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Monday, 28 July 2008

Oi! Where's our dosh?

Parishioners in the Liverpool area are asking where the hundreds of thousands of pounds they've donated to the Catholic Church for repairs to a building has disappeared to.

According to Liverpool's Daily Post, a pressure group called SOUL (Save Our Unique Landmark) was set up to save "the renowned SS Peter and Paul’s church in Wirral", but it has now "called for an investigation into church leaders by the Charity Commission. The campaigners say they have donated hundreds of thousands of pounds through Gift Aid – which allows the church to reclaim tax on the money – but that money has not been spent as they believed it would be, such as on routine maintenance."

Catholic authorities are refusing to say where the money has gone, saying there's nothing to add to the bishop's announcement that the church will be closed, but the Charity Commission has said it will investigate.

SOUL says the building has been left without key repairs being carried out for at least ten years, as Catholic authorities prepared to find a way to close it.

SOUL's chairman Frank McGowan has written to the Charity Commission, saying, “We the parishioners accept that the Trustees may decide to change their policy in regard to the maintenance and repair of a building that is under their care in the trust.

“However, we do not accept that, when such a decision impinges on the interests of our parishioners, the Trustees have a right to keep such a decision secret.”

If any decency is to be shown at all, the church should either be preserved with the money, as an interesting building, or the money should be given back. When you give under the impression that your dosh is going to pay for A, you don't want to find suddenly that it's going to pay for B.

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