Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has said there was “no question” that the Peter McVerry Trust would need to be restructured in the future, after the Government had to bail out the homelessness charity.
Mr O’Brien received Cabinet approval this week for up to €15 million in “exceptional” emergency funding for the charity, which has been battling a major financial crisis over recent months.
The bailout will be paid to the charity in phases between now and March 2024, with the first tranche of around €4 million to be released this week.
Speaking on Thursday, Mr O’Brien said there would need to be a “restructuring” of the charity.
There would be “conditions attached” to the State funding, which the Minister said he would lay out in correspondence sent to the charity on Thursday.
“We have full oversight of what’s happening there. There’s investigations in place, there will be a reorganisation and restructuring,” he said.
The trust, one of the main providers of homeless services in the State, had been brought to the brink of collapse due to a shortfall in income and significant debts.
When it came to whether there should be changes at board level in the charity, Mr O’Brien said he believed “we’re not at that stage”.
There was a “full review under way” in the trust, with both the Charities Regulator and the Approved Housing Bodies Regulatory Authority investigating financial and governance concerns.
While those statutory inquiries were ongoing it was crucial the State ensured services provided by the charity continued, Mr O’Brien said. “There will certainly be restructuring in the future, there’s no question about that but we’re not at that point yet,” he said.
“My priority is the service users, the hundreds of people who are assisted by the Peter McVerry Trust every single day,” he said. “I want to assure people who use the services … that we will make sure that they continue,” he said.
The Minister was speaking at the opening of 29 cost rental homes run by Circle Voluntary Housing Association at Lanestown View, Donabate, north Dublin.
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