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Tuesday 23 September 2014

McGuinness 'lobbied to keep colleague's job' – court is told

Published 22/07/2014 | 02:30

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John McGuinness. Photo:  Tom Burke
John McGuinness. Photo: Tom Burke

THE chairman of the Dail's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) lobbied former Rehab boss Angela Kerins in an unsuccessful bid to save the job of a party colleague, a court has heard.

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According to Ms Kerins, Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness intervened twice on behalf of local councillor Pat Fitzpatrick, who was "in the process of losing his employment with Rehab Enterprises Kilkenny".

However, Ms Kerins said she was "unable to assist" and Mr Fitzpatrick lost his job.

The dates of the alleged interventions were not given, but one of the occasions was an annual Fianna Fail dinner.

Ms Kerins claimed her involvement with a coffin business in Kilkenny and the affairs of Rehab Enterprises Kilkenny "became the subject of hostile examination" during her appearance at the PAC last February.

The ex-charity boss also disclosed Mr McGuinness had met her prior to the hearing and warned her some committee members "do not like you".

The claims were made in an affidavit read into the record at the High Court.

Last night Mr McGuinness told the Irish Independent he had made representations to Ms Kerins because he was concerned about job losses.

However, Mr McGuinness said these interventions were "completely unrelated to the work of the PAC" and happened "long before" Rehab was called to give evidence.

The PAC chairman said he would "deal with" Ms Kerins' claims in court.

In her affidavit, Ms Kerins said she met Mr McGuinness at the offices of Rehab's then media consultants at Beacon Court in Dublin.

The meeting took place before Rehab had been officially invited to appear at the committee.

She claims that at the meeting and in a subsequent phone conversation, Mr McGuinness advised her that all she had to do was deal with payments from government agencies to Rehab, explain the workings of the group and declare her salary.

Mr McGuinness confirmed the meeting took place but denied saying some committee members did not like her.

Irish Independent

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