The public must not allow the fraud at suicide prevention charity Console to “tar all Irish charities with the one brush”, Dublin’s new lord mayor has warned.
Labour councillor Brendan Carr, who was elected last month, said he would be “extremely concerned” if the “reputational scandals” affecting the high-profile charity led to donations being slashed for other transparent organisations.
Responding to the latest controversies to emerge in Console, the lord mayor said many well-meaning charities would simply not survive without the voluntary help of the public.
“I am extremely concerned at the very serious situation that many charities currently find themselves in, given the recent reputational scandals that have adversely impacted the entire sector, resulting in a significant drop in donations and support for the many great causes for which they advocate.
“As first citizen of Dublin, I am calling on the goodwill of Irish people to continue to support the charity and voluntary sector, who for so long have done so much invaluable work acting as a linchpin for a multitude of deserving causes.
“There are thousands of charities registered in Ireland, each involved in supplementing the work of the health sector, working in social justice advocacy, education, homelessness, disability, sport, culture, youth, overseas aid, the arts and environment.
“They are largely funded through donations from a very generous and civic-minded Irish public who are renowned for being the most generous in Europe. They also directly employ thousands of dedicated people and hundreds of thousands more as volunteers, driven passionately by their conscience and attempting to make a difference for so many great causes in Irish society.
“There is no doubt that while serious questions need to be answered about the governance structures in some charities, it is important to note that the majority of their grassroots are driven by honesty and integrity.
“The Irish charity and voluntary sector delivers crucial services that in other countries would be considered a core function of the state.
“Like all institutions and organisations, it is imperative that charities reform as required and be subjected to the same rigours of transparency and openness, and that justice be done where abuses have been uncovered. Equally, it would be a real shame if we tar all Irish charities with the one brush, because of a self-serving minority at the top that have detached themselves from the tireless work being done by their employees and numerous volunteers.”