SVP for­gives races stu­dent’s web post

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - NEWS - By SI­MON BROUDER

THE Kerry branch of St Vin­cent de Paul has adopted a com­pas­sion­ate and mag­nan­i­mous at­ti­tude to­wards a stu­dent whose on­line boast about us­ing money from the char­ity to fund a trip to the Lis­towel Races prompted a se­vere on­line back­lash.

This week it emerged that SVP can­celled a cheque that it had is­sued to a Kerry stu­dent af­ter the young man posted a photo of the cheque along with a cap­tion stat­ing ‘that’s me sorted for the Lis­towel races’ on so­cial me­dia.

A spe­cially con­vened SVP ed­u­ca­tion com­mit­tee had granted the money – un­der­stood to be a few hun­dred Eu­ros – to the stu­dent so he could pay his col­lege ad­mis­sion fees.

While such grants are typ­i­cally paid di­rectly to the ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tion, in this case the emer­gency grant was given di­rectly to the stu­dent as he had told the com­mit­tee that he would lose his col­lege place if he couldn’t come up with the cash to pay the fees im­me­di­ately.

A post was sub­se­quently made on the man’s Instagram page show­ing him pos­ing with a pint and the cheque along with a com­ment about us­ing the cheque to fund a trip to the race­track.

The post prompted ou­trage on­line with sev­eral people con­tact­ing SVP and lo­cal me­dia out­lets to ex­press their dis­gust.

SVP acted quickly and within half-an-hour of re­ceiv­ing the com­plaints they made con­tact with the young man and can­celled the cheque.

The stu­dent – who it is un­der­stood never even attended the race meet­ing – has since apol­o­gised un­re­servedly to the char­ity for his ac­tions.

Though the cheque was can­celled, SVP will con­tinue to as­sist the young man and he has still man­aged to se­cure his col­lege place.

SVP South West Re­gional Pres­i­dent Christy Lynch said that the in­ci­dent stemmed from a mo­ment of heed­less ‘bravado’.

“He’s a young fel­low and it was bravado. He did it with­out think­ing and he’s very sorry about what has hap­pened,” said Mr Lynch.

“We all make mis­takes. He’s learned his les­son and I’m sure he won’t do it again,” he said.

“He had a rush of blood to the head and was boast­ing. It was very silly mistake but it has been sorted out and, at the end of the day, no­body died,” said Mr Lynch.

Mr Lynch said that the young man and his fam­ily are very up­set about what has hap­pened and had im­me­di­ately apol­o­gised to the char­ity.

Mr Lynch has also apol­o­gised on be­half of SVP for any up­set the is­sue had caused to the pub­lic and to sup­port­ers of the char­ity.

How­ever, he said he still stands over the con­fer­ence com­mit­tee’s de­ci­sion, which, he said, was made in good faith.

“We have a sys­tem where we have an ed­u­ca­tional com­mit­tee who de­cides who gets what and how much they get. The con­fer­ence, at the time, made the de­ci­sion that they made and gave him what he was look­ing for,” he said.

“The good in­ten­tions were there by the con­fer­ence, I stand be­hind them in that.”

Mr Lynch said that it was the first time he had seen such a cheque is­sued and that steps will be taken to en­sure there is no re­peat of the in­ci­dent.

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