EMAIL TO LARNE PP
9th April 2020
Rev. Francis O’Brien
I received the enclosed letter yesterday in the post.
I had not applied for the COVID 19 small business grant. I did apply for the self-employed assistance package.
I need to ask you a few questions:
Did you make the application for the £10,000 grant in my name and at this address?
Or is this £10,000 the outcome of my application for the self- employed assistance package?
How did it come to be that the grant is in my name and at this address, but the bank details are those of the Catholic parish of Larne?
As the grant is for small businesses – what are you suggesting is the business that is carried on here?
If the grant is for small businesses and my ministry here is that “business” why did the grant go to you and not to me?
Have you applied for £10,000 for the two churches in Larne and the three presbyteries – getting the parish £50,000?
Are these £10,000 applications being made by all parishes across Down and Connor and for all the buildings the church pays rates on – perhaps netting the diocese some millions of pounds?
By the way, Father Eddie McGee, the diocesan press officer has told a journalist that the £10,000 grant was for me and not for the parish.
If that be the case, do you propose to transfer the grant to me?
I need urgent clarification of these matters. You can email me on email@example.com
LARNE PP REPLY TO ME
Most Reverend Patrick Buckley,
Thank you for your recent correspondence and for bringing this matter to the attention of the Parish.
I am unaware of any application for a grant of any kind, but have forwarded your correspondence to the Diocesan Finance Office for their attention.
Francis (Very Rev. Fr. F. O’Brien P.P.)
The Diocese of Down and Connor can confirm that on 3rd April 2020, as part of the Government’s COVID-19 response, an automatic ‘small business grant’ of £10,000 from the Department for Economy (NI) was received by the Parish of Larne in error. Within the diocese, this was an isolated incident.
Having become aware of this mistake, the Diocese of Down and Connor immediately contacted the Land and Property Services (LPS) to draw this oversight to their attention and to arrange the safe return of the grant.
I did not apply for a grant.
When the details arrived by post I contacted the Government Grant’s department and was told the money went into the Larne Parish Account.
The Larne PP said he knew nothing about it.
He passed my email to him to Bishop Treanor.
FATHER EDDIE MC GEE
The D&C press officer Fr Eddie McGee first said it was for me.
The diocese then issued the above statement.