Abuse survivors call for Gardaí to probe charity

SURVIVORS of institutional abuse have asked the Taoiseach to instruct the HSE to discontinue funding a Cork-based charity for victims – and let Gardaí step in and investigate it.

The organisation Right of Place has been under scrutiny since late last year after the HSE ordered that it urgently answer questions in relation to how it was spending its money.

One of the country’s largest survivor groups, it has received millions in Government funding since 2002 and continues to receive money.

An Irish Examiner investigation last December revealed the group, unknown to its members, had also received hundreds of thousands from religious orders and bishops. However, the organisation’s founder, Noel Barry, has refused to say how the money was spent.

Tom Hayes, head of survivor group, Alliance, said the matter had been formally raised with the Taoiseach and government ministers.

He said it was disgraceful the HSE was continuing to fund the group, despite serious concerns that had been raised on an ongoing basis.

Mr Hayes questioned why the HSE was allowing Mr Barry to remain as head of the group, even though members had formed a new committee.

Mr Hayes maintains the Government needs to investigate how money was spent and why the HSE is not demanding full and public accountability.

Mr Barry took out an injunction against some members of the new committee last November, locking them out of the charity’s headquarters in Cork.

It is understood, however, that some of the members are being allowed into Right of Place offices.

The HSE has appointed a mediator in a bid reach a solution, but Mr Hayes has questioned the validity of this move.

“Many, many former residents now question the motives of the HSE, who appear to be in attendance only to prevent an enquiry about their own lack of accountability,” he said.

“We have asked that all funding to Right of Place be stopped and a Garda investigation be initiated. This situation has come about because the HSE has failed to regulate how funding has been spent over the years.”

Mr Hayes said due to the situation with Right of Place, a huge number of survivors were seeking help from his organisation and it was struggling to cope.

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