Fears for ICRfm after Pobal probe
THERE are fears for the
future of Inishowen Community Radio following a
financial audit by public funding body, Pobal.
The audit at ICRfm follows allegations of financial
irregularities at the station going back some years.
The matter has also been referred to the gardaí.
ICRfm has been on air for 12 years and employs
between six and eight full and part-time staff.
A source said the allegations do not relate to theft
but rather how grant monies were used within the
not-for-profit company. The source said that, for
example, if a programme came in under budget, the
remaining money may allegedly have been put to other
uses within the station instead of being returned to
Pobal. The figure involved is understood to be under
A new 10-person board was elected to run the company
a year ago as Pobal launched an investigation. Board
chairman, Raymond Doherty, today confirmed that the
new board was in receipt of the completed audit. He
said he was not permitted to divulge its contents
but that it was widely anticipated that Pobal would
withdraw its support. It is now feared the station
may close in three months' time.
ICRfm offices in Carndonagh.
"A delegation of five
of us met the top brass from Pobal in Sligo on July
2. They have highlighted their concerns and
expressed dissatisfaction," said Mr Doherty.
"As far as we can gather, Pobal is going to end its
relationship with Inishowen Community Radio and
without its support the station has not got the
capability to keep going. Pobal pays wages and gives
grants for programming.
"The station is a non-commercial, not-for-profit
company and cannot continue without this support,"
added Mr Doherty.
A spokesperson for Pobal today said the body was
legally precluded from divulging details of an
Meanwhile, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI)
said in a statement: "The BAI has been in discussion
with the broadcaster Inishowen Community Radio in
respect of the investigation and report by Pobal.
"It is currently awaiting correspondences from the
broadcaster arising from this report. BAI does not
have a further comment to make until it receives the
correspondence." The new ICRfm board has appealed to
Pobal to allow it go forward with fresh branding in
a bid to keep jobs and an important local service in