independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Ahern associate won't reveal pay as charity CEO

A CHARITY boss who has been paid more than €150,000 for sitting on a state board is refusing to reveal details of his salary at the organisation he has led for more than two decades.

Paul Kiely -- a close friend of disgraced former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern -- has been chief executive of Dublin's Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) for more than 20 years. He was appointed to the board of semi-state transport agency CIE by Mr Ahern's then Transport Minister Mary O'Rourke in 1998.

Mr Kiely remained there throughout the Fianna Fail-led governments of the last decade -- earning fees totalling more than €150,000 -- until newly elected Fine Gael Transport Minister Leo Varadkar restructured the CIE board in 2011.

More than 20 charity bosses revealed details of their remuneration packages in one survey during the summer, with the average pay at just under €120,000.

But despite disclosures by other charity bosses, Mr Kiely -- who previously boasted that the CRC were "skinflints" that "watch every ha'penny" -- refused to say what he was being paid as chief executive.

Asked to disclose his remuneration package and if he had use of a company car, he said: "The salary of the chief executive is a matter reserved, under our corporate governance, for the board of the CRC."

Board chairman Hamilton Goulding also refused to reveal Mr Kiely's salary details.

The CRC provides services for people with physical disabilities and is well known for its annual Santa Bear fundraising drive, which is to begin next month.

The late BBC TV personality Jimmy Savile, who is under investigation for sexually abusing young girls, led fundraising campaigns for the CRC in the 1970s.

Last month the charity released a statement saying that "at no time was Jimmy Savile left unattended with children in the care of the CRC".

The clinic has been funded by the HSE to the tune of almost €30m in the past two years.

Mr Goulding acknowledged that the CRC was "substantially funded by the HSE" but said that it would not be revealing details of Mr Kiely's salary.

He maintained that the clinic is a "private and independent organisation, classified as a voluntary hospital".

He said it was in this context that CRC salaries "are a private matter between the clinic and its staff".

Mr Kiely was a long-standing member of former Taoiseach Mr Ahern's 'Drumcondra Mafia' and canvassed for him from his earliest election campaigns.

In 2008 he was among Mr Ahern's friends who travelled to Washington where the then-Taoiseach was addressing the US Congress shortly before he left office.

Knocked

Mr Ahern noted afterwards that Mr Kiely had "knocked on every door in Dublin Central on my behalf umpteen times".

It was Mr Ahern's first transport minister, Mary O'Rourke, who appointed the CRC boss to the board of CIE in 1998.

Figures provided by CIE show how he was paid almost €150,000 between 2001 and 2011. The amounts Mr Kiely was paid in the three years prior to that were unavailable.

Asked about the fees paid to Mr Kiely by the semi-state agency, a CRC spokeswoman said that he was abroad on a CRC fundraising trip to Burma.

Irish Independent

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