Department of Foreign Affairs auditors sent to investigate Console's UK operation

Services provided by scandal-hit charity are expected to be transferred to other support agencies

Department of Foreign Affairs auditors sent to investigate Console's UK operation

Console founder Paul Kelly | Image: RollingNews.ie

Updated: 7.15pm

The Department of Foreign Affairs has sent a team of auditors to the UK to probe the British arm of suicide prevention charity Console. 

An audit of the London-based operation is currently underway after the HSE uncovered a string of financial irregularities at the charity.

Department officials have also met with Console UK’s accountancy firm, with the independent examiner based in London and with the UK Charities Commission. 

Meanwhile, RTÉ reports that two bank accounts linked to Console UK have been frozen.

Discussions to agree a transfer of the charity's services to other support agencies are still ongoing. 

Console's 24/7 Suicide Helpline, the Suicide Bereavement Liaison Service and the Suicide Bereavement Counselling Service are all expected to be handed over to another charity in the sector. 

The organisation is set to be wound down following revelations about spending by its founder, Paul Kelly, and his wife. 

The pair have been hit with a High Court order preventing them from accessing its bank accounts, after they were accused of spending huge sums on foreign holidays and luxury goods.

The charity recorded an income of just over €1.9m in 2014, almost half of it from state agencies, mainly the HSE.

Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy, who has spoken publicly about his difficulties with mental illness, today called on the government to do more to provide mental health services.

"A lot of the operators in this area are just merely filling in where the state is failing," he said.

"I believe the state should look at how counselling and support in the whole area of mental health are administered throughout the country."

The HSE is due to appear before the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee next week to answer questions about its audit.