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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Arts Council halts €16k grant being given to mother of department head

Published 03/07/2014 | 02:30

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Jimmy Deenihan has now said the grant money has not been paid
Jimmy Deenihan has now said the grant money has not been paid

THE Arts Council has halted the awarding of a grant which was to be given to the mother of one of its departmental heads.

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Singer Patricia Flynn was due to get the €16,500 grant for folk and traditional singing initiatives.

However, the sum has now not been paid following an internal review launched amid concerns of a conflict of interest, the Irish Independent has learnt.

Selection

The singer's son Paul Flynn is head of traditional arts at the Arts Council.

While he was not involved in approving the grant, he contributed to the selection of the panel that did.

The grant was to be put towards the creation of a multimedia archive.

It was awarded during the second round of Deis grants in July last year when 15 applications for funding were chosen from a total of 20 submitted.

However, Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan has now said the grant money has not been paid.

Responding to a question from Fianna Fail TD Timmy Dooley, Mr Deenihan also said the chairwoman of the Arts Council, Sheila Pratschke, had undertaken to "review issues of conflict of interest to ensure that there would not be a recurrence".

The minister said a disciplinary investigation was conducted and "appropriate action was taken by the council in line with employment legislation and guidelines".

Mr Flynn remains in his position with the Arts Council. He did not respond to a call seeking comment yesterday.

Arts Council director Orlaith McBride declined to comment on the disciplinary procedure, beyond saying it had now concluded.

Confidential

She said the outcome of the matter was confidential.

Ms McBride said that protocols had since been reviewed "to ensure they are as robust and effective as they can be".

The grant awarded to Mrs Flynn, who is based between Co Armagh and Co Donegal, was to be put towards the creation of the archive by the Stray Leaf Folk Club and Sliabh Gullion Festival of Traditional Singing, in collaboration with RTE, the Irish Traditional Folk Archive and the National Folklore Collection.

Irish Independent

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