“All of the people involved in GLEN were well-intentioned people who made a significant difference in this country.”
The Charities Regulator has highlighted the importance of robust governance structures and oversight at charities. This is following the release of a report which details how charitable funds at the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) were used inappropriately.
Chief Executive of the Charities Regulator John Farrelly said without such oversight, even the most vibrant of charities are at risk.
The investigation by the regulator found inadequate financial controls, weaknesses in oversight by trustees and the use of charity funds to support a political campaign.
Mr Farrelly told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland: “The inspector’s report indicates a lack of procedures around finances and a lack of oversight of credit cards and what we’re learning here is that one needs absolutely robust governance on behalf of the charity trustees.
“We also learned here that a significant amount of money was used to fund a political campaign of an individual again that’s not acceptable, charity funds are for use for the charity and the charity only.
“Charity trustees need to be informed and need to be engaged. All of the people involved in GLEN were well-intentioned people who made a significant difference in this country.
“What it shows is, where there isn’t a proper oversight, even the most vibrant charity will get into trouble.”
In December 2017, it was announced that ex-GLEN Director Kieran Rose would not face a Standards of Public Office (SIPO) enquiry after GLEN provided “temporary supports” worth about €11,500 during his political campaign.
Mr Rose repaid the expenses in full but failed to disclose them on his “unsuccessful candidate donation statement” to the commission.
Following the controversy, GLEN decided to wind down its operations after 29 years serving the LGBT+ community.
A new LGBT+ organisation has emerged after the closure of GLEN, LGBT Ireland, who are aiming to be a new national support for the LGBT+ community.
Meet the key players of LGBT Ireland in Issue 341 of GCN.
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