Friday 28 October 2016

'I never got any thanks after 14 years of raising funds', says Keith Duffy

Luke Byrne and Nicola Anderson

Published 05/08/2016 | 07:31

Keith Duffy helped launch Ireland’s first onestop website for autism information. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Keith Duffy helped launch Ireland’s first onestop website for autism information. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Keith Duffy promoting Blue Nose Day for the charity. Photo: Mark Maxwell

Former Boyzone star Keith Duffy has hit back at Irish Autism Action, saying it took his time and voluntary fundraising efforts for granted.

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The singer and actor, who has a child with autism, worked as a campaigner and patron for IAA for 14 years.

"After all I had done, when I did step down, I didn't even receive as much as a thank you card, or my wife never even received as much as a bunch of flowers," he told the Herald.

He was reacting after the IAA's new CEO, Brian Murnane, claimed at a meeting with Irish Autism Mammies that while Mr Duffy had raised €8m for the charity, this cost €7m.

"The point I was trying to make was that was a gross revenue figure and I would also say an approximate figure and that's also a figure that's been raised over more than 10 years.

"But it's a gross figure. What the true net figure is, is actually more difficult to estimate," Mr Murnane told the Irish Examiner.

However, when contacted by the Herald, Mr Murnane said he did not make the comment attributed to him at the meeting.

Mr Duffy said that he is now taking legal advice regarding Mr Murnane's claim.

The dad-of-two stressed he worked at all times on a voluntary basis when raising funds.

"I'm not sure how to react to this. I worked passionately and voluntarily for 14 years.

" I gave my time and heart freely to help other families like mine, with a child with autism," he said.


Mr Duffy said he never gave a figure for the amount he raised in all the time he was associated with the charity, because he didn't know the figure.

"I never handled or saw any of the funds. The charity themselves gave the quote some time ago that I'd helped to raise in excess of €8m."

Mr Duffy began raising awareness for autism when his daughter Mia (16) was diagnosed with a mild form of the condition.

However, he has been left disheartened by his experience with the charity.

"I stepped down as patron (of the IAA) because after all the years of fundraising and charity work done, I had no relationship with any members of the committee and they just expected and took for granted my time and efforts," he said.

Mr Duffy stepped down from his role with the charity in February last year.

At the time he said he was doing so with "a heavy heart", but he wanted to concentrate on his family and his career.

Former CEO of IAA, Kevin Whelan, released a statement at the time which said there were "a considerable amount of advantages" to having Mr Duffy "on board" with the charity.

"It is impossible to sum up the extent of his work," he said.

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