Tuesday 24 April 2018

Cars go under the hammer, as reason for Kelly's Aussie trip questioned

Health Minister Simon Harris Photo: Damien Eagers
Health Minister Simon Harris Photo: Damien Eagers
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

The luxury cars bought with public funds for the use of disgraced charity boss Paul Kelly and his wife, Patricia, will be auctioned on Tuesday.

The Mercedes Benz and Audi Q5 that cost the suicide bereavement charity more than €87,000 are expected to raise roughly €10,000 apiece at Wilsons Auctions on the Naas Road.

Paul and Patricia Kelly returned the cars to the Console's interim chief executive, David Hall, last weekend on foot of a court order.

The couple must present a full list of any assets they hold that were purchased using charity funds to the High Court tomorrow.

The proceeds from the sale of the cars will be ploughed back into the charity's accounts, which have been heavily depleted by the lavish spending of Mr Kelly, his wife Patricia, and their son Tim.

The three were found to have cost the charity more than €500,000 between salaries and company cars over a three-year period, and racked up close to €500,000 on the charity's credit cards.

Meanwhile, the Jesuit community in Perth, Western Australia, said this weekend it had no knowledge of an "invitation" to Paul Kelly to speak at a Jesuit Centre in Perth in late December 2012.

Mr Kelly justified the trip to HSE auditors as an "invitation" to speak at the Jesuit Centre in Perth. It was one of three long-haul trips he made to the southern hemisphere on Console business in 16 months.

Fr Joseph Sobb, a Jesuit priest with the Holy Rosary Nedlands parish, told the Sunday Independent: "I don't know anything about it."

He added that there is no Jesuit Centre in Perth, "just a parish". "We are the only Jesuit community here," he also said.

Talks are continuing this weekend over the transfer of the services provided by Console to another organisation. It is understood that Pieta House is believed to be the frontrunner to take on the services. Mr Hall briefed Health Minister Simon Harris and Junior Health Minister Helen McEntee on the developments at the charity yesterday. Console's board is due to meet tomorrow.

The HSE is expected to be questioned about its funding of Console at a meeting of the Dail's Public Accounts Committee this week.

Sunday Independent

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