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Saturday 30 August 2014

Angela cashes in, but Rehab won't say how much

Shane Phelan and Daniel McConnell

Published 03/04/2014 | 02:30

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Angela  Kerins. Photo: Tom Burke
Angela Kerins. Photo: Tom Burke

REHAB chief executive Angela Kerins is refusing to reveal the severance package that she will receive following her shock decision to stand down.

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Ms Kerins (55) will now come under intense pressure to provide details of the package to the Dail's Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

A Rehab spokesman refused to reveal details of the exit package, saying he could not divulge the information unless she agreed for it to be published.

Her predecessor as chief executive of the disability charity and commercial group, ex-Fine Gael strategist Frank Flannery, told the Irish Independent he believed she was hounded out of the job.

Ms Kerins has been at the centre of a series of controversies in recent months over salary levels for Rehab executives, the poor performance of its charity lotteries and allegations that are currently being examined by the garda fraud squad.

Her decision to step down came as it was confirmed the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation is "assessing" the contents of a letter by developer John Kelly, who has made allegations about his dealings with people linked to Rehab.

Ms Kerins has threatened to take legal action against him in relation to his claims.

In a letter to staff, Ms Kerins said the controversies had taken their toll on the Rehab Group and her family and that “in the best interests of all concerned” she was retiring early. She also claimed she had had to deal with threats to her personal safety.

Ms Kerins, who, with a salary of €240,000, has been Ireland's best paid charity boss for several years, had been due to remain in place for at least another five years but will officially step down tomorrow.

Pension experts said it was difficult to speculate on what her pension might be as the Rehab defined benefit scheme had been wound up last year and staff had moved to a much less lucrative defined contribution scheme.

PAC chairman John McGuinness said he expected Ms Kerins to answer fully any questions its members had when she appears before it next week.

Rehab said Ms Kerins intended to go to the hearing, despite her decision to retire. But Mr Flannery, who is also facing questions about his pension, has refused to say if he will attend.

Snubbed

In an interview with the Irish Independent, he said he wasn't in a position to indicate whether he would go or not.

Mr Flannery caused controversy when he apparently snubbed the committee by not appearing before it in February. However, he insists he |was not asked directly to attend.

Mr Flannery also said Ms Kerins had done an excellent job during her seven years as Rehab chief executive.

“She has been a dedicated champion of the whole sector since she became involved in it. She will be a loss. The sector can ill afford losing leading people like this,” he said.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Rehab spent almost €700,000 of public money on lobbying and advocacy.

Secretary General of the Department of Justice Brian Purcell detailed that the charity, which received €83m in state funding last year, spent a total of €697,000 in 2011 on matters including “interacting with government agencies and bodies and international organisations”.

In correspondence to PAC he confirms that the monies used came from the Charitable Lotteries Fund paid to Rehab by the Department.

This funding was provided on the basis it be used for charitable activities only, and not for administrative purposes, according to the audit report.

Mr Purcell’s detailed note includes explanations from Rehab given to the Department of Justice. Rehab said the money was spent “supporting the Rehab groups in the areas of advocacy, client engagement, communications, public affairs and marketing”.

Separate correspondence to the committee from the Director General of the HSE Tony O’Brien shows that two Rehab agencies, RehabCare and the National Learning Network, received €55.2m in HSE funding between them in 2013.

Irish Independent

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