TD calls for inquiry into Right of Place

THE Controller and Auditor General must investigate how funds given to a Cork-based charity for survivors of institutional abuse were spent, Labour TD Sean Sherlock has said.

Mr Sherlock said there were “too many glaring inconsistencies” in relation to the organisation, Right of Place, which has received millions of euro in taxpayers’ money over the past 10 years.

The organisation is currently at the centre of a power struggle between its founder, Noel Barry, and a new committee seeking to take over the running of the charity.

Mr Sherlock recently tabled a series of parliamentary questions in relation to the running of Right of Place, one of which asked for a breakdown of how funding was used.

The Cork TD said the answers he received from the HSE were completely inadequate, and that the public demanded more detailed answers.

He said he would be asking further questions, and the person in the HSE responsible for signing over so much money to Right of Place needed to come forward and give an account of how the money was spent.

Meanwhile, the head survivor group, Alliance, called on Mr Barry, the head of Right of Place, to resign.

Tom Hayes said he raised concerns with the C&AG, and the Department of Education years ago.

“We were ignored and told it was ‘in group fighting’ – even though we are not the same group as Right of Place. As far as I know no action was never taken.”

Mr Hayes said there were about 70 members of Right of Place in Cork who were now contacting him as they could not get the help they needed in Cork.

“These are people who are wondering about education funding, if their applications have been processed, some may have concerns over medical cards and health benefits or need counselling,” Mr Hayes said.

“The offices, as far as I am aware, are closed. People need access to the building, there is often no answer when you phone up.

“Because of what is going on, we are getting more and more people ringing us. We simply are not able to cope with the influx,” he said.

A former member of Right of Place, Timothy O’Donoghue, said he felt compelled to raise the red flag after attending an AGM in 2004.

As well as writing to CORI, the Departments of Education and Health asking them to re-evaluate their monetary contributions, Mr O’Donoghue said he forwarded individual complaints about the group he received from members.

While Mr O’Donoghue has a fax confirmation document proving he sent the complaint to the Department of Education, a spokesperson for the department said it had not located any record of this complaint having been received or dealt with in 2004.

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