O’Hara Foundation opens books to refute ‘innuendo’

The Maureen O’Hara Foundation has opened its books in order to refute allegations that it misappropriated funds.

The foundation, based in Glengarriff, Co Cork, said its sole focus has been the development of a €12.5m legacy centre for the actress, who celebrates her 92nd birthday on Aug 17. It said it raised a limited amount to fund setup costs, prepare a business plan, and promote its prospectus to overseas clients. It said all its costs were accounted for, justified, and in keeping with the dream espoused by Ms O’Hara when she set out plans for an international film school in Glengarriff.

It said: “We take this opportunity to refute all suggestions of impropriety by the foundation. Suggestions and innuendo of financial appropriation and misappropriation is without merit and have hurt the foundation, its representatives and Ms O’Hara herself.”

Foundation CEO Frank McCarthy said it had not been operating since a family dispute surrounding Ms O’Hara’s estate and her power of attorney cast doubt over its future. However, he retained hope that it could win back the support of Ms O’Hara and deliver the legacy centre.

He said the body has incurred debts of €126,974, largely sums owed to directors and himself, which would not be paid unless the foundation was successful.

In July a statement on Ms O’Hara’s behalf said: “I am profoundly disappointed at how my original dream has been so distorted.”

See the weekend forum big read: ‘Off screen family saga’

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