€4k spent on alcohol by 'Hep C' group
Published 18/02/2016 | 02:30
A HSE-funded support group for people with Hepatitis C, a virus that affects the liver, spent over €4,000 on alcohol, including vodka, whiskey and gin, while attending conferences on the disease in Europe and the United States.
A high degree of extravagance in how Transfusion Positive spent €1.4m of public money between 2009 and 2014 was uncovered by the HSE's internal financial watchdog.
Transfusion Positive was set up in 1995 to support people infected with Hepatitis C through contaminated blood transfusion and has received €3.2m since 2005 from the HSE.
However, it resisted requests for basic information on how the money was being spent and to improve how it was run, according to the damning report by the HSE's Internal Audit Division.
Although people with the virus are advised not to consume alcohol, the drinks bill is likely to be higher because of inadequate records kept by the organisation.
The auditors found records were incomplete or in some cases non-existent.
They found evidence of 36 weekend trips costing €546,838, annual general meetings lasting three days at €72,398, executive committee expenses of €424,730, dining bills of €37,924 and gifts worth €8,114.
During the weekend outings, they spent €131,460 on complementary therapies, massage and beauty treatments. It rented office space at a cost of €289,092.
A spokesman for Transfusion Positive was unavailable yesterday.
The HSE said the organisation received €95,000 in 2015. Funding for 2016 has not yet been allocated, pending agreement of their Service Level Agreement.