Former Positive Action director in court on fraud charges

Woman remanded on bail to appear before court again in July

Bernadette Warnock, who resigned as a director of the board of Positive Action in July 2013.

Bernadette Warnock, who resigned as a director of the board of Positive Action in July 2013.

 

A woman has appeared in court on more than 75 charges of alleged theft and fraud connected to the hepatitis C support group, Positive Action. Bernadette Warnock (62), Smithstown Lodge, Garretstown, Dunshaughlin, Co Meath, appeared before Dublin District Court on Thursday. She was charged with 28 counts connected to fraudulent cheques and 48 charges of theft on dates between 2009 and 2011.

She was remanded on bail to appear before Dublin District Court again on July 1st. The charges were brought by Garda Wayne Donnelly of Pearse Street Garda station. Ms Warnock resigned as a director of the board of Positive Action in July 2013.

Positive Action was formed in 1994 as a support group primarily for women who became infected with hepatitis C after receiving anti-D immunoglobulin produced by the Irish Blood Transfusion Service Board between 1977 and 1991. It lobbied for compensation, including healthcare and counselling.

The HSE restricted funding to Positive Action in early 2012 while it sought information on the organisation’s budget for 2010 and 2011. In early 2013 Positive Action began judicial review proceedings against the HSE over changes in how its funding was governed. However, the court ruled against the organisation.

The organisation, which had been in operation for 20 years, had 727 members at the time the HSE withdrew its funding in March 2014. It went into liquidation in April 2014 with debts of €107,000. The HSE subsequently completed an audit into the financial affairs of the organisation.

Positive Action had been in receipt of State funding since 1995. The organisation sought in excess of €515,000 in funding from the HSE for 2014 but later signed a service level agreement with the HSE for funding of €138,000.