Forum recommended funding for group that recruited Flannery

Fine Gael adviser was paid €60,000 a year as a consultant for Philanthropy Ireland

Enda Kenny, Phil Hogan, Richard Bruton and Frank Flannery at the launch of the Fine Gael local election manifesto in 2009. Mr Flannery joined the Taoiseach and the Environment Minister at the publication of his forum’s report inJuly 2012. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Enda Kenny, Phil Hogan, Richard Bruton and Frank Flannery at the launch of the Fine Gael local election manifesto in 2009. Mr Flannery joined the Taoiseach and the Environment Minister at the publication of his forum’s report inJuly 2012. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Thu, Mar 13, 2014, 07:34

Philanthropy Ireland, the association that represents a number of Irish philanthropic organisations, was given €631,635 by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government in 2012, the year Fine Gael adviser Frank Flannery started to work for it on a consultancy basis.

Most of the money, €596,635, went to the National Giving Campaign, an initiative that was one of the key recommendations of a forum set up by the Government to promote philanthropy. Mr Flannery chaired the forum, having been appointed by the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan.

The chief executive of Philanthropy Ireland, Séamus Mulconry, said Mr Flannery’s consultancy work, for which he was paid €60,000 a year, was not paid out of the funding for the National Giving Campaign, nor from any public money received by the organisation.


Hogan’s department
The 2012 accounts for Philanthropy Ireland show it received €165,565 from voluntary donations, and €631,635 from Mr Hogan’s department.

Mr Mulconry said the forum’s report was submitted to the Governmentin draft form in September/October 2011, and in final form in December 2011, and the decision to allocate money to the National Giving Campaign was made at that stage.

He said Mr Flannery had put a huge amount of work into the report, on an unpaid basis. Mr Mulconry said it was his own idea that Mr Flannery be asked to work on a paid basis on the implementation of the report’s recommendations. The idea was approved by the organisation’s board.

Mr Flannery began his paid work in June 2012, although the contract was not signed until November 2012, Mr Mulconry said. This meant Mr Flannery had begun his consulting work for Philanthropy Ireland by July 2012, when the forum’s report was published in the National Library at a ceremony attended by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Mr Hogan and Mr Flannery.

Mr Hogan said at the launch that he had allocated €1.1 million that year to support the implementation of the report’s agenda.

Mr Mulconry said the invoices submitted by Mr Flannery for his work were personal, as against company invoices, and he had not charged Philanthropy Ireland using the company Laragh Consulting.


Government lobbying
Mr Flannery used Laragh Consulting to invoice the Rehab Group, of which he was a director, for Government lobbying he conducted for Rehab in 2011 and 2012. The company has been dissolved since 2009, having been established two years’ earlier and never having filed accounts. Mr Flannery told The Irish Times said some weeks ago that despite the use of the dissolved company, there were no tax issues between him and the Revenue arising from the use of the company.

The former Fine Gael adviser and trustee also conducts lobbying work for Insight PR, a company that acts for Rehab, but has said he does not do any work for Rehab by way of Insight. He has refused in the past to say who his clients are.