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Irish LGBT charity to close amid ‘financial irregularities’

By Ross Semple

An LGBT+ charity in Ireland is set to close after its finances came under scrutiny.

A report by Irish senator Jillian van Turnhout, as reported in The Irish Times, found that continuing operations of The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) was “no longer viable given the challenges it is facing”, and the decision was made for “an orderly wind-up”.

In the report, van Turnhout said that GLEN had been caught up in “a perfect storm” due to the departure of its CEO, diminished public trust, and lack of financial resources.

The report accuses GLEN staff of “extremely poor practice” in their use of company credit cards, though it does not conclude that any staff member personally profited from the charity.

Accusations of financial mismanagement were made by the charity’s former CEO last month. Áine Duggan, who served the CEO from October 2016 until recently, confirmed that she was aware of mismanagement of finances.

In an interview with Morning Ireland in April, Duggan said: “I would like to be able to stand up and say, ‘I can absolutely one hundred percent stand over a statement that there was no misappropriation’, unfortunately, I can’t.

“Nobody can, and that’s why the audit is so important and I think that it’s really important that we let the audit run its course.”

In a statement responding to the allegations made by Duggan last month, GLEN said that “all grants received have been used for the intended purpose and has no reason to suspect there has been any misappropriation of fund”. They did not address any of Duggan’s accusations directly.

In 2015, emergency services were called to the offices of GLEN after a member of staff opened a letter addressed to the organisation which reportedly contained an unidentified blue powder along with a note reading ‘Goodbye’.