Irish Rape Charity in Funding Battle

Department of health chiefs have withheld thousands of pounds worth of funding from a sexual abuse charity it was claimed last night. Rape Crisis Centre (RCC) boss Eileen Calder says the Department of health is holding back one-third of last year’s funding which amounts to £20,000. The sexual abuse councillor also says she and a colleague haven’t been paid since the middle of July because department chiefs have failed to deposit vital funds in the RCC bank account.

In June this year workers at the RCC were stunned when health bosses revealed plans to axe the group’s annual funding. Now the group says that department chiefs told BBC Radio Ulster this week that their budget has been cut because of a failure to apply for funding.

RCC Director Eileen Calder said: “People maybe don’t believe that government departments are capable of lies and deceit, but they are. We will bring this to a judicial review if we have to.

“We have three years of evidence that they have bullied and harassed us with these constant audits. We have also asked for a change in the personnel dealing with us as the relationship has broken down.

“The money we get is used to pay wages, voluntary expenses electricity and phone bills. I haven’t been paid since the middle of July.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: “A grant application for 2006/07 would not have been issued until the important matters relating to the failure to submit completed monitoring returns covering the grant funding for 2005/06 and the wider compliance and accountability issues which had been raised, were resolved.”