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High-profile priest Aidan Troy tells of shock after his name is used by charity in funds scandal

By Eilish O'Regan

Published 13/07/2016

Fr Aidan Troy did not permit his name to be used
Fr Aidan Troy did not permit his name to be used

The former Belfast priest who won international respect for protecting children during the Ardoyne loyalist protests has spoken of his shock at being unwittingly dragged into a charity scandal in the Republic.

Fr Aidan Troy, who is now based in Paris, was among a list of people named by Paul Kelly - the former head of suicide prevention charity Console - in his application for national lottery funding of €100,000 (£83,400) in 2005.

Last month, the High Court in Dublin blocked Mr Kelly from accessing the Co Kildare-based charity's accounts and placed a temporary injunction on him or his family interfering in the running of the charity.

Kelly and his wife Patricia, a Console director, have resigned from their positions after an official audit which revealed that the couple and their son Tim Kelly benefited from almost £412,869 in salaries and cars between 2012 and 2014.

In the same period, £390,302 was spent by the family on 11 Console credit cards - for items including groceries, designer clothes and foreign trips. They blew it on trips to Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, designer clothing, dining out and Rugby World Cup tickets.

Fr Troy said his name had been used without his permission."It is my understanding that my name was included along with others on a list of 'board of management and patrons' submitted by Console in connection with a funding application," he said. "That was without my knowledge.

"This is all I know so far about the matter. The big number of suicides in north Belfast during my time at Holy Cross Monastery, Ardoyne, in the early 2000s gave me an awareness of an urgent and constant need for suicide prevention and the need for related services. I have tried since then to assist people and families in any way I could in the area of suicide and have continued trying since being transferred to Paris in 2008."

Documents released under freedom of information reveal that the Irish Department of Health, which was administering the lottery grants, had to write to Paul Kelly three times to get information on how he had spent the money.

A spokeswoman for the Department said in April 2005 it approved a grant of €100,000 (£83,400) from National Lottery Funds towards the operational costs of the National Suicide Crisis and Counselling service. Console was advised that a condition of the grant was that certification of expenditure be submitted to the department as soon as possible after the end of the financial year or when the project is completed .

She said that in August 2007 the department received certification of expenditure from Console in the form of its annual report and audited accounts for year ending December 2005.

"This confirmed that €100,000 was received from National Lottery funds for ongoing operational costs of the national suicide helpline and counselling service.

"The independent auditors' report indicates that the financial statements give a true and fair view of the state of Console's affairs as at December 31, 2005 and of its incoming resources and application of resources for the year ended on that date," said the spokeswoman.

In addition to the 2005 grant, Console received further national lottery funding of €400,000 (£333,800) in later years.

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