Cara Lodge, Matt Talbot Adolescent Services’ residential facility for troubled teenagers in Enniskeane, West Cork.
TUE, 08 JUN, 2021 MICHAEL CLIFFORD THE EXAMINER
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 TOCHARITY REGULATOR ABOUT SPENDING IN CORK ADDICTION CENTRE.
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.
THU, 10 JUN, 2021 – MICHAEL CLIFFORD THE EXAMINER.
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.
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?
THE COMMENT OF A SENIOR DUBLIN PRIEST ON HEARING THAT GER NASH IS TO BE THE BISHOP OF FERNS.
FATHER MICHAEL KEANE was ordained a priest for the archdiocese of Tuam.
He had a wonderful approach to pastoral ministry.
His strategy was to go to a parish and study the particular needs of the people there and then begin to practically address them.
Early on he noticed that one of the big problems of the West of Ireland was lonely bachelors and spinsters living in isolated places with very little opportunity to meet friends, partners and future husbands and wives.
So Michael set up the Knock Marriage Bureau to address these issues. The bureau had great success and led to something like 500 marriages.
Father Keane’s trouble with the church started when he inherited a fortune on the death of a relative.
The archbishop Joseph Walsh wanted Michael to give the money to the diocese and told Michael: “A man with that kind of money would get a mitre”.
Michael refused and his fate was sealed.
Walsh made it impossible for Michael Keane to work in Tuam and Michael, with the agreement of Walsh and Dermot Ryan of Dublin moved to work in Templeogue in Dublin.
Unfortunately in Templeogue Michael met a difficult parish priest who carried stories to the cold and aloof Dermot Ryan.
In any event Ryan wanted Michael out of Dublin. Michael refused to go and squatted in the presbytery.
Ryan, with his normal thickness, brought the matter to the court and obtained an eviction. The Garda carried Michael, Molly his long time housekeeper and all their belongings out of the house and dumped them on the street.
The eviction had a profound, life-changing effect on Michael and Molly. Both devout Catholics being thrown out on the street by the archbishop and the Garda.
Fortunately, with Michael’s money, he was able to buy another house in the parish where he lived until Molly died.
After his eviction and sacking Michael became involved in protesting against the Church on various matters including optional celibacy. He and I were in many protests together.
After Molly died, Michael retired to his native Mayo where he lived with a nephew.
He had good health for a while. But when it failed he went to a nursing hime where he died.
At some stage before this he had a reconcilitary Mass with the Church presided over by the auxiliary bishop of Dublin, Eamon Walsh.
There was no fulsome apology offered but Michael wanted to be reconciled with them.
His funeral Mass was celebrated by Michael Neary of Tuam where all Michael suffered was glossed over – in typical Roman fashion.
For some reason Michael never wanted to do anything against Roman canon law?
He didn’t run a coach and horses through it as I happily have 😁
I must say death bed reconciliations with Rome always make me feel very queasy.
Recently I was standing in a queue at the checkout of a large Tesco store near where I live.
I noticed in front of me a parish priest of Down and Connor was further up the queue – a man I had been friends with years ago.
Not only had we been friends and each others confessors, we were also members of the same Jesus Caritas movement of priests (meeting under the inspiration of Brother Charles de Foucauld) – priests who meet for a day every month to pray, contemplate, share thoughts and a meal.
Now in Tesco, this priest was behaving like a cornered animal. He was looking everywhere except in my direction. He took off and put back on his specs a hundred times. He dropped things out of his bag and put them back in. He was sweating and panicking.
And when he had paid for his groceries he ran for the doors.
Why this strange behaviour?
Why not just say “Hello Pat” or “Buckley don’t come hear me”. But no. He sweated, panicked and ran.
It reminded of an expression that Fr Michael Keane of the Knock Marriage Bureau used to use: “If you see a pig with two headssay nothing”.
I remember having a similar experience at a conference organised by the ACP – The Association of Priests.
There were hundreds of priests there from all over Ireland. I was with an Oratory priest and his wife.
Everyone ignored me, went the opposite way when they saw me coming and treated me as if even looking at me would cause something terrible to hapoen to them.
The only one who spoke to me that day was the Jesuit Alan McGuckian who is now the bishop of Raphoe.
A FISH / PRIEST FACTORY
When I waa a curate in Kilkeel one of my parishioners owned a fish processing factory and invited ne to visit.
