By Jennifer Hough
Thursday, October 06, 2011 Irish Examiner
A STATE-FUNDED group for survivors of institutional abuse spent over €80,000 on travel and subsistence, and over €30,000 on office administration over two years.
Annual accounts filed yesterday by the Cork-based organisation Right of Place show that in 2009 and 2010, the group had expenses of €478,534 and €423,850 respectively. During 2010, the accounts show that almost €14,000 was spent on office administration, and almost €9,000 on printing, postage and stationary.
Over €7,000 was spent on legal fees. A note to the accounts shows that during 2010 a case taken against Right of Place by a former employee meant the group was ordered to pay a settlement of €6,700, as well as legal fees amounting to almost €4,000.
During 2010, Right of Place received €321,860 in grants and a one-off payment of €45,153 for redundancies and legal fees.
However, its budget has been slashed in the past year after it emerged that duplicate funding had been taking place over many years.
In the past, Right of Place was funded through grants from both the HSE and the Department of Education. Now its only source of state funding is the HSE, from which it receives about €183,000. It had sought a further €90,000 from the Department of Education.
Internal documents obtained by the Irish Examiner show that the department wrote to the HSE this year to check what money it had given to the group in order that both would not fund it for the same thing.
The department official wrote that Right of Place, which it has funded since 2001, sought funding for areas of expenditure the department had never previously funded. These included staff salaries, office rent, training and research.
Survivors had raised concern about the amount of money which groups purporting to represent them get. An estimated €34 million has been provided to groups supporting victims of institutional abuse between 2001 and 2009.
Right of Place has received €2.4m from the HSE since 2002, with a further €1m coming from the Department of Education.
The Aislinn education and support centre, set up by former Goldenbridge resident Christine Buckley, between 2007 and 2010 topped €1.1m