No Consolation

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CEO of Console Paul Kelly; analysis of Console credit card payments and payments to his wife Patricia and their son Tim; and RTÉ Investigates journalist Paul Murphy

You may recall last Thursday night’s RTÉ Investigates report on the finances of national suicide charity, Console.

It reported how inappropriate payments were made to directors; multiple sets of accounts were used with alterations and deletions sent to different bodies; different dates of birth for the same person were used; while directors signed documents using both married and maiden names.

On the night of the report, it was reported that CEO of Console Paul Kelly had resigned.

Further to this….

Last night, RTE Investigates journalist Paul Murphy returned to the matter on Prime Time and reported on a draft copy of a HSE audit into the charity’s finances.

RTÉ writes:

The audit reveals details of how Paul Kelly, his wife Patricia and their son Tim benefited by almost half a million euro in salaries and cars between 2012 and 2014 with a further half a million euro spent during that period on Console credit cards for items including groceries, designer clothes and foreign trips. Between them Paul, Patricia and Tim Kelly used eleven credit cards over the three year period.

Amongst the items the cards were used for, were large unvouched cash withdrawals, trips to Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and other destinations, designer clothing in outlets such as Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss, dining out, rugby world cup tickets and dental work.

…Paul Kelly received consultancy payments of €218,586, plus a 2009 Mercedes CLS costing €30,600 (fully expensed) and 4 credit cards.

Patricia Kelly received salary payments €67,149, plus a 2010 Audi Q5 costing €57,000 (fully expensed) and 4 credit cards.

There were no contracts or board approvals for the payments for the CEO or his wife.

Inconsistent and vague explanations were provided to the internal audit about Patricia Kelly’s car.

In addition, Mr Murphy reported last night that although Mr Kelly issued a statement saying he’d stepped down last Thursday – following a board meeting – Mr Kelly is now claiming that the meeting was never properly convened and he actually has not resigned.

Watch last night’s Prime Time back in full here (go to 30.25).

Previously: Inconsolable

RTÉ Investigations Unit

UPDATE:

derry

Derry Clarke, who runs L’Ecrivan restaurant in Dublin with his wife Sallyanne Clarke, spoke to Seán O’Rourke, following last night’s Prime Time report.

Derry and Sallyanne’s son Andrew died by suicide in 2012.

Mr Clarke, who has fundraised extensively for Console since Andrew’s death, said:

“In January, a generous benefactor gave me a cheque for €26,000 which I gave directly to Console. It really makes me sick really, it really does. And to face these people, you know, over the last two years, to fundraise for, it’s difficult.”

“…I had no idea [of the payments], I really didn’t and that’s what really makes me more annoyed with myself because, normally, you know, when you’re giving a lot of money to someone, you check it out, you know, you check out where it’s going to and what it’s doing…where it’s going, what’s it being spent on. No idea really.

“And, you know something, in reflecting on Paul Kelly, I only met him at functions or fundraising functions so I never knew what car he drove or where he lived. So I didn’t know anything about him really when I look back, it’s kind of amazing really. A lesson learned, the hard way.”

“One thing I’ve got to say though Seán is Console, as an operation is spectacular. I mean the services they offer are second to none. I mean they’re the only charity at the moment that do a 24/7 phone line, a national phone line, that’s still in operation today.”

“I mean they get over 3,500 calls a month so that is something we have to look at. Many volunteers and counsellors that work with Console now, today, I mean they’re great people. It’s something which we should think of. If we could separate what they do, day-to-day services, from one person’s actions. If we could do that, that would be great.”

33 thoughts on “No Consolation

  1. dav

    unvouched expenses – they are just playing the same tune set by our elected officials, the lyrics include “self service, not public service”

  2. Tish Mahorey

    Revenue should be knocking on their door anytime now. Then hopefully the Criminal Assets Bureau… on hang on no, they don’t do white collar crime do they.

  3. Scundered

    It would be nice to see charities having compulsory labelling on all advertising, pie chart or whatever showing simple breakdown of how much goes to company versus how much to “insert victim of choice”, so people can make informed decisions.

  4. Donger

    A friend of mine works on the road in a public sector job. She doesn’t need to provide receipts for hotel stays or meals. She’s new in the job and is still in disbelief. Her colleagues boast about staying in friends houses around the country and claiming for nights in hotels and meals in restaurants. Bizarre, crazy and infuriating

    1. martco

      not surprising atall
      I service equipment & I’ve been in and out of several unrelated departments over the years….the resident civils “specialists” rarely ever do the job they’re titled up to do…its like they’re semi-retired…all the actual work gets subbed out to contractors/partners
      nobody cares and it just rolls along
      you can smell the sloth and waste

      1. spoton

        Can confirm. Work as an IT contractor in a large gov dept and this is exactly how it is pretty much every day. A huge sense of self entitlment from and more than happy to push ALL work on to the contractors.

