Saturday 22 July 2017

Former Rehab boss to appeal PAC case to Supreme Court

Angela Kerins Picture: Collins
Angela Kerins Picture: Collins
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Former Rehab Group chief executive Angela Kerins is seeking to appeal her case against the Dáil Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Papers were lodged with both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court yesterday, the Irish Independent has learned.

Ms Kerins (58) unsuccessfully brought a case seeking damages over comments made by TDs about her during two committee hearings in 2014.

Although a three-judge High Court found the remarks had damaged her personal and professional reputation, it said it could not intervene as the Constitution prevents courts from adjudicating on comments made by the TDs in the Oireachtas.

Although the Court of Appeal would normally be the first port of call for any appeal, Ms Kerins also filed papers with the Supreme Court due to the Constitutional issues raised in her case.

If either court agrees to hear the appeal, it is understood she will argue the High Court ruling may negate the rights of citizens to fair procedures in the Oireachtas, as laid down in court rulings in the Abbeylara case and a case involving Pádraig Haughey, brother of the late former taoiseach Charles Haughey.

Ms Kerins had claimed "bullying, harassment and persecution" led by members of the PAC forced her to attempt suicide and led to the loss of her job.

As well as seeking damages, she sought declarations that the PAC's activities were unlawful and tainted by bias, alleging it pursued a vendetta, or "witch-hunt" against her. Ms Kerins claimed the PAC acted outside its jurisdiction and sought to have references to her be removed from the record.

The High Court found that many things were said which were damaging to her reputation.

The court said it appeared almost every facet of her involvement with Rehab was subjected to criticism.

However, the court found these remarks did not amount to findings of fact against her.

It also ruled that it could not interfere with free speech in parliament, which is protected by Article 15.13 of the Constitution.

Irish Independent

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