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Father of Donal Walsh says he's 'shocked and deflated' by Console revelations

Fionnbar Walsh defended the work being done by the charity’s employees.

Donal Walsh
Donal Walsh
Image: Screengrab/RTÉ via YouTube

THE FATHER OF Donal Walsh, the late teenager who spoke out about suicide prevention, has said he is “shocked and disappointed” by the revelations about Console.

The charity’s founder and CEO Paul Kelly stepped down after financial irregularities discovered by a HSE audit were made public in an a RTÉ Investigations Unit programme for Prime Time.

It emerged that half a million euro was spent on foreign trips, designer clothes, eating out and other expenses between 2012 and 2014 – while another half a million was spent on salaries and cars for Kelly and his wife Patricia Kelly.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Fionnbar Walsh defended the work being done by Console’s staff.

Before his death from cancer in 2013, Donal spoke about the importance of young people getting help for mental health issues.

His family set up the #LiveLife foundation in his memory and donated about €30,000 to Console to fund teenage counselling rooms in various locations across in the country.

Walsh said he was “shocked and disappointed” and “drastically deflated” by the revelations.

donal-walsh-family Donal's mother Elma, Paul Kelly, Donal's father Fionnbar and Margaret Tierney (Console) at the opening of Donal's rooms at the Console Centre in Tralee, Co Kerry in 2013. Source: Console

He said he didn’t deal with Paul Kelly directly, but thinks he “met him about three times”, adding: “He was a person who explained to us where Console came out of, with his own sister’s death.”

As far as we’re concerned, [Console is] still a good organisation. It is still dealing with people who have difficulties with suicide and families who are suffering from bereavement because of suicide.

“We’d be sad, you know, in the long-term if Console shut down tomorrow and Donal’s rooms weren’t there. We’d prefer if Console still goes on, whatever name it comes under or whatever guise it comes under,” Walsh said.

The charities regulator has appointed five new trustees to the Console’s board.

Read: Console allegations first came to light seven years ago: Mary Lou McDonald

Read: Five new trustees appointed to Console board

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Órla Ryan

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