Cara Lodge, Matt Talbot Adolescent Services’ residential facility for troubled teenagers in Enniskeane, West Cork.


The chief executive of the Matt Talbot Adolescent Services (MTAS) charity has resigned with immediate effect. 

Patrick Relihan had been on sick leave since last March. 

In February, the HSE began a financial audit of the Cork based charity. 

The Irish Examiner understands that the audit was prompted by allegations of financial mismanagement and followed a major review of the MTAS operation in recent years. 

The audit is ongoing and no findings have yet been made from it. 

The chair of the charity, former GAA president Christy Cooney, yesterday informed some of the staff about Mr Relihan’s departure. 

When contacted, Mr Cooney said that he had no comment to make on Mr Relihan’s position. 

Asked about the financial audit being undertaken by the HSE, he repeated that he had no comment to make. 

MTAS, which treats young people with addiction problems, has been in operation for over 20 years in Cork City and, until last year, through a residential centre in West Cork. 

Originally, the organisation was affiliated with the Catholic Church which had set it up to help troubled teenagers. 

Until last year it was in receipt of around €1.25m from the HSE annually.

Mr Relihan was appointed CEO in May 2015. A former priest, who had been a school chaplain in the Cloyne diocese, he had a diploma in applied chemistry and a bachelor in theology from a university in Rome.

He was appointed CEO in May 2015.
Following his appointment, he acquired a diploma in management in 2016.

His appointment as chief executive coincided with plans to expand the charity’s operation, including attempts to source funds outside the HSE, which is principal funder of MTAS. 

However, in the following years, the organisation was beset with major internal difficulties in which a number of staff members left the organisation. 

One senior staff member was suspended on full pay for four years and this person and another former staff member both took legal actions which resulted in out-of-court settlements.

In October 2019, the Irish Examiner reported that a number of protected disclosures had been made to the HSE about the charity and a major review was being undertaken. 

A review commissioned by the HSE into MTAS operations was conducted in 2019 and due to report by the autumn of that year. 

However, the report was never published and the HSE told the Irish Examiner last year that this was because the reviewers had gone beyond their remit in investigating MTAS.

Last October, the west Cork residential facility, based in Enniskeane, was closed with the loss of 18 jobs. 

At the time, the HSE and MTAS attributed the closure to a fall off in demand for residential places for young people, combined with a change of policy placing more emphasis on day care treatment. 

However, a number of professionals working in the area disputed that there was less demand for residential places.

No response was received at the time of going to press from the HSE to queries about Mr Relihan’s resignation or the financial audit.


Complaint to Charities Regulator about spending at Cork addiction centre

Last year, the HSE and MTAS announced that the charity’s residential centre in West Cork was ceasing operations. 


A complaint was made to the Charities Regulator about the operation of Matt Talbot Adolescent Services in early May, the Irish Examiner has learned. 

The complaint detailed a number of allegations about mismanagement, including the expenditure of “a sum in excess of €400k with no benefit and to the detriment of our service users”.

The allegation details how the money had to be spent on staff-related issues because of the alleged mismanagement. 

There was no suggestion that money was misappropriated by any individual.

The chief executive of Matt Talbot Adolescent Services (MTAS) Patrick Relihan resigned with immediate effect this week.

The Cork-based organisation provides treatment to teenagers with addiction problems and employs 40 staff. 

Its main funder is the HSE, which contributes in excess of €1.2m annually. 

Financial audit

The HSE has been conducting a financial audit since February, which is ongoing. The HSE also commissioned a review of the operations at MTAS in 2019 but decided not to publish the outcome. 
Last year, the HSE and MTAS announced that the charity’s residential centre in West Cork was ceasing operations. 

Cara Lodge, which closed with the loss of 18 jobs, was the only non-private centre of its kind in the country.

Chief executive of Matt Talbot Adolescent Services Patrick Relihan resigned with immediate effect this week.

A spokesperson for the Charities Regulator said it “does not comment or give updates on open concerns as this could prejudice a charity or our regulatory work”. 

The spokesperson added that if the regulator decides to conduct a statutory inquiry, it will be publicised at that time.

Four protected disclosures

The complaint to the regulator follows four protected disclosures from members of staff in recent years, all alleging shortcomings in various aspects of the management of the charity. 

The outcome of the first of these disclosures was a recommendation in January 2020 for a full audit. 
However, the HSE did not commence that audit for another 13 months. A spokesperson for the HSE said it was not commenting on MTAS at this point.

MTAS has been in operation for more than 20 years and was originally under the auspices of the Catholic Church. 

