis for Console have not been paid and are “unlikely to receive monies owed to them”. Pieta House took over the charity’s services when it was liquidated.

Comments are closed for legal reasons.

If you need to talk, contact:

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org
  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House 1800 247 247 or email mary@pieta.ie (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

Read: Staff at liquidated charity Console still haven’t been paid and it looks like they never will be

Read: ‘Darkness Into Light allows us to talk about the wound left by suicide’

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Órla Ryan

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