        1. MarioBalotelli

          I can also add I know many professionals in the civil service, most of them work hard, respect their jobs and do unpaid overtime when required. Take it easy on the generalisations.

          1. spoton

            I totally agree -there are some who do that, yes. But the majority, in my direct experience, do not.

  5. Optimus Grime

    Yup I am in a semi state and we are making a one page change to the website. So far 14 people and a consultancy company have been involved!

  6. Eoin

    When nobody goes to jail over this be sure to join the next major nationwide protest. Maybe we can bring about some change with protest.

  7. Carlos

    Ugh I cycled with some friends on the “Cycle Against Suicide” this year. Yesterday I got a letter in the post signed from Paul Kelly to say thanks for what we did. We raised over €1500 in online donations, and have more cash donations (not yet submitted to Console). This is sickening to read.
    Is it better to give the rest of that cash to another charity, or to continue to donate to console because of the excellent work they clearly do?
    There’s always one or two people willing to fill their own pockets, or satisfy themselves, and fupp it up on everyone else! What a shame.

        1. Junkface

          Yeah but this is the 2nd or 3rd time a head of a charity in Ireland has been caught commiting serious fraud. Is there anyone watching the charities now? Sack the current regulators and put someone German in that position. The Irish regulators seem to be preparing for a trip to Mars, what with all of the deep sleeps they’re in.

  8. Otis Blue

    Anyone know where things are at with Rehab or the CRC? Has anyone had their collar felt or been sanctioned in any way?. It’s all gone mighty quiet.

    Kelly is fupped but the Gombeen’s are still hiding in plain view aided and abetted by “the system”. Any bets on where the next scandal will come from?

    Comments expressed about experiences in dealing with Govt departments are bang on.

  9. Junkface

    A new low for Ireland. And this is from the CEO of a Suicide Charity!!
    [slow hand clap]

    How does someone spend €32,000 on phone bills? I didn’t know that was possible.
    They should all be locked up

    1. Ronan

      I suspect it’s easy to spend €32,000 on phone bills when you’re in “Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and other destinations”

  10. Black & White

    Not all charities use funds like that. The Samaritans branch I am a volunteer with has 100 people involved answering over 1,000 calls a week and no one in the branch receives a single penny for this. Afaik there are only a handful of people in head office being paid but all branches operate on volunteer basis only

  11. Daisy Chainsaw

    A pox on him and his greedy family. I hope they never have another decent night’s sleep for the rest of their very long, miserable lives. May every poo be a hedgehog and every week acid.

    And the oblivious “regulator” and staff should be utterly ashamed of their non-action.

    I know people who work for Console at a local level and they’re heartbroken and angry over this. Their life saving, valuable work has been jeopardised by Kelly and his [swearyfilter blocking words] family.

  12. alan

    €780 dental = root canal standard cost…

    As for getting the pitchforks ready – there was probably no rules/procedures stating they COULDN’T do any of this? It ‘only’ cost a million euro (20% of their budget) to get the Kellys out – that’s not even a small bonus or pension for any of our bust bankers.

  13. Frilly Keane

    Ah yeah
    What did Frilly say again

    Stay away from all’ve em

    And ye ate me alive for it

    Any “voluntary” organisation or Charity who had a figure head too close and too fond of cameras and microphones
    Stay da’ûck away from

    1. LW

      Yeah you did say that Frilly, but you were wrong then and you’re wrong now. Certainly this fella has taken advantage of his position in a disgusting fashion, but Console still do good work. As do the various homeless and cancer societies I know of, and loads of the ones I don’t. The cancer society, for example, provides a home nurse where someone is affected by cancer, an invaluable support to families at a trying time. Console provide counselling to people who’ve had someone die due to suicide, and as is regularly pointed out, suicide rates here are very high. Peter McVerry, Simon and Focus all do excellent work helping the homeless.

      Your solution of giving these people unwanted prams or whatever else would be, in your own parlance, ’ûck all good to them. If you’re too miserable to donate to charity, don’t try to make a virtue out of it

  14. Mary Dunn

    Derry

    I am heartbroken at how you have been let down by Console. P.K will be judged in another life. You have done everything in your power and with great personal effort to raise funds for them. What kind of a country are we that can allow the likes of CRC, Rehab, etc and now this to happen. You didn’t meet PK because if you had, you would have smelled a rat. Don’t lose heart, there are bucket loads of us out here that wish to help others less fortunate. Xx

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