Canon Donal Linehan was a board member until 2016 as was Tim Crean, a brother of the current Bishop of Cloyne, William Crean. Mr Relihan had left the priesthood in 2014, a year before his appointment as chief executive of MTAS. 

The current board includes former GAA president Christy Cooney, who serves as chair, and former Cork hurling manager Bertie Óg Murphy. When contacted, Mr Cooney said he had no comment to make.
Messages left for Mr Relihan had not received a reply.


Patrick Relihan is the former protege of the retired Bishop John Magee, secretary to three popes.

He is also the former assistant director of vocations for the diocese of Cloyne.

Bishop Crean’s brother, Tim, was on the board of MTAS.

It started off life as a Catholic organisation.

I imagine there will be an outcome when the HSE and Charity regulator have finished their report?



11.43: I thought it is Fr. Crackie Dolally. Certainly….😂😋😊😎😋😂😁..


Sean is Sharon is Kevin is Karen is Mick is Magna is Dick is Larry is Mo is Curly…

Get a life!


I put your name up in a comment and Pat didn’t publish it, which suggests I was spot on. No smoke without fire, except there was one.


State my first name, then. Just the first name, mind, like ‘Peter’ , or ‘Andrew’ , or ‘James’ , or ‘John’.
Or maybe ‘Jesus’ . 🤔 (Nah! Not ‘Jesus’ ; not one of you priests has ever heard that name before. 😀)


The one thing we can be truly certain of where Magna Carta is concerned is that he isn’t a priest. He doesn’t give out that little dick vibe that priests in good standing do. 🤣


I wonder if the CEO vacancy was advertised, with fair and open competition, before his reverence was appointed, or was this charity treated as a soft landing to parachute in a favoured ex-priest in want of a job?


The latter if course he had no qualifications or experience, treated it as his personal fiefdom and ran it into the ground


Relihan was simply an ‘attack dog’ that Cooney would use against members of staff that questioned any decision made by Cooney….. hence high staff resignations, legal issues with staff. a puppet board and CEO run by a power crazed Tyrant. Relihan was appointed because he would do exactly as he was told and without question, an actual CEO with experience would not have followed Cooney’s demands.


Geraldine King, founder and former Director of Clinical Services of MTAS, took what looks like a personal injury claim at Dublin High Court against her former employer.
Relihan was on a surprisingly modest salary for one of these makey up charities that don’t fundraise and get 99% of their income from the state. He was on €77k.


This should be examined.
It is right to consider the Crean connection… and the link between Cooney and ++Clifford. Follow the money.
Killaloe…. Down a 3rd priest this year.


Yes Killaloe Three down but really could you count Ger Nash a Priest as I would say he was a clerical assistant or administrator rather than in a parish


Yes, Ger Nash was a desk priest, which bizarrely often makes a priest the most likely to be made a bishop. Every diocese has desk priests, with Down and Connor probably the worst offender locally, with at least 6 desk priests.


He also got a very modest annual contribution to his pension of €3,500. The entire package is very low.


This is suspicious given the connection between gaa and Catholic Church which goes way back to 1920s.
This guy has no qualifications to speak of. I doubt if he has knowledge on corporate governance which was and is necessary piece in any oil slick running business machine.
Interesting he’s on low 77 k in comparison to other charity executives. It’s quite clear Clooney used him as a plank if things go south. Dirty old tactics.
Crean brother that’s getting more interesting. What other skektons have we on him or Crean?
One thing that we should look at expenses which I would expect to be quite high or unusual irregularities.
I recall that episode before in deaf village (cabra) which was and is owned by CID(Catholic institute of the Deaf owned by Archbishop of Dublin). CID was notorious for its handling of abuses and selecting wrong persons for the job.
Just give you a little flavour of that mini episode bit similar to MTA. It’s all about expenses and strange or quite odd rregularities of expenses. This should be looked at MTA.


Yes, Pat, £66k is a large salary but it’s low for a charity CEO. Take, for example, Denis Leamy (ex-Waterford & Lismore sem), who was the highly regarded CEO of Pobal, which is another of these strange charities fully funded by the state to do state work. Denis was on €177k, though he earned every penny, and was fully qualifiedfor the role and didn’t get it through “pull”, the menace of Irish public life.


To someone with no background, no relevant qualifications, no experience….it was peanuts! Silly.


yes, it was advertised, Pat Relihan beat around 6 highly qualified Drug and Alcohol professionals who also applied for the position of CEO…. Patrick Relihan during his tenure the only CEO of a drug and alcohol treatment facility with no previous drug and alcohol background.


It was ludicrous appointing him with his diploma in chemistry and Roman STB. His only qualification was being an ex-priest.


