Credit card receipts ‘missing’ at Alzheimer Society, audit finds

HSE internal audit finds building project went €700,000 over budget and that cash was kept in filing cabinets

A HSE audit of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland found the organisation had 63 bank accounts and 76 receipt books and that the process of consolidating its accounts was "unwieldy and prone to error".

The auditors said the filing cabinet in the society’s national office contained six cheque books with 90 pre-signed cheques (ie blank cheques containing one signature).

The pre-signing of cheques was always of serious concern in an internal audit and having such a number of cheques pre-signed was “a serious issue”, the HSE said.

Auditors also found the amounts of money held by the society as petty cash, in some cases as much as €700, were “exceptionally large” and could not be considered petty cash and posed a significant security and safety risk. Cash was also held in filing cabinets in its offices. The society said it would review the possibility of buying a safe this year.


Almost a third of the receipts for €25,000 in purchases on a credit card used by the society’s former chief executive were missing, the internal audit found.

Auditors analysed 23 credit card statements for the former chief executive, who is not named in the report, for 2013, 2014 and 2015 and found they were not signed as authorised or approved. Total expenditure was €24,686, of which €3,608 related to 2013, €10,604 for 2014 and €10,473 for 2015.

There were 206 transactions, 30 per cent of which there were no receipts for. Five of the missing receipts related to ATM cash withdrawals totalling €520.

Alcohol expenditure

“Evident was alcohol expenditure of €377, a Christmas party cost €1,425 in December 2014 (from the one itemised receipt available €261 was related to alcohol expenditure),” the report said.

Flowers were sent to the Department of Health at a cost of €72 in December 2014. The itemised receipts available also revealed €3,062 was spent on food in restaurants.

A credit card statement for another employee included a transaction for “gift voucher shop’ for €150. No receipt was attached.

Some 980 people were given a gift voucher for €30 in January 2013 to mark the 30th anniversary of the organisation. The total cost was €30,380. Christmas gifts of alcohol and chocolates for staff in 2014 cost €353.


A review of the chief executive’s €110,000 gross salary found it was in compliance with the HSE scales for an assistant national director at the maximum point.

The salaries of the senior management posts below the chief executive were €83,979, some €4,500 above the maximum pay scale for a general manager in the HSE. Those salaries have since been reduced to €80,000, the current chief executive of the society Patrick McLoughlin has told the auditors.

The auditors also expressed concern that the former chief executive had simultaneously held that role and the role of director for nine years, and the roles of chief executive and secretary for 13 years.

They said the society’s management should ensure in the future that no members of staff were both directors and employees of the organisation as this could have implications for its charity status.

A HSE audit also found a building project for the society went some €700,000 over its €5 million budget after running into difficulty. The society received about €41.3 million from the HSE between 2012 and 2015.