STAFF at the Central Remedial Clinic have vented their fury at salary top-ups paid to executives in a series of meetings with the directors.
It is understood that two CRC directors, Hamilton Goulding and Jim Nugent, met with staff throughout yesterday and underwent a barrage of criticism.
Sources say the fundraising department was particularly upset, and have demanded that the CRC engage in an advertising campaign to reassure the public that no funds for its annual Santa Bear appeal were used to top-up executive pay.
Staff at the CRC, who did not want to be named, have told the Irish Independent that the directors said the organisation had agreed with the HSE in 2009 to phase out existing management salaries that breached new, lower pay scales.
Staff were told that top-ups were paid to senior executives, including former chief executive Paul Kiely, for legal reasons because they had pre-existing contracts.
One CRC worker who attended one of the meetings where Mr Goulding and Mr Nugent addressed staff said: "Their (the directors') position is that they had existing contracts that they were obliged to honour.
"It's fair to say that staff are furious." Another staff member described the atmosphere at the meeting she attended as "dreadful".
"The fund-raising department here are very, very upset because they know 100pc that nothing to do with the Santa Bears or Christmas cards went to any manager in here.
"They told the directors that they want them to take out a full-page ad in the papers to make the public aware of that."
Another employee told the Irish Independent that many CRC staff – which includes special needs teachers and physiotherapists – have been subject to the government cuts in the Haddington Road agreement as well as the previous pension levy.
Her colleague said: "A lot of the staff here would actually have disabled family members and that's why they work in this area."
The CRC did not respond directly to questions about the heated meetings, which were sub- mitted through a PR company last night.
A spokesman confirmed that the questions had been passed on to the board of directors.
In a statement it said that the CRC was "contractually obliged" to make up the difference between the Department of Health's permitted pay scales and the salaries they were previously paid.
This was funded through the lottery proceeds received by the Friends of the CRC, not through other fundraising efforts like the Santa Bear Appeal, it said.