Sunday 25 February 2018

Injunctions granted to prevent former chief accessing accounts

Businessman David Hall has taken over as the interim chief executive of scandal-hit charity Console Picture: Colm Mahady
Businessman David Hall has taken over as the interim chief executive of scandal-hit charity Console Picture: Colm Mahady

Tim Healy and Eilish O'Regan

Businessman David Hall, who is the new interim chief executive of Console, said he will be taking over from today and is hopeful he can "steady the ship".

Mr Hall was speaking after the High Court granted a number of injunctions preventing former chief executive Paul Kelly from accessing its bank accounts and credit cards.

It granted an injunction restraining Mr Kelly, his wife Patricia, and former director Joan McKenna from interfering with the economic, commercial or public interests of the charity.

Mr Hall told the court that he was exceptionally concerned after documents went missing from a usually locked cabinet in the offices of the charity in Kildare last weekend.

He said last night that one of his tasks is to seek the return of the two cars paid for out of charity funds and owned by Mr Kelly and his wife - a Mercedes and Audi.

"I have been impressed by the resilience of the staff . I have met them in the last couple of days and they are very impressive," he said.

He is also to hold a meeting next week with fundraisers and other well-wishers.

Mr Hall, who is one of two examiners, along with accountant Tom Murray who will also investigate the charity, said he will be setting out to recruit a new permanent chief executive for the organisation.

The court was told that at a meeting last Monday with Mr Kelly and his wife, at which Mr Hall sought the handover of keys and records on foot of their resignations, it became heated and Mr Kelly alleged he had not in fact resigned, Mr Hall said.

He (Kelly) also gave interviews to the media that it was "business as usual".

Concerns arose that the lack of management was affecting the running of the organisation and that someone had been in its offices over the weekend and some records were now missing.

There were further concerns about its bank accounts and that there were potentially more than 10 credit cards in existence which there was no control over.

The computer which holds staff payroll and payment records had also been removed from the office.

At a board meeting with the three remaining directors, Mr Hall was informed they did not even know they were directors and had not attended functions, events or activities of Console. They had no hand, act or part in running the charity and were not notified, nor attended, any meetings of the board, they said.

Mr Hall took a number of steps to protect the charity including informing the Charities Regulatory Authority, the Director of Corporate Enforcement, and the Garda Fraud Bureau.

Mr Hall formed the view the charity was in serious and exceptional danger and remained so because of actions and statements of Mr Kelly.

The case comes back before the court next Tuesday.

Irish Independent

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