1. McAleese should wind it in because the CCC was only contrived by Schoenborn and JP II in the 1990s and we always managed far better without. At one time – before Mrs Thatcher turned us into diplomatic items – Roman teaching was very simple: believe as little as you like (in south east England at any rate). At most, actively renewing one’s promise around Easter time stretched to articles of the Creed (anyone remember the Creed?), which left all the inessentials out. In my day baptism wasn’t claimed by the sole Roman church, it was into all churches, again on a minimal Creed basis. Ireland not being pluralist has missed out on reality. Furthermore, baptism wasn’t claimed to be sufficient to be a mover or shaker as is now with the bad boundaries in the quangoes: authorities have it topsy turvy.
2. In the real world (anyone remember the real world?) resignation is DE FACTO and FAIT ACCOMPLI. Without Don Franco’s permission. Marx would resign if it was stagey enough which it isn’t, so he doesn’t.


4.37: McAleese is an empty vessel. She is making no impact whatsoever – apart from insulting all Catholics. She should found her own brand of Christianity now that she has found fault with every expect of Church doctrine and her aggressive tones will not endear her to many, including liberals. That any parent who requests a baptismal ceremony for their child should be judged by her as “irresponsible” for practising their faith is offensive and hurtful. We have 80 families who are still hoping for their child to be baptised and after 5th July we will begin the celebration of baptisms. Apart from the faith dimension there is also the sacred celebration of the gift of life, a time to cathecise on the meaning of baptism and to give some encouragement to parents. McAleese should stop insulting Catholics, who, unlike her, are appreciative of the grace-filled moment of bsptism. Her rhetoric is akin to mockery. I was in a parish where she was invited to two events and the woman couldn’t stop praising the priests and religious who gathered and she didn’t hesitate to have photos taken with an Archbishop….nor did she refuse the beautiful meal in the parochial house…I actually thought then she was too deferential. Now, she’d spit at us…


I put in the most terrible night last night. My wee Timmy was inconsolable. He had his poor wee heart set on Ferns and what do they do? they give it to that ludramaun Nash, who by the photo you put up Pat looks like he has special needs. My Timmy worked his fingers to the bone for that lark in the park with Pope Francis, and in return? Zilch, nada, nuttin. That Nuncio fella need a kick up the aspidestra. By 4 am I got wee Timmy settled, we dressed him in the bishop’s outfit and sang a lullaby to him. He loves that ‘Ecce sacerdos magnus’ He’s still in the bed now.
Pat, if this goes on much longer and if Ossory passes him by we might be calling on you to do a nixer and give him a zap of the old apostolic succession. How much would you charge?


8.32: Your reference in mocking terms to the Bishop looking like someone with “special needs” is disgusting, bigoted and gratuitously offensive. It should be removed. Totally unacceptable.


8.09am I agree with you completely. Incredible that somebody posting on a blog like this should talk in such terms. The dignity of every person? Not as far as that commentator is concerned. Pat, Pease remove the post.


Once again the comments here (which can only be made by RCs because who else would have any interest in making fun of Timothy Bartlett for supposed ambition to be a bishop) prove my firm belief that the RC church has a marked divide between its stated values and its reality. In reality every person doesn’t matter and it is against life, functioning as a gossip shop for a few clerical misfits who benefit from its patronage, as we see today, even after leaving.


I thought he looked ill.
Another Shocking appointment by Jude Okolo so he turning into another Charlie boy.



Agreed! Please, Pat, remove the reference to people with special needs. We are talking eugenics here. A disgraceful un-Christian, immoral use of language.


Why? Don’t they ALL have “special needs.” “Yes my Lord, …..more 💰🤑💸💲💶💵💰


Let us hope there is no sarcasm about the appointment in Ferns. A fine candidate. Dignity and prudence, sweetened by congratulatory joy, should be the keynotes of any comment.


Chauvinism and the lace brigade only interested in narrowmindedness and frills.
“0h for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise.” What’s not to like about Methodist Christians.


Excuse me but how does a Priest become a Bishop from all the Priests in the Country?
Are Bishops the best Priests in the Country?
Thanks in advance.


The Relihan story has all the classic ingredients of the pretty boy taken up by, looked after by, and supported by salivating senior clergy with a penchant for having the more pleasing to the eye seminarians / young clergy around them. And, even when they go off the rails and leave, they are still the apple of the bishop’s eye ! That sounds like what has happened here. Except their apple looks to have been a bit rotten. If the charity had remained as part of the Catholic Church they might have been able to do their usual coverup and save his skin. Too late now, I think ? I suppose they could catapult Relihan over the the Irish Centre in London, perhaps to replace Roreeee as he plans his return to Amy’s bosom ?


a number of female staff have had to seek Psychiatric support due to the culture of Bullying with Matt Talbot Adolescent Services…..


