Family in Console case seek living expenses

The family at the centre of the Console spending scandal will apply for living expenses because their accounts and their access to the charity’s accounts have been frozen.

Patricia Kelly and her husband, Paul, had their accounts frozen by a court order after the Console scandal broke.

The High Court was due to discuss the winding up of the charity yesterday after Paul Kelly, the former chief executive, handed over a list of the charity’s assets and asset transfers since 2012 amid allegations that he was hiding funds in Ireland and the UK.

Mr Justice Gilligan agreed to adjourn the matter until Tuesday, keeping the freezing orders in place, to give the parties more time to study the documents which were delivered to David Hall, the interim chief executive, on Monday.

The judge said that he would hear a formal application for living expenses at that time.

The list of assets will also be sought by the charity regulator, the HSE, Revenue commissioners, the office of corporate enforcement and the garda bureau of fraud investigation, all of which have launched investigations into Console’s finances.

An HSE audit revealed that Mr Kelly, 56, his wife Patricia, 55, and their son, Tim, 27, who were directors, spent €500,000 on credit cards belonging to the Irish charity between 2012 and 2014. The money covered trips to Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Tenerife, designer clothing in outlets such as Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss, dining out, Rugby World Cup tickets and dental work.

They also received about €500,000 in salaries and benefits in kind from the charity, which were not subject to board approval.

A court order obtained soon after news of the scandal broke prevented the Kellys from accessing the accounts of the charity which is due to run out of money next week.

Console’s services will be handed over to another charity shortly and the organisation will then be wound up. It faces a tax bill of at least €70,000 as well as outstanding staff costs and legacy payments on credit cards.

The HSE had been funding the charity by about €65,000 a month, leaving a €30,000 deficit as donations dried up in the wake of the scandal. The HSE will appear before the public accounts committee on Friday to answer questions about its funding of Console.