Charities are responsible for vetting, says HSE
Published 05/07/2016 | 00:00
Carrying out background checks and Garda vetting was solely the responsibility of staff and directors at Console, it has emerged.
The HSE said organisations such as the suicide-bereavement charity are responsible for reassuring it that staff had the necessary Garda clearance before they received State funding.
This is despite director Paul Kelly being served with the Probation Act for impersonating a doctor for three weeks in 1983.
Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy criticised the HSE for its handling of the saga and said more could have been done to protect the integrity of the charity sector.
"I don't understand how the HSE didn't do a greater piece of due diligence . . . The charity regulator needs to be given more power," Ms Murphy said.
She said the HSE needed to be more responsible when allocating funding to charities.
"They should have looked at the health of the board, who was on it and who the directors were. There is a bigger piece of work the HSE must do if they are going to be funders."
The HSE has defended the security structures it has in place to monitor charities such as Console.
It said it was led to believe Console was financially compliant and that all of its staff, including Mr Kelly, had the appropriate Garda clearance to carry out a public service.
However, the HSE has failed to confirm whether Paul Kelly's history, which includes impersonating a doctor and a priest, was ever taken into consideration when Console was being allocated State funding.
The HSE completed an internal audit of the charity last year and is considering Console's response to the findings and recommendations before making a decision on any future arrangements.