Board mem­bers voted out at ther­a­pists’ group af­ter ques­tions over spend­ing

Oust­ings come af­ter rev­e­la­tion IACP spent ¤53,000 on com­mit­tees in first half of year

The Irish Times - - Home News - PATSY McGARRY

None of the serv­ing di­rec­tors of the Ir­ish As­so­ci­a­tion for Coun­selling and Psy­chother­apy (IACP) who stood for elec­tion at its re­cent gen­eral meet­ing were suc­cess­ful in hold­ing on to their po­si­tions.

The oust­ings come in re­sponse to con­cerns by mem­bers of the as­so­ca­tion about the level of spend­ing on hold­ing com­mit­tee meet­ings and at­tend­ing con­fer­ences in­clud­ing sev­eral abroad.

All nine peo­ple who op­posed the di­rec­tors at the Oc­to­ber 21st meet­ing in Kilkenny were elected, in­clud­ing for­mer IACP chair­men Damian Davy, Ray Henry, and Sea­mus Sheedy and for­mer chair­woman Ber­nadette Darcy.

IACP chair­man Eu­gene McHugh and deputy chair­woman Sheila Hask­ins re­main in place hav­ing been elected for a two-year term last April.

A mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in the IACP board that was due to be dis­cussed at the meet­ing was with­drawn to avoid bad pub­lic­ity, The Ir­ish Times un­der­stands. It is un­der­stood the meet­ing lasted for seven hours.

The largest coun­selling and psy­chother­apy as­so­ci­a­tion in Ire­land, IACP was set up in 1981 and is a regis­tered char­ity with some 4,200 mem­bers in the State.

The no-con­fi­dence mo­tion arose from claims of a lack of fi­nan­cial trans­parency at the as­so­ci­a­tion and was sup­ported by three of its for­mer chairs.

A Face­book post on a “Ther­a­pists for Change” page, signed by for­mer IACP chair­men Mr Henry and Gill­ford D’Souza and for­mer chair­woman Ms Darcy, strongly crit­i­cised the way the as­so­ci­a­tion con­ducted its af­fairs. The post has since been re­moved.

The Kilkenny gen­eral meet­ing was told that spend­ing on IACP com­mit­tees last year was ¤73,000 and ¤53,000 in the first six months of this year, The Ir­ish Times has learned. The fig­ures in­clude mileage, food al­lowances, and hire of ho­tel rooms. To­tal com­mit­tee ex­penses in 2015 were ¤35,000.

Mileage rate

The meet­ing was told that early last year it was de­cided to bring mileage for vol­un­teers into line with the mid­dle band of civil ser­vice rates which, ef­fec­tively, dou­bled the mileage rate for all vol­un­teer com­mit­tee mem­bers.

It was told that a board meet­ing was held at Cas­tle Les­lie in Co Mon­aghan on March 30th last at a cost of ¤1,500, which in­cluded room hire, bed and break­fast (at ¤130 per per­son), teas/cof­fees and din­ner.

A two-day meet­ing at the Bal­ly­mas­can­lon House Ho­tel on Au­gust 11th last cost ¤1,600.

The IACP was rep­re­sented by its chief ex­ec­u­tive and a board mem­ber at the Euro­pean As­so­ci­a­tion for Coun­selling an­nual meet­ing in Athens last April at a cost of ¤1,000; at­ten­dance by its chair­man, vice-chair­woman, and chief ex­ec­u­tive at the Amer­i­can Coun­selling As­so­ci­a­tion (ACA) con­fer­ence in San Fran­cisco last March cost ¤6,900. This lat­ter trip in­cluded flights and ac­com­mo­da­tion for the seven-day meet­ing. One board mem­ber and a com­mit­tee mem­ber at­tended an ACA con­fer­ence in Wash­ing­ton last May at a cost of ¤2,000 for flights and ac­com­mo­da­tion. IACP at­ten­dance at an ACA con­fer­ence in Mon­treal, Canada, in Fe­bru­ary 2016 cost ¤3,500.

‘‘ At­ten­dance by its chair, vice chair, and chief ex­ec­u­tive at the Amer­i­can Coun­selling As­so­ci­a­tion con­fer­ence in San Fran­cisco last March cost ¤6,900

Work in Aus­tralia

There were two other IACP busi­ness trips in 2017, one to ne­go­ti­ate an Eras­mus ini­tia­tive with the Univer­sity of Malta and another with the Aus­tralian Coun­selling As­so­ci­a­tion chief exc­u­tive in Bologna, Italy, to sign a full rec­i­proc­ity agree­ment for IACP mem­bers to work in Aus­tralia.

The Kilkenny meet­ing was told the IACP yearly bud­get for for­eign travel and con­fer­ences is ¤25,000, which is four per cent of to­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion spend­ing and that the ¤23,000 spent in 2017 was within bud­get.

The IACP an­nual re­port for 2016 showed it had ¤1.4 mil­lion in as­sets, and li­a­bil­i­ties of ¤180,516.

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