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David Hall, former interim CEO of Console

David Hall says charity regulation was set up in 'a half-assed manner'

The former interim CEO of Console thinks the regulator needs more powers.

DAVID HALL HAS said the Charities Regulatory Authority needs more power.

He said the current regulation system was set up as a “knee-jerk reaction” to controversies at Rehab and CRC, and introduced in “a half-assed manner” without properly consulting the industry.

Hall was named as interim CEO of Console after financial irregularities at the suicide prevention charity were revealed in an RTÉ Prime Time programme.

Speaking to Áine Lawlor on the Marian Finucane Show today, Hall noted that the regulator didn’t see the HSE review into Console’s finances until after the TV programme aired.

Hall said his primary concern in the role was ensuring Console’s service users were still being supported.

Behind the drama, behind the story, were 350 people in active counselling, 29 people ringing a suicide phoneline every day, a third of which were new clients, and I said: ‘Who’s running the show? After all the drama of last night, who is actually in charge today?’

Hall said most of Console’s staff members were unaware of what was going on behind the scenes. Despite some of them not being paid for months, they continued to show up for work.

He also noted that the phone bill hadn’t been paid for a year. Pieta House has now taken over Console’s services.

Too many charities

Hall said the public were able to separate “the actions of a few people” from the value of services provided by the charity.

He noted that charities have a valuable place in many communities, but there are too many of them in Ireland.

“As a society, we do love charities. Are there too many charities? There are too many charities unfortunately and we can’t be obsessed with setting up a charity in an immediate, knee-jerk reaction to a cause.

“But you’re never going to get people to vote themselves out of work, it’s like politicians – there’s a similarity there.”

Comments are closed as the case is before the courts.

Suicide helplines:

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email
  • Console 1800 247 247 – (suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement)
  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email - (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

Read: Banking account of Paul Kelly unfrozen to allow him claim social welfare

Read: HSE found out Console charity status was withdrawn through media reports