What you need to know about disgraced CEO Paul Kelly and the Console suicide charity scandal

What you need to know about disgraced CEO Paul Kelly and the Console suicide charity scandal

THE disgraced former CEO of Console Paul Kelly hit the news once again this week when the Irish Sun revealed that Mr. Kelly made comments about his sister's suicide that were untrue.

Kelly described seeing his sister's body in hospital in 2001 and the screams of his mother after his sister, Sharon Kelly, took her own life that year.

His sister died in 1995 - when Paul Kelly was supposed to have been living abroad.

Kelly had gone on the run in 1994 after it was revealed that he had  a IR£100,000 tax bill hanging over his head from another charity he ran.

Kelly hit the headlines again some weeks back when RTÉ Prime Time's investigations unit found that there were allegations of financial misconduct within his suicide prevention charity Console.

It's alleged that Kelly, his wife Patricia and son Tim possessed 11 company credit cards belonging to Console and ran up bills of close to €500,000 on designer clothes, cars, holidays and Rugby World Cup tickets.

Here is a brief rundown of events so far...

  • As reported by the Irish Post, earlier this month the RTE investigations unit revealed that a Health and Services Executive (HSE) audit found that former Console CEO Paul Kelly, his wife Patricia Kelly and son Tim Kelly , benefited from almost €491,649 (£412,869) in salaries and cars between 2012 and 2014. During that same period a further €464,777 (£390,302) was lavishly spent by the family on 11 Console credit cards held by the family – for items including groceries, designer clothes and foreign trips.
  • Console's London branch began offering services in 2012 but had it's official launch last year in Westminster which had the family of the deceased former Wales football manager Gary Speed in attendance.
  • Through its Emigrant Support Programme funding, the Irish government gave the charity a total of £119,700 to help fund its London branch from 2013-2015.
  • This month, the Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has opened a statutory inquiry into the activities of Console in Britain.
  • This investigation includes:
    • The financial management of the British charity, in particular how it applies it funds in furtherance of its objects and whether there has been any unauthorized trustee benefit
    • Whether or not the trustees have complied with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities as trustees under charity law in the administration, governance and management of the British charity and conflicts of interest have been properly managed
    • Whether there has been any misconduct and/or mismanagement by the trustees and consider whether remedial regulatory action is necessary 
    • The relationship between the British and Irish charities and whether the British charity is furthering its stated aims for the public benefit
  • In light of the HSE’s findings the charity’s board set up an external review, which led to the resignation of Mr and Mrs Kelly earlier this month, and saw the couple’s solicitors arrange for the 2010 Audi Q5 used by Patricia Kelly and a 2009 Mercedes CLS driven by her husband to be collected from their home in Clane, Co. Kildare. The cars alone cost the suicide prevention and bereavement charity more than €87,000 (£73,000).
  • The High Court in Dublin has since lifted a freezing order on The Kelly's current account, which had been overdrawn by more than €100, to allow the couple claim social welfare. However, Mr. Justice Paul Gilligan refused them access to their savings account, which has a total amount of €6,700. Representatives for the liquidators of Console argued that the amount in the savings account now belongs to Console.
  • Irish broadcaster and Console supporter DJ Gareth O'Callaghan has revealed he refused an offer from Kelly 10 years ago to become the CEO of Console, the disc jockey told the independent.ie: "Paul Kelly became my hero ... I am sick from what I've been hearing."
  • Console has since been liquidated, with all it's services moving to the Pieta House charity. On the Console website the notice reads that the charity as an entity is no more.