Tuesday 20 February 2018

Parents' fury at John of God nepotism claims

St Mary's Special School in Drumcar
St Mary's Special School in Drumcar

David Kearns

Parents of special needs children attending St John of God-run schools say they cannot take any more following revelations that at least five members of embattled charity chief John Pepper's family are employed by the beleaguered group.

News broke at the weekend that both Mr Pepper's son, John Pepper Jnr, and wife, Catherine, are employed at a residential centre near Drumcar, Co Louth. Also working at the St Mary's campus is Mr Pepper's younger brother Seamus, his son James, and another female relative.

"They can't give us even €40 for a set of blackout blinds but they can find the money to top up salaries," said Aisling McNiffe, whose son (11) attends the charity's St Raphael's special school in Celbridge, Co Kildare.

"You hear stuff like this and it just takes the wind out of you because in the last week it's been one thing after another regarding St John.

"I just don't know how much more we can take...I'm just praying this isn't Console all over again because you can only put your trust in people so many times before it's gone."

A spokesperson for St John of God said Mr Pepper had no direct involvement in "the employment process of any family member" at St Mary's.

"[This] was conducted by local managers in Drumcar."

Irish Independent

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