Saturday 25 November 2017

'Causing a distraction' - Founder of gay rights charity in shock resignation

Mr Rose stepped down after an emergency meeting of the Glen board. Photo: Tommy Clancy
Mr Rose stepped down after an emergency meeting of the Glen board. Photo: Tommy Clancy

Eilish O'Regan and Cormac McQuinn

The co-founder of gay rights charity Glen has resigned from its board amid the controversy over the printing of his Seanad election campaign literature.

Kieran Rose, who made an unsuccessful bid to win a Seanad seat last year, made the shock announcement last night, revealing that Glen - the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network - backed his political campaign to the tune of €11,500.

He said he regrets resigning from the board, but the issue of the support Glen provided to him in 2016 is "causing a distraction" to the organisation's work.

Mr Rose stepped down after an emergency meeting of the Glen board.

It comes after the Irish Independent revealed Mr Rose did not disclose the help he got from Glen during his Seanad campaign to the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) watchdog.

Glen's printing facilities were used for Mr Rose's election literature. He reimbursed the costs involved.

His statement last night did not provide a breakdown of the cost or nature of support offered to him by Glen, but puts the overall value at €11,500.

Mr Rose said: "It is with regret that I am tendering my resignation today from the board to the chairperson.

"Last year, I sought to secure a seat in Seanad Éireann, and part of my programme was to continue to seek further progress on equality, including for LGBT people.

"Glen executive provided temporary supports to me during my campaign. These equated to €11,500 (approximately), which I repaid to Glen.

"At no point was there any reason on my part not to disclose this and any breach of regulations that may have occurred was completely inadvertent.

"I regret that the arrangement has contributed to recent controversy."

Mr Rose is regarded as one of the gay rights movement's most ardent campaigners since before the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1993. He co-founded Glen in 1988.

In his statement, Mr Rose said he stepped down as co-chairman of Glen last December. The board asked him to stay on as a director due to his vital contribution to Glen over several decades and Mr Rose said he was "happy to remain on the board to continue to serve the organisation", until last night.

He said: "During the 30 years with Glen, I have worked tirelessly to address social injustice and to seek to remove prejudice and discrimination whilst promoting equality for all.

"I regret this issue has occurred and is causing a distraction from the important work of Glen and the other issues that are concerning it at present."

He wished the board well in its work and said he'd be making no further statement.

A number of allegations about the management of finances at Glen emerged last weekend. The Charities Regulator is investigating.

Irish Independent

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