Console founder ran up €500,000 in credit card bills

Paul Kelly, wife and son spent on items such as groceries, designer clothes and foreign trips

Founder of Console Paul Kelly, who resigned last week, has denied allegations of mismanagement and poor governance. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/ The Irish Times

Founder of Console Paul Kelly, who resigned last week, has denied allegations of mismanagement and poor governance. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/ The Irish Times

 

The founder of suicide prevention charity Console, his wife and son ran up credit card bills of almost €500,000 on items such as groceries, designer clothes and foreign trips over a three-year period, according to a HSE audit.

Paul Kelly, his wife Patricia and their son Tim, benefitted by almost €500,000 in salaries and cars over the period from 2012 to 2014, the audit has also established.

Amongst the items the credit cards were used for, were large unvouched cash withdrawals, trips to Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and other destinations, designer clothing in outlets such as Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss, dining out, rugby world cup tickets and dental work.

Between them Paul, Patricia and Tim Kelly used 11 credit cards over the three year period.

Paul Kelly resigned as ceo of the charity last Thursday following controversy over funds governance at the charity.

The board of Console said it had accepted his decision to step down and announced the appointment of two outsiders to review the issues raised in the HSE audit and an RTÉ investigation of the charity.

Details of the draft HSE audit of the charity were revealed on RTÉ Investigates on Tuesday evening.

Over the period, Paul Kelly received consultancy payments of €218,586, plus a 2009 Mercedes CLS costing €30,600 (fully expensed) and four credit cards, the audit showed.

Ms Kelly received salary payments €67,149, plus a 2010 Audi Q5 costing €57,000 (fully expensed) and four credit cards. Tim Kelly received a salary of €118,344 between 2012 and 2014.

Between 2012 and 2014, €736,000 was spent on Console’s credit cards.

Paul Kelly, Patricia Kelly and their son Tim Kelly held 11 of the charity’s 20 credit cards.

Paul Kelly held two cards in his own name and two cards in the name of an employee who had left the organisation over six years previously. Patricia Kelly held four cards and Tim Kelly held three cards.

The expenditure on these 11 cards was €464,776.

The largest single expenditure item on these credit cards was cash withdrawals of €87,026. Of these, Paul Kelly withdrew €66,296. There was no documentation to identify how these cash sums were used.

The spending includes €71,460 on foreign travel to Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Tenerife, Nice, Paris and London.

Some €32,900 was spent through credit cards on dining/restaurants between 2012 and 2014 and €24,659 was spent on credit cards to purchase groceries.

Spending of €8,377 on clothing is also recorded, including designer names such as Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, Moss Bros, Bershka and Coast.

Other spending includes €1,340 dental bills, €2,253 on pharmacy purchases and €2,083 on 2015 Rugby World Cup tickets.

Paul Kelly has denied allegations of mismanagement and poor governance.