Man arrested and charged after €6K allegedly stolen from breastfeeding charity

The man is due in court in June.

GARDAÍ HAVE ARRESTED and charged one person in relation to alleged fraud of a breastfeeding charity. 

The Friends of Breastfeeding group said that €6,600 was stolen from its bank account at the start of last year. 

The charity said that the money taken amounted to almost the entirety of the charity’s direct fundraising efforts for 2019. It stressed that all money received from grants and other State funding bodies has been left untouched. 

The effect of the theft means that it no longer has the resources to train new volunteers, promote events to new mothers or buy books, toys, or even tea and coffee for its Mum2Mum groups, it said.

In a statement, acting chair of the charity, Edel Quirke, said the entire organisation was “deeply saddened” by the incident. 

She said the alleged criminal activity was reported to gardaí when it was first discovered.

“While we are deeply saddened to have become the victims of fraud, we fully accept our duty and responsibility to ensure every donation is used properly and for the purposes for which it was intended.

“As such, a thorough review of our procedures and practices has been conducted and we have already addressed the weaknesses identified. We have appointed a Vice-Treasurer, which is an additional position to support our Treasurer.”

Quirke said the charity has strengthened many of its procedures to safeguard its finances and help ensure nothing like this can happen again.

She said an independent auditor has been appointed to fully review its accounts.

“We have received understanding and encouragement from our funders and supporters, for which we are very grateful. It has been an intense learning experience for all of us and we are indebted to many people for the assistance we have received,” Quirke added. 

A garda spokesman confirmed an arrest has been made in the case 

He said: “Gardaí at Birr are investigating allegations of theft from a charity organisation that is reported to have occurred between August 2019 and April 2020.

“A man in his 30s has been charged in connection with this investigation and is expected to appear at Tullamore District Court on Wednesday 9 June 2021.”