Government demands that former Console bosses repay €150,000 in grants

The Emigrant Support Programme grants were given to the charity over three years

Government demands that former Console bosses repay €150,000 in grants

Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Updated 10:20

The former interim CEO of Console has warned that further charity controversies could be on the cards.

David Hall was appointed to head up the charity after an audit revealed financial irregularities regarding director salaries.

Mr Hall spoke to Newstalk Breakfast after the government demanded that former bosses Paul and  Patricia Kelly repay over €150,000 in grants provided to the charity.

He warned that this may not be the last scandal we see in the sector:

"It can happen again," he said.

"It is highly likely that it will happen again but it is very important to mention this is such a small number of issues that have arisen around charities based on the number of good work and good people that have been done by charities based on the number of good work and good people that is being done by charities nationwide.

"This is a handful of people that are always going to try something somewhere - they just happen to have done it in the charitable sector which has caused difficulties."

Businessman David Hall, former interim CEO of Console

This morning the Department of Foreign Affairs has issued letters to Paul and Patricia Kelly, asking them to repay in full the Emigrant Support Programme (ESP) grants given to Console in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

They total €150,889 over the three years.

The ESP grants are given to organisations providing support and advice services to Irish emigrants abroad.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said: "The Department confirms that following the conclusion of an audit by the Department’s Evaluation and Audit Unit, repayment of these grants was requested.

"There is an investigation ongoing by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement into issues surrounding the liquidation of Console, and as such there will be no further comment from the Department on this matter."

Liquidator Tom Murray is coming to the end of his work winding up the suicide charity.

A source who has seen his unpublished report says it shows there’s still questions around how €600,000 of the charity’s money was spent.

The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement has also been interviewing key witnesses over the past number of months as part of its investigation into the scandal.

Console was liquidated last year with debts of around €300,000 after reports of lavish spending of company funds by Paul Kelly.