Sean Sherlock said serious questions surround the structure and governance of Cork-based group Right of Place, which has received millions of euro in government funding since 2002. He said he intends to raise the issue in the Dáil after the Christmas holidays.
Right of Place, one of the country’s largest support groups for survivors of institutional abuse, has been asked by the HSE to clarify the state of its finances.
Mr Sherlock said his concerns stemmed from personal dealings with the group, which provides accommodation for survivors who are seeking repatriation.
In 2008, Mr Sherlock assisted a woman who had been a tenant of the charity, but who was evicted following a dispute, after which she was left homeless.
The woman, in her 60s, tried to reclaim money from Right of Place after she was forced to replaced a heater in her flat on the lower Glanmire Road. She also claimed her privacy was violated by the landlord and made a formal complaint to the Private Residential Tenancies Board claiming illegal eviction and breach of landlord obligations.
“I have dealt with the people who run Right of Place and it was a negative experience,” Mr Sherlock said. “Questions must be asked about the HSE’s level of involvement and how managerial structures were monitored within the group.”
In November, a dispute between the founder of the charity, Noel Barry, and some of the committee, resulted in Mr Barry taking out an injunction against those looking to replace him. Following this, the HSE told the group no further funding would be given until membership proved they can manage public money appropriately.
Right of Place is run by Mr Barry, a victim of abuse at the Rosminian school at Upton, Co Cork. In 2009, the HSE allocated the group €337,500 and the Department of Education gave it €75,331.
Since 2002 it has collected more than €2.2m from the HSE, and the health board previously, and more than €1m from the Department of Education. A further €88,000 was secured in National Lottery funding.
Right of Place has also received unknown amounts from Catholic bishops and religious orders.
Mr Barry has to date refused to comment or answer any questions relating to the running of Right of Place.