Gretta O'Shea, Unity Gospel Choir director
THE DIRECTOR of a Limerick-based gospel choir has denied that there has been "any misappropriation of funds" after a controversy in which festival organisers in the Czech Republic claimed they were not paid full fees owed to them by the choir.
Gretta O’Shea, choirmaster of Unity Gospel Choir Limerick, has apologised for the “misunderstanding”, saying that the Prague Advent Choral Meeting has now received the attendance fee in full.
Organisers of the choral event had been publicly pursuing the choir on social media for the balance of the funds - a route which they say they were compelled to follow upon failing to make contact with Ms O’Shea.
Addressing the allegations, Ms O’Shea said that she paid an accommodation deposit of €1,602, with the rest payable the week the choir arrived for the choral meeting last December.
She said that she had attempted to pay the remaining half via an online transfer but “did not send the transfer properly or hit the wrong button”.
Ms O’Shea said she made attempts to pay with cash or her own card before leaving Prague, but that it was not accepted.
Speaking to the Limerick Leader, Ms O'Shea explained that she started to get emails from the organiser to pay up, but she “mistakenly put it on the long finger”.
The choir director admitted that there were heated email exchanges between herself and the Prague-based organiser, and that she said “lots of things I should not have”.
She said that she paid the remaining €1,602 this Monday.
“My choir are an amazing bunch and I know that I made a mistake. This was all my fault and my choir and all the wonderful people in my choir have suffered because of me," she said.
“I made a mistake, I let them down and I am truly heartbroken. I am so sorry to have caused my lovely husband and children, my friends and my beautiful choir family any distress at all. It was not my intention and I apologise from the bottom of my heart,” she said.
The director denied misappropriating funds after allegations circulated on social media.
“There are people claiming that I have misappropriated funds from the choir and would have you believe terrible things about me. These are people who have wanted to discredit me for years, saying I used money inappropriately. We had two fundraisers before we went to Prague and any monies raised went into the trip. I have receipts for every penny which has ever been spent in the five years we are in existence,” she said.
“I would like to ask that people who support us to believe me when I say, there is no misappropriation of funds. And to the great people of Limerick who gave us sponsorships and who have supported us from the start, nothing underhanded was done by me or anyone else,” she added.