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Saturday 17 March 2018

'This has taken away the good from my healing process after son died' - Clarke

Derry Clarke with his wife Sallyanne Picture: Tony Gavin
Derry Clarke with his wife Sallyanne Picture: Tony Gavin

Alan O'Keeffe

Chef Derry Clarke said he felt hurt and nauseated by more revelations about how funds were spent at the suicide charity Console.

Derry became a fundraiser for the charity after he and his wife Sallyanne lost their son Andrew (16) to suicide.

He said that he received a cheque yesterday with a €100 donation towards the charity and noted that it was now "probably the safest charity" to donate money to.

The revelations about spending on designer clothes, groceries and luxuries were damaging to Console and to the entire charity sector, he said.

"I've seen the accounts - they are online. Nauseating is the word," he added.

The fundraising work he did for Console was "for personal reasons", he said, referring to the loss of his son, which he said helped him to heal.

"It helped with the healing process. I think what has happened has taken away from my healing process. It's taken away the good from that," he told the Irish Independent.

"Lots of people I know gave money to me, their hard-earned money to me, to give to Console. Every penny went to Console that I got. That hurts. It really hurts.

"I assume I will learn more in the next few weeks. I'd like to know that the money and cheques I did give in on behalf of other people did go into the services."

Derry revealed that he received a letter from the west of Ireland yesterday with a cheque in it for €100 to give to Console.

"It has dawned on me in the last couple of days that Console is probably, at the moment, the safest charity to give money to. It really is," he said. "It's changed completely in there. I could see that straight away. Nothing is guaranteed in life. I'm pretty sure that accountability and governance is going to be second to none for them to survive. Because obviously, if it's not, they're gone completely.

"Definitely getting that €100 cheque today was very surprising."

Asked if he was disappointed that Charlie Bird had decided not to donate royalties from his new book to Console after the controversy, he said "I understand his point of view".

"Console is a vital service. There are great people working there. And there are a lot of volunteers working there," he said.

"The counsellors are brilliant.

"They have 12 staff there and they're all modestly paid, as far as I know."

Referring to the large numbers of people who have fundraised for Console, he said: "There are thousands out there. People cycled, people walked, people ran.

"People on a rowing team in Wicklow raised €10,000 for Console this year; how do they feel?"

Irish Independent

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