A garda investigation has been launched into an alleged fraud at a charity which provides services to people with an intellectual disability.
The Brothers of Charity based in Montenotte, Cork, which works with clients across Cork and Kerry, confirmed last night it has referred a “case of staff misconduct” to the gardaí for investigation.
Una Nagle, chief executive of the Brothers of Charity Southern Services, said she could not comment in detail on the nature of the incident because the matter had been referred to gardaí. But it is understood the amount involved could run to several thousand euro.
The HSE South also confirmed it had been advised by the charity about an alleged incident of fraud in one of their units.
“The HSE provides funding to the Brothers of Charity for the provision of services for people with intellectual disability and autism and for a range of residential, respite and day services,” a spokesman said.
“The HSE South is following up with the charity regarding their processes and procedures and will be seeking a report, on this issue, from them.”
Ms Nagle said while she recognises the need for charities to be open and transparent about funding issues, she is constrained in what she could say given that gardaí are now involved.
But she said certain irregularities had come to light as aresult of the charity’s owninternal controls and procedures.
She declined to say when the issues arose or how much money was involved.
But she said the charity acted promptly, reported the matter to HIQA, and launched a disciplinary process.
The disciplinary process concluded yesterday and the member of staff at the centre of this incident is no longer working for the charity.
The matter was also referred to the HSE and subsequently to the gardaí.
Ms Nagle said it was important to put the incident in context, stressing the staff member in question was just one of some 800 employees who work every day delivering services to their clients.
She has now written to clients and their families in an effort to reassure them there are no issues in relation to their family members’ money arising from this incident.
She encouraged anyone with concerns to contact her or the charity’s local managers to discuss the issue.
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