The fish arrived on the assembly line and were first beheaded. Then they were gutted and finally had their spines removed.
This is what happens in seminaries and priesthood.
First of all they remove your head / brain.
Then they remove your guts.
Finally, they remove your spine.
And then you’re ready – a properly, FILLETED PRIEST with no brain, no guts and no spine.
The following is a footnote from a book entitled, Doctor Johnson and the Law and Other Essays on Johnson
In a book entitled, “Doctor Johnson and the Law and Other Essays on Johnson” by Tom Bingham, (who was a judge of the House of Lords and widely considered to be the best jurist of his age) in the introduction by Robin de Wilde there is a wonderful footnote:
“I have always enjoyed the observation by Sydney Smith, the nineteenth-century Divine, who, when he was asked whether he believed in the Apostolic Succession, said that he did, on the grounds that: ‘it was the only explanation for the then Bishop of Exeter being related to Judas Iscariot’.”
Yesterday, June 6 th was the 45th anniversary of my ordination in the cathedral in Waterford on June 6th 1976 by Bishop Michael Russell.
I can’t believe where the time has gone.
I am very grateful to God for the grace and strength he has given me always, but especially these 45 years. I could not possibly have persevered without God.
By any means, I have not lived the life of an ordinary priest.
I’ve had great times and joys and great challenges.
1. My ordination day.
2. My mother Jo, my dad Jim, my sisters Margaret and Clare and my brother John.
3. My aunts and uncles especially Phylis and Joan.
4. (My grandmother Kate.
5. The people of St Cadocs, Llanrumney Cardiff as deacon Summer 1975.
6. My partner Eddie.
7. The people of the parish of Bridgend Wales as curate 1976 – 1977.
8. The people of Briton Ferry, Swansea, Wales 1977 – 1978 as curate.
9. The people of St Peter’s Cathedral Belfast as curate 1978 – 1983.
10. The people of Kilkeel parish 1983 – 1984 especially Mary Murphy.
11. The people of Larne parish as curate 1984 – 1986.
12. The people of the Oratory, Larne as priest and bishop – 1986 – present 2021.
13. All the couples I’ve married. All the wonderful people whose funerals I’ve celebrated.
14. The people who have allowed me to minister to them over the years – the sick, the prisoners, the homeless, the gay people, and all those who have accepted from me counselling, support and love.
THE PRIESTS WHO HELPED AND INSPIRED:
Canon John Pierce PP Dublin. RIP
Father Joe Collins CC Dublin. RIP
Archbishop McQuaid. Dublin. RIP
Father John Hyde SJ. RIP
Monsignor John Shine, Waterford. RIP
Father Tony Hayes, Rosminian, Waterford. RIP
Canon Philip Dywer PP. Cardiff. RIP
Canon Eddie Mullins PP Cardiff. RIP
Monsignor Patrick Mulally VG Belfast. RIP
Father Jimmy McCabe CC Cathedral Belfast. RIP
Father Des Wilson. Belfast. RIP
Father Paddy McVeigh PP Larne. RIP
Canon Walter Larkin. PP Kilkeel. RIP
Father Michael Keane. Mayo. RIP
Father Tony McCarthy. Dublin.
THE PRIESTS WHO CRUSHED MY SPIRIT.
Archbishop John Murphy. Cardiff. RIP
Father Bernard Driscoll. Bridgend. RIP.
Canon Patrick Creed. Cardiff. RIP.
Bishop Cahal Daly. Belfast. RIP
Bishop Paddy Walsh. Belfast.
Father / Bishop John McAreavey. Canon lawyer.
Father Vincent McKinley. Cathedral. Belfast. RIP.
Father Joe McGurnaghan. Cathedral. Belfast. RIP.
Canon Sean Rogan. Belfast.
GOOD ONES – 15.
BAD ONES – 9
The good ones win 😁. Sorry Magna!
Everyone’s life is a mixture of joys and sorrows, successes and failures, dreams and nightmares.
Mine has been like that too.
But overall I have been very happy, very fulfilled and very blessed and fortunate.
In life, to survive is a great achievement.
And to survive and never to have lost your faith, hope, optomism and joy is an even greater achievement.
I think that my life can be summed up in Ernest Hemingway’s mighty quote:
“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially”.
