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.
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).
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.”