Tuesday 21 August 2018

Former Console boss Paul Kelly's credit cards were used after he resigned

Gardai probe phone records in effort to trace charity boss's horse

Paul Kelly
Paul Kelly
Paul Kelly, former chief of Console. Photo: Robbie Reynolds
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

A Console credit card held by its disgraced former boss, Paul Kelly, continued to be used for up to a week after the scandal of his lavish spending of the charity's cash for his personal use sparked public outrage and a raft of investigations.

The credit card in Kelly's name was used to make cash withdrawals and to buy various household items from "multiple" shops, including in Kildare where he lives.

The purchases were made after Paul Kelly had resigned as chief executive of the suicide bereavement charity, Console. Purchases continued to be made on the credit card over the following week until the High Court froze the charity's bank accounts.

Kelly's use of the charity's credit cards was among the damning revelations in RTE's Prime Time, disclosing how he, his wife Patricia, and son Tim, both directors of the charity, racked up credit card bills of almost €500,000 over a three-year period.

David Hall, who was appointed caretaker chief executive of Console after the RTE programme, confiscated Kelly's charity credit cards and their company cars, after securing a High Court injunction freezing the charities accounts.

Mr Hall confirmed to the Sunday Independent this weekend that Kelly's credit card was still being used to buy general items.

"Yes, his credit card continued to be used up until the High Court injunction," said Mr Hall.

He said the card was used in multiple shops over that period and that "small amounts" of money were involved".

Paul Kelly has emerged from the scandal as a Walter Mitty character with a history of deception who, at various times, has posed as a doctor in a Dublin hospital, a social worker in England and a priest.

A liquidator was appointed to Console and its services moved to another organisation after David Hall found that the charity was in serious financial trouble with a string of debts, including to unpaid staff.

Meanwhile, gardai are understood to be following a definite lead in the hunt for the missing €40,000 showjumping horse bought by the Kellys for their teenage daughter in 2014.

Detectives have been analysing telephone records to trace the crucial phone call made by a bogus gardai to the owner of equestrian centre where the horse was being stabled.

The horse was stolen from a stable in Longford a fortnight after the Console scandal broke.

Two men, posing as gardai recovering Console's assets, called to the stables to remove the valuable horse, a horse box and a Fiat 500 car used by the Kelly's daughter.

The owner of the stables, Gerry Flynn, was not there at the time, but was suspicious to learn that they had not presented ID and alerted gardai in Longford.

In the same week, David Hall got a tip-off from a member of the public about the existence of the showjumping horse, Ecapitola.

Hall was told that the horse was purchased for the Kelly's daughter, a keen horse rider, with a €37,500 bank draft and a pony that they traded in.

The horse is believed to be worth more than €40,000.

On the Marian Finucane Show on RTE Radio yesterday, Mr Hall said he sent two of the Console staff to counselling because of the scandal.

According to Mr Hall, staff first heard about the RTE Prime Time programme on the day it was to be broadcast, and they had to come to work the next day to try to keep the charity going.

He said they were also among the biggest creditors of the charity.

Sunday Independent

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