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Former Console CEO Paul Kelly dies aged 62

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Former console CEO Paul Kelly

Former console CEO Paul Kelly

Former console CEO Paul Kelly

The former CEO of the Console suicide helpline, Paul Kelly, has died in tragic circumstances at his home in Clane, Co Kildare, Independent.ie can confirm.

Mr Kelly (62) was head of the charity shut down in 2016 after €464,000 credit card spending by him, his wife Patricia and son Tim was exposed.

The state financial and corporate watchdog, the ODCE, has been leading the investigation into Mr Kelly's management of the charity.

It is believed the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement got the go-ahead from the DPP in recent weeks to charge him with over ten breaches of company law and fraud during his time at the helm of Console.

Mr Kelly was found dead at his home in Alexander Manor, Clane, Co Kildare at 10.30pm by his wife Patricia.

The inquiry into Console was extended last year as investigators continued to trawl through computers linked to the company.

Former staff members were questioned about allegedly bogus records of board meetings they say they never attended, according to informed sources.

They were told the investigation was taking longer than expected due to the complex nature of the alleged breaches of company law.

Paul Kelly was questioned by investigators in January last year about his management of the charity. He resigned in June 2016 after lavish spending was exposed.

An estimated €600,000 of spending was still being probed as the investigation grew and charges were being considered.

It is not known if Mr Kelly was aware he was to be charged with fraud offences at the time of his death.

Neither Patricia or Tim Kelly have been charged with any crime, or suspected of any wrongdoing.

At the time the scandal was exposed in 2016 Mr Kelly was accused of using Console’s funds for grieving families to pay for a Mercedes car, holidays, and tickets to sporting events.

The cost of trips to holiday hotspots Tenerife and Cyprus were among the destinations charged to the suicide bereavement charity Console, according to a HSE audit.

Over the course of two years, Console clocked up a foreign travel bill of €71,460.

The destinations also included Rome, Australia and Dubai - although no details were provided of who travelled there or the reasons why.

Console told the auditors that "all expenditure on travel was for Console purposes".

The charity was liquidated with debts of at least €300,000 after it disclosures about Mr Kelly's lavish spending of funds.

Mr Kelly, his wife Patricia and their son Tim benefited by almost €500,000 in salaries and cars between 2012 and 2014 when it had an income of €5m from public fund raising and generous HSE grants.

Campaigner David Hall was appointed as the interim CEO of Console when the scandal broke in 2016.

He confirmed he had been informed of Mr Kelly’s death yesterday.

“This is a personal tragedy for the Kelly family and you could only have sympathy for them,” he said.

“I never met Mr Kelly personally, my role was clear at the time - to protect the services and deal with the backlash,” he added.

“There were 12 full-time and 60 part-time staff providing a very significant frontline service to 376 active clients at the time the scandal broke. It was the biggest charitable scandal of the time and affected the trust in the whole charity sector. Many rules and regulations were changed as a result of it,” Mr Hall explained.

The chief executive of the suicide charity Console Paul Kelly has resigned amidst concerns about financial irregularities.

Online Editors