independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

CRC board member Paul Kiely resigned in wake of top-up controversy

Former CEO received lump sum straight from fundraising arm of CRC, PAC told today

The Central Remedial Clinic: Inset: Paul Kiely, recently retired Chief Executive of the Central Remedial Clinic
The Central Remedial Clinic: Inset: Paul Kiely, recently retired Chief Executive of the Central Remedial Clinic

Former CEO of the Central Remedial Clinic Paul Kiely resigned from the charity’s board last month, the Public Accounts Committee has heard.

Mr Kiely handed in his resignation from the board on November 25, in the week that revelations about top-up payments came to light.

A €200,000 pension lump sum paid to the former CEO was paid out of funds from the fundraising arm of the clinic, it has emerged today.

Paul Kiely, a former CEO and predecessor to Brian Conlan, who stepped down from the role on Monday, told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that he received a pension lump sum pay off worth €200,000 and will get an annual pension of around €98,000 a year, which is indexed linked to up to 5 per cent.

Mr Kiely said he was paid the maximum level permitted by the Revenue Commissioners.

Fine Gael's John Deasy asked from where was the €200,000 lump sum paid from and Mr Nugent said it was paid from the accounts of the Friends and Supporters of the CRC.

Mr Kiely said he will not receive his annual pension for another three years.

"I have qualms about everything to do with this," Mr Kiely said.

The HSE said it had no knowledge of the pension lump sum was coming from the Friends and Supporters fund.

Mr Deasy said the HSE had a duty to police these matters and said if the HSE didnt know about these matters, it should have.

It emerged at the committee that Mr Kiely's pension is in a private pension scheme along with 70 other members of staff at the CRC. Asked why they were not in the public sector pension scheme like the majority of CRC staff, Mr Kiely said a request had gone to the HSE but had been turned down.

On foot of at least six members of the PAC calling on the board to resign, Mr Kiely said had he been asked to take a pay cut, he said he would have considered it. When asked would he consider paying back monies like Mr Conlan has, Mr Kiely said he would take the matter under consideration.

Sinn fein's Mary Lou McDonald was deeply critical of the attitude of the CRC toward the HSE when 80 per cent of its annual turnover is coming from taxpayers' money.

She said enormous damage has been done to the CRC and only a change of board can seek to address that damage.

In relation to media reports that Mr Conlan had paid back €40,000 of his unsanctioned salary, HSE representative Laverne McGuinness said they have not received any detailed correspondence to confirm the details of the reimbursement.

When asked why Mr Conlan resigned, CRC chairman Jim Nugent said the former CEO had found what was happening very intrusive into his private life.

Labour's Ged Nash was deeply critical of the range of salaries being paid to the "well remunerated backsides" of senior managers.

He said the board's position is untenable and said comments of the board to the media have been "ridiculous and arrogant".

It also emerged that Ms Joan Hurley, director of clinical services, who is in day to day charge of the CRC is one of the group had old legacy contracts and as a result is in receipt of a top-up worth €32,000 a year.

Meanwhile, independent.ie has received a statement from a spokesperson for Brian Conlon, clarifying the former CEO's understanding about the funding of his salary.

"Brian Conlan’s understanding regarding the funding of his salary while with the CRC is that it was funded in its entirety with recourse exclusively to monies received from the HSE funding allocation."

"He would not have agreed to being paid monies sourced from charitable public donations."

Mr Conolon's spokesperson said Deputy Kieran O’Donnell stated in the PAC meeting today that Mr Conlan had repaid €40,000 in respect of the salary amount received in excess of the HSE payscales.

"This is erroneous as Mr Conlan was not in receipt of a payment of €40,000 in excess of the HSE guidelines."

"During his five-month tenure, the chief executive’s pay was set in excess of the HSE’s payscales for just three months."

"Mr Conlan was paid net of tax and he has given a cheque payable to the CRC for the purpose of reimbursing the value of the net salary he received in excess of the HSE payscale during the three months while the Board of the CRC and the HSE were in negotiation over the salary level.

Daniel McConnell

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