Charity clarifies fundraising phone draw after Monaghan woman raises concerns about scam

The charity Fighting Blindness says it’s concerned to hear people were left “alarmed and distressed” by a phone call associated with it.

Independent Councillor Paudge Connolly says he was contacted by a woman who said she had agreed to give €100 to the charity after he rang to fundraise for it.

However it subsequently emerged that he hadn’t been fundraising, which prompted fears of a phone scam.

Fighting Blindness says it runs a monthly ‘Private Members Draw’ for those who support the charity, with it working with a direct marketing company to run the competition.

They call members of the public who are listed as available to contact for marketing and public purposes and those who enter the competition receive a form in the post.

The charity has apologised for the confusion after the lady from Monaghan, who’s asked to remain anonymous, believed she had been contacted by local Councillor Paudge Connolly asking people to sign up.

She became concerned after she sent a cheque for €100 to an address in Dublin but received no confirmation she had been entered into the draw. After her interview was broadcast on Northern Sound this week, we were contacted by others who said they believed the calls were part of a scam.

However, Fighting Blindness has clarified that the draw is legitimate and has urged anyone with concerns to contact it on 01-6789004. A Spokesperson told Northern Sound News that it will refund any money to people who donated in the belief it was associated with Councillor Connolly.

They say they’ve spoke to the man responsible for the calls, John Connolly, and made him aware of the confusion. Speaking to Northern Sound News yesterday, Mr Connolly apologised for the confusion and again clarified that the calls and draw are legitimate.

Statement from Fighting Blindness

We were very concerned to hear a member of the public and a local Councillor, Paudge Connolly, were left distressed and alarmed by a phone call associated with our charity, Fighting Blindness.

We have contacted both of them to apologise for the confusion and to reassure them. 

Our representative, who made the phone call, is named John Connolly. We have made him aware of the confusion and he has assured us that he will be more careful in future to pronounce his name clearly.

We operate a monthly ‘Private Members Draw’ for people wishing to support our organisation. We work with a direct marketing company to enable us to run this competition. They call members of the public who are listed as available to contact for marketing and public purposes in the national phone directory. They explain about the work of Fighting Blindness and the monthly draw. People can enter the competition if they wish and receive an entry form in the post. 

If any member of the public is concerned about a phone call they received on our behalf, please do not hesitate to call us on 01 6789 004. If you did donate money on the belief it was associated with Councillor Connolly, we are happy to offer a full refund.