8.20: Can you validate this with statistics or clinical data? Or are you just engaging in hearsay and spurious allegations? Be very careful about what you claim. This is a very serious matter. TRUTH is essential not hearsay.


I dont think Patrick would want to go to London. He has a partner – a teacher from the school he was chaplain to and she is senior in age to him.


I have seen this happen so often before, ageing spinster with ticking biological clock targets school chaplain, teaching has become a feminised profession with few opportunities to meet men.


I wonder if Bishop Magee ever kissed Relihan on the forehead and told him he loved him. In a Jesus-y sort of way, like.


Relihan once said one of those RTÉ studio masses with a bus load of young wans to do the readings and caterwaulings. He had the personality and presence of a wooden post.

Definitely, a “pretty boy” whose pants were fancied off him by the higher ups. Not the brightest either. He was out of his depth and made a complete bags of it.


There is no, I say NO, corruption in Holy Mother Church over Paddy Relihan’s appointment as CEO of MTAS.


The integrity of the local media from where the new Bishop is departing was questioned on the blog earlier in the week.
The local media in question challenged a national charity a few years back. The national charity rebuked them. The national media shied away from the story.
Joe Duffy is the only person within the national media who has questioned where all the money being raised by the national charity is going.
There are local charities for the same cause achieving a lot more with scant resources.


I see the Marists have sold one of their properties for €20 million. I wonder what will happen to that money.

Emmet House, which was not sold, is another prime bit of church real estate that could be sold off. It’s currently used as by church bodies that advise voluntary school boards of management, but it does not need to be in a posh part of Dublin.


It will be used to invest in a strawberry farm in Co. Wexford. The Marist property portfolio now holds the largest strawberry farms in the south east.


10.17: The best strawberries in Ireland!! Truly nlessed…🍓🍓🍓🍓🍓🍓🍓🍓….try them..


Why did MTAS’s auditors (BKK) resign suddenly mid year? The company secretary also resigned and was replaced by one Patrick Relihan, which is surely a most unusual arrangement, to have the offices of company secretary and CEO held by one person.


Anon at 10.35pm
This is a major RED flag if auditors resign which is usually an indication that auditors don’t agree where the directors direction is going.
I recall one company a building construction company whom auditors resigned then 6 months or 1 year later NAMA took over.
Sometimes auditors resign to protect their own reputation or can’t get any financial qualatitive or quantitative information from any of the directors from MTA as if directors were seen to be hiding from the auitors the real truth about the financial state of their company. Its the directors who know morw about the company than the auditors. Auditors only come in one or twice a year.
This is getting dodgy and bit fishy re MTA.


11:04am the complete truth and not hearsay, everything I have written can be followed up with proof, documentation etc. the foremost Investigative Journalist in the country is hardly on a wild goose chase.


So Mr Relihan has been on ‘sick leave’ since last March. Genuinely? Or a euphemism for something less palatable, like those diocesan ones that place priests on sabbatical when in fact it is something else?


Pat, I was reading the Maynooth “policy on dignity in work/studies, published in the Kalendarium. It has this very striking indemnity clause:


The Policy extends to the entire staff, students, visitors, contractors, sub-
contractors and others associated with the College (referred to in this Policy as “members of the College community”).

Nothing herein shall constitute as “inappropriate behaviour” the legitimate exercise of responsibility by the President and / or the Seminary Council and / or the Trustees of the College in the upholding of the Seminary Rule, this Policy and
adherence to the College Statutes.

Additional Requirements of the National Seminary

All members of the community must comply with those requirements set out in the Policy. The conduct and behaviour required of seminarians in addition to this Policy is set out in the Seminary Rule.


please be charitable.
He does not look ill.
That is the saintly glow of one who lives on Holy Communion and chamomile tea.
Bless him.


Turns out she was already married to an Englishman and she dumped both for a Belgian. His new name is Lake Palmer. Lake, not Luke.


Fr Tom crean PP of kenmare, is that the same guy listed as Tim Crean or is it just another brother called Tim?


Its easier to be an egit in the spiritual realm the commercial one or should I say its easier to get caught. Also one does not dye ones hiar/s. One accentuates ones natural tones and shades so one does so


Whoever sai that bishop elecy Nash is special needs is on the money. The poor man looks strange. (God forgive me!)


Hypocrite to ask for God’s forgiveness at 9.36. If you had a fraction of his humanity you’d be something. Were you passed over once too often?


Now that cracks have appeared in MTAS hopefully Mr Relihan’s malignant and Machavellian behaviour will come to light…..


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s