Console CEO Paul Kelly resigns after alleged 'deception' at suicide charity

A report by the RTÉ Investigations Unit aired on Prime Time

Console CEO Paul Kelly resigns after alleged 'deception' at suicide charity

Paul Kelly | Image: RollingNews.ie

The chief executive and several directors of the Console charity have resigned, following allegations of deception and mis-management.

Console CEO Paul Kelly stepped down following a report by the RTÉ Investigations Unit on Prime Time.

The report revealed concerns about the charity, which provides counselling for people bereaved by suicide.

Console recorded an income of just over €1.9m in 2014, almost half of it from state agencies, mainly the Health Service Executive (HSE).

RTÉ Investigates - Broken Trust revealed that, when applying for state grants, the charity on several occasions altered accounts to omit the reference to directors' pay and other benefits.

These amounts totalled €200,000 in the accounts filed by Console for the three years 2010 to 2012.

These payments were not permitted under Revenue requirements for charities.

The payments were also prohibited under the company's own memo and articles. Furthermore, in accounts seen by the RTÉ Investigations Unit submitted to funders, references to directors’ pay and other benefits were omitted or edited.

RTÉ also reported that the directors in the period 2010 to early 2014 were made up of Paul Kelly, his wife Patricia, another close family relative and, for a brief period, a second member of his immediate family.

Under the rules of the Revenue Commissioners, there should be 'a minimum of three Officers, Trustees or Directors, who are not related and (are) independent of each other.'

However, RTÉ says when Console submitted accounts to funding agencies such as The Department of Foreign Affairs or the HSE, Patricia Kelly signed the accounts using her maiden name Patricia Dowling, making it less apparent that the directors were not independent of one another.

In other company documents, directors who were members of the Kelly family were registered with varying dates of birth.

The charity also claimed as board members people who did not hold those positions in documents submitted to funders. One of these was former Senator Jillian Van Turnhout.

She says she was shocked that her name had been used.

Ms Van Turnhout’s name appeared on a list that included at least five other directors whose names were used without their permission.

The RTÉ Investigations Unit report follows a document trail evidencing many examples of misrepresentation by the charity and also highlights Paul Kelly's controversial involvement in the charity sector going back three decades.

In correspondence to RTÉ, Paul Kelly has denied any wrongdoing.