St John of God in Malawi loses funding over ‘child abuser’ Catholic’s Irish brother

St John of God in Malawi loses funding over ‘child abuser’ Catholic’s Irish brother

Brother Aidan Clohessy in Dublin recently Photos by Sean Dwyer, 17/09/17

Pius Nyondo- Nyasa Times

Misean Cara, a charity that has supported St John of God order in Malawi with over €2 million (about K1 200 000 000.00), has suspended its finding, citing “allegations of abuse against a former school principal and member of the order”—Brother Aidan Clohessy.

Last week Nyasa Times published a 10-month investigation by Micheal O’Farrel of Ireland’s Mail on Sunday (MoS) and Collins Mtika of the Centre for Investigative Journalism in Malawi (CIJM) that unravelled Brother Clohessy child abuse escapades from the 70s.

The first allegation was made in 1985; and, by 2014 they were further allegations bringing the number of those alleging abuse to 20.

The report by MoS and CIJM further revealed that the director of St John of God in Malawi Charles Masulani claimed knowing nothing of the “multiple counts of child abuse in Ireland” despite maintaining weekly correspondence with Brother Clohessy.

And, now, Misean Cara, which in 2015/2016 spent €300 000 (about MWK 180 000 000) on community mental health outreach run by St John of God brothers in Malawi said it is “extremely concerned” about issues raised involving Brother Aidan Clohessy.

Misean Cara is funded by the Irish government through its overseas development programme Irish Aid.

The Irish Times reported this week that Misean Cara had requested “a number of clarifications” from the order.

According to the paper, Misean Cara said that in entering into funding and contractual arrangements, the St John of God Order (SJOG) had given an “undertaking to Misean Cara that it has in place a safeguarding policy and that this policy is fully implemented in respect of this project.”

In a statement the charity organisation said “as a result, any funding we have provided in respect of this project has now been suspended.”

The statement further said the charity will be carrying out an “audit of compliance” by St John of God with their contractual undertaking to Misean Cara “regarding child safeguarding.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the department which funds Irish Aid, told Irish Times that it is aware of the recent allegations against a member of the order.

  • Further reporting by Elaine Edwards, Irish Times.