Monday 11 December 2017

Co-founder of gay rights charity steps down amid controversy over Seanad election printing

Kieran Rose Picture: Tommy Clancy
Kieran Rose Picture: Tommy Clancy

The co-founder of gay rights charity Glen has resigned from its board amid the controversy over the printing of his Seanad election campaign literature.

Kieran Rose, who fought an unsuccessful campaign to win a Seanad seat last year, made the announcement this evening.

In a statement he revealed that Glen - the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network - backed his Seanad campaign to the tune of €11,500.

Mr Rose said it's with regret that he's resigning from the board but that he's doing so because the issue of the support Glen provided to him in 2016 is "causing a distraction" to the work of the organisation.

He stepped down after an emergency meeting of the Glen board.

It comes after the Irish Independent revealed today that Mr Rose did not disclose the help he got from Glen during his Seanad Campaign to the State's political standards watchdog.

Mr Rose made no reference to the support provided by the charity in his “Unsuccessful Candidate Donation Statement” to the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo).

Glen's printing facilities were used for Mr Rose's election literature - costs that he reimbursed.

His statement this evening does not provided a breakdown of the cost or nature of support offered to him by Glen during his campaign, but puts the overall value at €11,500.

Mr Rose said:

"It is with regret that I am tendering my resignation today from the Board to the Chairperson. 

"I am resigning as there is an aspect of Glen’s support provided to me in 2016 that is causing a distraction to the work of Glen and to other issues that are under review by the Charity Regulator.

"Last year, I sought to secure a seat in Seanad Eireann,  and part of my programme was to continue to seek further progress on equality including for LGBT people.

"Glen executive provided temporary supports to me during my campaign.

"These equated to  €11,500 (approx), which I repaid to Glen. 

"At no point was there any reason on my part not to disclose this and any breach of regulations that may have occurred was completely inadvertent. 

"I regret that the arrangement has contributed to recent controversy," he added.

Mr Rose is regarded as one of the gay rights movement's most prominent voices and ardent campaigners since before the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1993.

He co-founded Glen in 1988.

He said this evening: "During the 30 years with GLEN, I have worked tirelessly to address social injustice and to seek to remove prejudice and discrimination whilst promoting equality for all. 

"I regret that this issue has occurred and is causing a distraction from the important work of GLEN and the other issues that are concerning it at present. 

He wished the Glen board well in their work and said he'd be making no further statement.

A number of allegations about the management of finances at Glen emerged last weekend. The Charities Regulator is investigating.

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