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Paul Kelly is being asked to give back his People of the Year award

The former CEO of Console has been asked to return the award which he won in 2014 following recent allegations of wrong-doing at the charity.

Paul Kelly
Paul Kelly
Image: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

FORMER CEO OF suicide charity Console Paul Kelly has been formally asked to return his People of the Year award following allegations of financial misconduct at the charity.

Kelly received the award in 2014 for his suicide prevention work with Console.

In a statement, the People of the Year Awards said that the request to return the award was not a reflection on the work being done by the volunteers or fundraisers for Console.

“In light of revelations in recent days and on foot of queries from members of the public, the People of the Year Awards has today written to Paul Kelly asking him to return his award in order to protect the standing and integrity of the awards,” the statement said.

Hundreds of extraordinary people have received awards over more than 40 years. The stories circulating in the media in recent days have the potential to impact on the standing of the awards. As a previous recipient, Mr Kelly is aware of the importance and significance of the awards to the Irish people and of the importance of upholding their integrity. We have therefore asked him to return his award voluntarily.

“The award was made to Mr Kelly personally and this request is no reflection on the work of Console, its volunteers or its fundraisers who have helped many thousands of people bereaved by suicide over many years”.

The statement says that the judging panel selected Kelly as an award winner on the basis of the nomination received and the information available at the time.

The People of the Year Awards, organised by Rehab, have been running since 1974 and are a recognition of people who have made a difference in Ireland.

The allegations of financial misconduct at Console were made public last week in a Prime Time Investigates programme on RTE One following an audit by the HSE.

The audit found that half a million euro was spent on foreign trips, designer clothes, eating out and other expenses between 2012 and 2014. Another half a million was spent on salaries and cars for Kelly and his wife Patricia.

The Charities Regulator yesterday appointed five new trustees to the board of Console and an interim CEO has been named. Multiple investigations are under way into how money was used within the charity.

Read: Here’s what almost half a million euro from 11 Console credit cards was spent on

Read: Father of Donal Walsh says he’s ‘shocked and deflated’ by Console revelations 

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