Faith of Irish people in charities has been 'severely damaged' - Tánaiste

Francis Fitzgerald says the Charities Regulator "has a part to play in the rebuilding of public trust in charities"

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Frances Fitzgerald. Image:

The Justice Minister says the faith of Irish people in charities has been damaged by the allegations at Console.

Frances Fitzgerald said there is no place for unscrupulous and unprincipled people in the charity sector.

Speaking as the Charities Regulator launched a strategy statement, the Tánaiste said that faith needs to be restored in those organisations.

Frances Fitzgerald stressed that regaining public trust is hugely important.

"Everyone here today is very conscious of the fact that the faith, trust and confidence of the Irish people in the charity sector has been severely damaged by the recent allegations at Console and some other charitable organisations active in Ireland," she stated.

"The reputations of the many thousands of volunteers and counsellors has been impacted - and we do have to repair that."

Minister Fitzgerald also argued that the Charities Regulator "has a part to play in the rebuilding of public trust in charities through effective and proportionate regulation that supports high standards of governance, management and administration."

The Tánaiste also said the regulator will be increasing the information available on registered charities over the next three years to help "strengthen the accountability" of the sector. 

Meanwhile, the head of the HSE has insisted the executive is not to blame for spending at Console.

Tony O'Brien is being quizzed by a Dáil committee today after a HSE audit raised concerns about alleged financial impropriety by the charity's founder, Paul Kelly, and two family members.