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'My blood was boiling when I saw it' - celebrity chef and Console fundraiser Derry Clarke

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Paul Kelly and Derry Clarke

Paul Kelly and Derry Clarke

Charlie Bird

Charlie Bird

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Paul Kelly and Derry Clarke

Celebrity chef Derry Clarke has spoken of his "disgust" over revelations about how funds were used by former directors of suicide charity Console.

The proprietor of Dublin's L'Ecrivain restaurant and his wife Sallyanne have been supporters of the charity since losing their son, Andrew (16), to suicide.

Speaking after the RTE Prime Time investigations program into the charity, Clarke said he found reports of lavish spending "shocking".

"The reaction from me really was disgust. I feel not just for myself but for all the thousands of people that have spent the last few years fundraising for Console and do it in trust," he told RTE Radio One's Today with Sean O'Rourke.

"My blood was boiling, actually. In January a generous benefactor gave me a cheque for €26,000, which I gave directly to Console."

The chef said he was annoyed that he "had no idea" about spending by Console CEO Paul Kelly and his family members.

"I only met [Paul Kelly] at fundraising functions, so I never knew what car he drove or where he lived.

"I knew nothing about him really. A lesson learnt the hard way."

However, Clarke vouched for the services provided by the charity. "Console as an operation is spectacular. The services they offer are second to none. If we could separate what they do from one person's actions, that would be great.

"I feel for every charity in Ireland because they are all going to suffer. It's going to be very hard for me to collect for Console again."

He spoke of his shock at the actions of Paul Kelly who, like the chef, lost a family member to suicide.

Shame

"It's actually unbelievable, because I'm in the same shoes that he is. I don't know how he did it. I'm speechless," he said.

"He has no shame."

Meanwhile, all the proceeds from sales of A Day in May - a book about the same-sex marriage referendum by broadcaster Charlie Bird - will no longer go to Console as previously planned.

"It is with sincere regret that we have learnt of the serious financial concerns in relation to the organisation and we feel it would be inappropriate to make any contribution," a statement on Facebook read.


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