Re-es­tab­lish­ing St Oliver’s Con­fer­ence is the only so­lu­tion

Drogheda Independent - - OPINION -

Dear Sir,

In re­sponse to the ar­ti­cle car­ried in the Drogheda In­de­pen­dent on the 30th of Oc­to­ber 2018, I, on be­half of a number of the mem­bers of St Oliver’s Con­fer­ence, which has been dis­banded, would like to place the fol­low­ing on record.

We re­ject the So­ci­ety’s rea­son­ing for the dis­band­ment of the Con­fer­ence, as it con­flicts with the So­ci­ety’s de­ci­sion to in­crease the catch­ment area of St Oliver’s prior to its ces­sa­tion of ac­tiv­ity; it also fails to ad­dress the rep­u­ta­tional dam­age suf­fered by its mem­bers over the last 18 months which con­flicts with the So­ci­ety’s stated ethos.

The So­ci­ety also stated that it is “nor­mal prac­tice” to stand down a Con­fer­ence for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion which is con­trary to its own in­ves­tiga­tive pro­ce­dure which states that in­no­cence is pre­sumed.

We would like to un­der­line that a number of al­le­ga­tions were made and the So­ci­ety has con­firmed that noth­ing was found to sub­stan­ti­ate them.

We feel that hav­ing been ac­cepted into the So­ci­ety in ver­i­fi­ably good char­ac­ter fol­low­ing Garda vet­ting checks that our char­ac­ters have suf­fered stigma­ti­za­tion only repara­ble through the re-es­tab­lish­ment of the Con­fer­ence which we feel would be the only ad­e­quate sup­port and vin­di­ca­tion from the So­ci­ety.

We also feel that the needs of the Clients in our area are best served by mem­bers who have es­tab­lished a trust and his­tory of sup­port with them; this in no way di­min­ishes the work of those who have sup­ported them in the last 18 months.

The con­fer­ence has sought the as­sis­tance of the Char­ity Reg­u­la­tor to re­view the number of in­ves­ti­ga­tions which have taken place over the last 18 months as we no longer have con­fi­dence in the So­ci­ety’s abil­ity to do this.

We feel it is also sym­bol­i­cally re­gret­table that the Con­fer­ence named af­ter a Saint so syn­ony­mous with Drogheda be dis­banded.

We feel that it is im­per­a­tive that the So­ci­ety stand up and be counted given that one of the fun­da­men­tal aims of the or­ga­ni­za­tion is as a cham­pion of so­cial jus­tice. As in ev­ery pre­vi­ous com­mu­ni­ca­tion we want to re-it­er­ate that we wish no harm to come to the char­ity as a whole as it car­ries out a vi­tal self­less role in our so­ci­ety and we feel that it is to the long term ben­e­fit of the char­ity to com­pre­hen­sively ad­dress the is­sues that have arisen. Signed Noel Feeney, Pres­i­dent, St Oliv­ers Con­fer­ence (dis­banded).

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