Charities must get house in order
Concerns about governance, including accounting practices, at the suicide-bereavement charity Console were first raised as far back as 2006, but it has taken a decade for a more complete and deeply disquieting picture to be brought into the public domain. Recent revelations in relation to this charity, coming so soon after disclosures about the corporate culture at other charities, have served to cast a further dark shadow over the charities sector in general. These revelations have also raised serious issues related to the belated regulation of this sector, whose members, it must be asserted, do crucial work to make up for the shortfall in proper state funding of services for those most in need at a hugely vulnerable time in their lives.
Further complaints in relation to Console were made in 2009, but the State, specifically the Health Service Executive, which contributed €2.5m to Console for its counselling service, failed to deal adequately with those complaints; seven years later, when a formal audit uncovered abuses, the HSE was again slow to respond.
This is simply not good enough - not any more. Vast sums of money, from both the taxpayer, via state bodies, and from generous members of the public, who in recent years have been greatly moved by the plight of those increased numbers who have turned to the services of Console and other similar charities, are involved here. As such, people are entitled to know that such funds are appropriately applied for the purpose intended.