Thursday, November 30, 2023

Peter McVerry Trust to receive €4 million this week in first tranche of emergency Govt funding

THE PETER MCVERRY Trust will receive approximately €4 million in the first tranche of emergency funding from the Government to ensure the organisation can continue to provide its services, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has confirmed. 

It was confirmed on Tuesday that the Government is to provide up to €15 million in funding to the charity. 

It comes after the housing charity found itself in significant financial difficulties this autumn.

The funding is being provided on the condition of significant reform within the charity.

The Peter McVerry Trust has given a commitment that improved management and budgetary processes are being put in place. 

The funding, which was secured by Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien on an exceptional basis, will be provided monthly between December and March.

Speaking to reporters today, O’Brien said the first phase of that payment will be made later this week.

He confirmed the first tranche of funding is approximately €4 million. 

“My priority is the service users, is the hundreds of people who are assisted by the Peter McVerry Trust every single day.”

The Minister said the Government has “full oversight” of what is happening at the charity. 

“There’s investigations in place … there will be reorganisation and restructuring,” he said. 

“Those payments are made on behalf of the taxpayer to support the services, so there are conditions attached, which at this stage I can’t go through because I am writing to the Trust today outlining that.” 

When asked if there needs to be any change at board level, McGrath said: “We’re not at that stage yet. We’ve a full review underway and we have external consultants in the Peter McVery Trust at the moment.” 

The Peter McVerry Trust is due to provide a detailed plan for the future by February next year, a Government spokeswoman said earlier this week. 

In August, the charity said it was experiencing cashflow pressures that were “more acute than would traditionally be the case”, even allowing for the summer period.

In October, its chief executive Francis Doherty resigned amid the controversy.

Doherty had been the chief executive of the charity since June 2023, taking over from Pat Doyle, who was at the organisation for almost 19 years.

Inspectors were appointed by the Approved Housing Bodies Regulatory Authority to the Peter McVerry Trust and the charity was engaging with them.

The Department of Housing, which normally does not fund any homeless service directly, provides funding to local authorities towards the operational costs of homeless accommodation and related services.