HSE still funds Right of Place charity

THE HSE is providing funding to a Cork-based charity for survivors of institutional abuse despite stating it would not do so until “outstanding impediments” to a new contract for 2010 had been finalised.

Right of Place, one of the largest groups for victims of abuse, was ordered as a matter of urgency as far back as October to supply the HSE with in-depth details of the running of the charity, its finances and how many bank accounts and credit cards it had, among other things.

Right of Place is run by Noel 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.

In December, this paper revealed there were serious questions to be answered as to how money donated by religious orders and the Government had been spent.

Meanwhile, founder Mr Barry sought an injunction locking out a new committee formed by disgruntled members seeking to take control of the organisation.

In a strongly worded letter to a new committee dated December 10, the HSE said it was “concerned and dismayed” at the situation and that clarity was urgently required.

“Time and space afforded by the HSE to various elements within the organisation to resolve their differences must cease. No new service agreement can be considered until matters are resolved, and given the vulnerability of the client group the sooner the better,” the letter stated.

However, the Irish Examiner has learned that the HSE is currently providing a grant of €20,000 a month which, according to the HSE, is to cover the “pay and non-pay costs of the organisation”.

Sources within Right of Place membership have indicated that it seems as though the HSE is not interested in investigating how money was spent in the past, or having pertinent questions which members are asking answered.

It is understood negotiations which had been ongoing with a HSE mediator between Mr Barry and a new committee have ceased.

In a draft agreement seen by the Irish Examiner, the HSE is proposing to continue with the existing company and, according to the document, “legal disputes will be deemed settled on the signing of the agreement”.

More in this section