No decline in demand for scandal-hit Console’s services

There has not been a decline in demand for Console’s services following last Thursday’s Prime Time exposé on the charity’s financial affairs.

David Hall, CEO of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation, has been appointed by Console’s board to conduct an investigation into alleged financial irregularities at the suicide bereavement charity.

He told the Irish Examiner service users have not been put off asking for help as a result of the RTÉ programme and that people were continuing to phone the helpline seeking assistance.

The programme revealed a range of irregularities at the charity, which received around €12m in nine years through state grants and fundraising.

Console founder Paul Kelly resigned as CEO last week. Two directors, his wife Patricia and sister Joan McKenna, also stepped down.

Organisations such as Pieta House and the Samaritans have seen no increase in demand for their services since the report.

“I spoke to the centre managers in all four Dublin centres and a couple of the regional centres and there’s been no increase in calls since Thursday night’s Prime Time,” said a spokesperson from Pieta House.

Meanwhile, a Samaritans spokesperson said they hope people continue to seek help.

“The news is distressing for Console’s callers, their staff, and those who have volunteered and fundraised for them. We hope that people who are in distress continue to reach out for the support they need.

“Samaritans Ireland has robust governance procedures in place. We are registered with the Charities Regulatory Authority and publish annual audited accounts,” a spokesperson said.

Also adding their voice of reassurance was the Prevention and Early Intervention Network, which is made up of 34 charitable organisations.

“We are calling on the public to maintain confidence in charities and continue to support the many great organisations who do essential work for the public good and who are also fully committed to good governance,” said chairperson Marian Quinn.

“We have a charity regulator and an agreed-upon governance code.

“Charities called for this regulation themselves and widely support it in order to operate in a highly professional and transparent manner and to ensure public confidence,” she added.


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