I have been “broken” but not destroyed. I am a bit like the horse that needs to be “broken” in order to function. But such a horse retains its indomitable spirit to the point where the rider knows not to push it past a certain point. Otherwise the horse’s primal spirit bursts forth and then it is the rider who will be in trouble.
And there is a very important distinction between been “broken” and “destroyed”.
Our brokeness is actually a great strength. It glues us to the broken Christ and also creates within us a great compassion for broken others.
There’s an awful lot to be said for life’s “cracked cups”.
ARCHBISHOP’S HOUSE DUBLIN 9 Tel 837 3732 Fax 836 9796
3 June 2021
In the last fifteen months, we have been unable to do the things we normally do to express our faith and our solidarity with each other. This is not to say that the life of prayer and charity have ceased, but life’s usual patterns have been disrupted, as have the deep practices that nourish our faith, empower our social solidarity, and animate the mission of the Church towards the poor and disadvantaged. Along with the countries of the developed world, our country has been fortunate that people have been supported during the significant economic upheaval and hardship of the pandemic. Even in our grief and loss, we have much to be thankful for. Communities and parishes have shown resilience and imagination in their responses to the challenges of the pandemic. For many this has revealed new ways of collaboration and involvement. We also have to acknowledge that certain aspects of Church life have been severely impacted. One of these is parish finances, and while we eagerly long for a return to the life that we knew, we also have to act to ensure that our parishes have the financial minimum they need to survive. The necessary restriction of public worship has profoundly affected the two essential Sunday Mass collections on which parish funds depend. The first collection—as you know—supports clergy ministering throughout the diocese as well as sick and retired priests and priests working in other ministries throughout the diocese. The second collection—the ‘Share’ collection—supports diocesan services to parishes especially disadvantaged parishes. In the last financial year, the clergy collection decreased by 54% and the ‘Share’ collection decreased by 65%. This year the situation is even more grave—with a decrease of 80% and 86% respectively for the first quarter (January to March 2021 That this would have happened, given the character of the necessary lockdowns, is not surprising. I am grateful to all who have continued to give so generously in the past 15 months. This generosity cannot be expected to address the deeper financial challenges which the Archdiocese faces. I have therefore approved the proposal to hold a new Summer Dues collection to support priests of the diocese. This initiative will follow the pattern of the Christmas and Easter dues collections giving parishioners an opportunity to contribute to the income that supports priests. The Summer Offering collection will be launched on the weekend of the 20th June. In making this appeal, I ask you to remember that the greatest resource of the Church is its people—both laity and clergy —working hand-in-hand. The age profile of the priest is rapidly increasing, and there are few vocations to priesthood and religious life. Yet the priests we have in the diocese continue to serve quietly week-in-week-out while more is being asked of fewer and fewer. The ministry and mission of our Church cannot continue without this humble, generous service. I thank you for continuing to support our parishes and the clergy who work among you. Your generosity to this new initiative of Summer Dues will provide much needed practical and moral support for priests working quietly and effectively at the heart of every local community of faith. While great strides have been made in getting the virus under control, there is still a way to go before our country and other nations are out of the woods. We are facing the summer with its the brighter mornings and long evenings. May the change of pace that summer brings provide a break from the darkness of the difficult winter we have endured. May the Holy Spirit lift our hearts, and renew our hope so that in ‘our common home’ we may share the life for which God created us (see Gen 1:3 1,2:18, and John 10:10).
Archbishop of Dublin.
The Irish people now have a once in a lifetime opportunity to break the back of the RCC in Ireland and its disastrous control of Ireland since at least 1922.
Starve them of money!
Cahal Daly once told his fellow bishops at Maynooth: “Starve Buckley of the oxygen of publicity” 😁
Now we have this unrivalled opportunity to starve the RCC of the oxygen of finance and money.
It is interesting to hear that in Dublin their finances are down by 54% to 86%.
For Ireland’s sake it needs to be down by 100%
In my opinion, anyone contributing to the RCC is contributing to an evil project.
I support seven charities and I’ve made sure none of them are Roman Catholic. I support secular charities that look after the homeless, the provision of fresh water in third world countries, animal welfare and cancer research and treatment.
Any organisation that has done and is doing evil is unworthy of the generosity of ordinary people.
Of course you will always have the blind Catholics who think they are buying their way into heaven by giving money to the RCC and its reps.
GER FITZGERALD’S STRANGE FRIEND SENDS ME ANOTHER THREAT 😁