Prisoner charity to be wound down


    Seven jobs at a Waterford charity look set to be lost after it was announced that it is to be wound down.

    The U-Casadh Project, which works with ex-prisoners and disadvantaged communities, was hit by allegations of inappropriate practices during a a Workplace Relations Commission hearing in January.

    The charity provides support services for criminals and those at risk of re-offending and their families, and currently works with 25 offenders.

    According to reports in The Irish Examiner, its chairperson wrote to staff to say the board had “come to the decision to make plans to wind down the company”.

    “This was not an easy decision, and the news will come as a shock to many of you,” chairperson Joannah Cooney wrote in the letter, adding that the decision was taken by the board on February 9.

    No decision has been made about what will happen to the programmes provided, which are funded by the Department of Justice and the Department of Social Protection.

    The Ferrybank-based U-Casadh Project was claimed to have accused one of its workers of selling cocaine to some of the charity’s service users. At the WRC hearing, former Garda Michael McGagh said that he was concerned about “inappropriate practices”.

    The 57-year-old Mr McGagh claimed he had been asked to sign someone else’s signature, so that person would be able to access expenses, something McGagh declined to do. Mr McGagh further claimed that his solicitor informed the board that he had been accused of selling cocaine to “two vulnerable service users” in the city but that no investigation of the claims were ever made.

    Mr McGagh eventually took stress leave and sued for an alleged loss of earnings at the WRC, where he said he faced “isolation and harassment” at U-Casadh following his making of a protected disclosure concerning the charity.

    The hearing was to continue this week but was postponed, according to the WRC.


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