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Keith Duffy says he felt sick to his stomach after reading Irish Autism Action comments

The Boyzlife singer says he worked tirelessly for the charity and never asked for, or received, any payment.

Image: Ian West

KEITH DUFFY SAID he felt sick to the stomach after he read comments from Irish Autism Action (IAA) suggesting the €8 million he raised for the charity cost €7 million.

The singer and actor, whose daughter has autism, left the charity last February after campaigning for it for 14 years.

Speaking to the Anton Savage Show on Today FM, Duffy said, “I’m not going to lie to you, I was sick to my stomach.

“This comment can be taken up and read differently by everyone who reads it … effectively people could think I was paid €7 million to make €8 million for the charity.

When I read that I thought it was a direct insult to me, it was like a knife in my back…I actually had a panic attack, I was hyperventilating.

Duffy said he worked tirelessly for the charity, even turning down career opportunities and cutting family holidays short to make sure he was there to support the events for the organisation.

He said he never asked for, or received, any payment or even filed for expenses.

I was dedicated, I spent my life with it. I’ve turned down career opportunities.

‘Fallen down’

Discussing the charity, Duffy said, “It was initially put together by parents with the best of intentions to provide services that were so badly needed for the children in this country. I believe IAA did a fantastic job for years.”

However he added that, “In my opinion they have fallen down.”

“We have children with autism that are not receiving the services that they need, that are not receiving the intervention that they need.”

He added that the state is letting down these children:

Parents are pulling their hair out, they don’t know what to do. I meet people on the street everyday who know I’m involved with autism and they ask me for my help. I don’t know what to say to them anymore, I don’t know where to send them anymore.

Duffy said that he believes the people affected by autism should come together and “vote in a new and fresh and vibrant and passionate committee and board of members”.

Let the parents of these children decide who they want to run the charity that they’re going to be passionate about.

“There is still a huge need for services in this country. I did this voluntarily, I trusted the people I was helping.”

Duffy has now set up his own charity, The Keith Duffy Foundation, which is not autism specific.

When asked if he ever feels like stopping his fundraising efforts, he said, “I really do feel like that at the moment. You do think, what’s the point.”

Read: Domestic violence, mental illness and drug abuse: The tragic lives of children in care who died>

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