Sunday, May 30, 2010

O'Brien got €61k for abuse group

O'Brien got €61k for abuse group
John Downes, News Investigations Correspondent Sunday Tribune

Former mayor of Clonmel Michael O'Brien has received over €61,000 in the past eight years from the state to run his Right to Peace group for survivors of abuse.

O'Brien, who has repeatedly stressed in media interviews that he has not per­sonally sought or received any money for himself, also received some €10,000 from the Rosminian Order over the past decade to help cover the cost of running his group.

The most recent payment of €4,000 was made in February of this year. The registered address which the Department of Education holds for the group is O'Brien's family home. However, he says he has used most of the money provided to the group to rent offices in Clonmel over the years, with rent payments covered directly by South Tipperary VEC, which administers the money on the department's behalf.

According to Department of Education figures, Right to Peace has received a total of €61,202 in funding since 2002. This includes a sum of €12,000 paid in 2002, and €6,000 in advance funding for this year.

"Right to Peace has received funding from this department for the provision of an information and referral service since 2002," he said. "In 2008 funding (of €1,574) for Right to Peace did not include office rental. Since the Ryan report was published the level of enquiries has increased and funding was provided in 2009 for office rental."

Fr Joe O'Reilly, provincial of the Rosminian Order, which ran St Joseph's Industrial School in Ferryhouse, said the Rosminians have given O'Brien around €10,000 "to support the establishment and running of his office, Right to Peace, for his services to other survivors.

"All monies were given for the establishment and running of his office for the benefit of survivors. Nothing was given for him personally. No compensation was given to him personally," he said.

O'Brien confirmed the details of the funding when contacted last week.

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