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LGBT charity Glen to cease operations

Reduced staffing levels, no financial reserves and diminishing public trust all contributed to the decision.

Image: Shutterstock/lazyllama

Updated at 10am

AN LGBT CHARITY is set to be wound down a month after being caught up in controversy around financial mismanagement.

The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network – GLEN – is to cease operations following a review into its services.

The charity had engaged the services of consultant and former senator Jillian van Turnhout to carry out a comprehensive review of the organisation after it emerged that it was being looked into by the Charities Regulator.

A report by Van Turnhout found that the charity was no longer viable and recommended that the board consider a voluntary wind-down. The board has agreed.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, van Turnhout said that there was “mismanagement and poor practice” at the charity. But she said that there was no evidence of “material gain or misappropriation of funds”.

She said that reduced staffing levels, no financial reserves and diminishing public trust all came together to make the charity no longer viable.

The three remaining staff at the charity will become redundant. Van Turnhout said that efforts were underway to continue the services offered by Glen.

She said the helpline for people in need was being set up as a separate entity.

In relation to the use of the charity’s credit card for personal expenses, van Turnhout said it amounted to “incredibly poor practice” but was satisfied there was no ill-intent.

She said at no stage was anyone using charity funds for any personal gain, and that poor practices were to blame.

In a statement, the board of Glen said that following the extensive external review it found that it did not “currently have the organisational capacity or funding to continue our work to the high standard to which we have always aspired”.

As a result, the board said it would be regretfully winding down its services.

It said that a separate review of its finances was commissioned by the charity which “did not find any evidence of misappropriation of state or donors funds or any fraudulent activity taking place”.

The board thanked the LGBTI community for their ongoing support.

“Working together in a spirit of solidarity we have achieved much. But now it is time for the baton to be passed and there is still much, much more work to be done,” it said.

Controversy

The controversy erupted last month after it emerged that the charity was being looked into by the CRA.

Outgoing executive director Áine Duggan stated at the time that there were transactions in excess of €60,000 at the charity that were not being reported in the management accounts.

Following this, co-founder Kieran Rose stepped down from the board of directors and revealed that Glen had provided him with €11,500 worth of financial support during his bid to run for the Seanad during last year’s election (which he subsequently repaid).

Glen had previously said that it was satisfied that there had been no “misappropriation of funds”.

Glen is an LGBT advocacy and lobby group. It was founded in 1988, and became a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity in 2005.

Read: LGBT charity orders full review of services in light of Charities Regulator investigation

Read: Co-founder of LGBT charity resigns, says he received support worth €11.5k but paid funds back

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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