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Debunked: No, a Fine Gael Senator is not being paid €150,000 to sit on the board of Pieta House

None of the members of the board of Pieta House are paid for their work.

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A POST BEING shared on Facebook in Ireland in recent days makes a claim that a Fine Gael Senator is being paid €150,000 to work for Pieta House. 

One version of the post, which has been shared over 200 times, says: “I’ve been informed that Regina Doherty is on a renumeration [sic] of €150,000 salary with Pieta House charity.”

It also refers to Doherty as a “greedy Blueshirt”. 

Doherty, who was Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection in the last government and lost her seat in the February election, was appointed as a Senator in June and is the current Leader of Seanad Éireann. 

As of Friday evening, the post had been shared 204 times, liked 105 times and had 37 comments. 

regina doherty image Source: Facebook

The claim is untrue. Doherty is a board member of Pieta House and is not paid for the role. 

Pieta House has said that all members of its board work pro-bono and none receive any money for their work.

“All Board members give their time and skills to Pieta free of charge,” a note on its website says.  All the members of the board, including Doherty, can be seen on the Pieta House website here

The charity works to provide services to people with suicidal ideation or who are engaging in self-harm. 

It made major cuts earlier this year due to the forced cancellation of its flagship Darkness into Light event. The government announced in May that it would give the charity an additional €114,608 a month to help with its funding crisis, on top of the €2.03 million Pieta House already receives from the State. 

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There is a lot of false news and scaremongering being spread in Ireland at the moment about coronavirus. Here are some practical ways for you to assess whether the messages that you’re seeing – especially on WhatsApp – are true or not.

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STOP, THINK AND CHECK

Look at where it’s coming from. Is it someone you know? Do they have a source for the information (e.g. the HSE website) or are they just saying that the information comes from someone they know? A lot of the false news being spread right now is from people claiming that messages from ‘a friend’ of theirs. Have a look yourself – do a quick Google search and see if the information is being reported elsewhere. 

Secondly, get the whole story, not just a headline. A lot of these messages have got vague information (“all the doctors at this hospital are panicking”) and don’t mention specific details. This is often – but not always a sign – that it may not be accurate. 

Finally, see how you feel after reading it. A lot of these false messages are designed to make people feel panicked. They’re deliberately manipulating your feelings to make you more likely to share it. If you feel panicked after reading something, check it out and see if it really is true.

TheJournal.ie’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here

Have you gotten a message on WhatsApp or Facebook or Twitter about coronavirus that you’re not sure about and want us to check it out? Message or mail us and we’ll look into debunking it. WhatsApp: 085 221 4696 or Email: answers@thejournal.ie 

About the author:

Christine Bohan

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