News Irish News

Saturday 17 March 2018

Console's Paul Kelly used well-known priest's name to get €100,000 in Lottery cash

Fr Aidan Troy with the then president Mary McAleese at the Console National Conference in 2009. Photo: Collins
Fr Aidan Troy with the then president Mary McAleese at the Console National Conference in 2009. Photo: Collins
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The priest who won international respect for protecting Catholic children during the Ardoyne loyalist protest in Belfast has spoken of his shock at being dragged unwittingly into one of Paul Kelly's funding bids.

Fr Aidan Troy, who is now based in Paris, was among a list of people named by the former Console chief in his 2005 application for €100,000 of National Lottery funding.

But the priest told the Irish Independent that his name was used without his permission.

"It is my understanding that my name was included along with others on a list of 'board of management and patrons' submitted by Console in connection with a funding application. That was without my knowledge," he said.

"This is all I know so far about the matter.

"The big number of suicides in north Belfast during my time at Holy Cross Monastery, Ardoyne in the early 2000s gave me an awareness of an urgent and constant need for suicide prevention and related services.

"I have tried since then to assist people and families in any way I could in the area of suicide and have continued trying since being transferred to Paris in 2008."


Documents released under Freedom of Information reveal that the Department of Health, which was administering the lottery grants, had to write to Paul Kelly three times to get information on how he had spent the money.

A spokeswoman for the department said yesterday that in April 2005 it approved a grant of €100,000 from National Lottery Funds towards the operational costs of the National Suicide Crisis and Counselling service.

Console was advised in writing that a condition of the grant was that certification of expenditure be submitted to the department as soon as possible after the end of the financial year or when the project was completed.

The department said: "Where certification of expenditure is not received, it is the practice to issue a reminder to the organisation concerned. Reminders (were) issued to Console in September 2006 and July 2007."

The spokeswoman said that in August 2007 the department received certification of expenditure from Console in the form of its annual report and audited accounts for the year ending December 2005.

"This confirmed that €100,000 was received from National Lottery funds for ongoing operational costs of the national suicide helpline and counselling service.

"The independent auditors' report indicates that the financial statements give a true and fair view of the state of Console's affairs as at December 31, 2005, and of its incoming resources and application of resources for the year ended on that date.

"The department accepted this independent auditors' report as evidence of the appropriate expenditure of funds."

In addition to the 2005 grant, Console received further national lottery funding in later years. The figures were:

  • 2006 - €50,000
  • 2007 - €25,000
  • 2008 - €100,000
  • 2009 - €100,000
  • 2011 - €50,000
  • 2012 - €75,000

Console received the bulk of its State funding from the HSE. However, there were also other grants from agencies, such the Department of Foreign Affairs, which gave Console's UK counselling centre around €160,000 to provide services to the Irish emigrant community in Britain.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News