Friday 22 September 2017

Embattled CRC paid €669K a year to Mater Hospital for 'phantom' pension fund

DANIEL McCONNELL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT

The embattled Central Remedial Clinic has paid €669,000 a year to the Mater Hospital to administer a "phantom" pension fund, shocked members of the Public Accounts Committee were told.

Independent TD and PAC member Shane Ross sought answers as to why the CRC was paying between 10 and 13 per cent of the gross salaries of 210 staff members to the Mater Hospital, when there was no one in the fund.

Former CRC CEO Paul Kiely, who was appearing before the committee himself described the arrangment as "ridiculous," that he had sought to end the payment, but no one wanted to listen to him.

Committee members were visibly aghast at the revelation with Mr Ross calling the payments 'crazy'.

"This is bonkers," he said. 

Despite there being no one in the fund, Mr Kiely said he continued to pay the Mater Hospital by cheque on foot on a previous legal advice.

Given the widespread confusion about the payments, which have run "into the millions," PAC members Simon Harris and Eoghan Murphy sought more time to question the CRC bosses. However, chairman John McGuinness said the meeting had been in session for almost six hours and that given the HSE are due back before the committee next week, they will deal with the matter then.

It has also emerged that Mr Kiely resigned from the board of the CRC on or around November 25, while he was abroad on leave. He said he took the decision  to resign on foot on the controversy surrounding the CRC.

Seven members of the PAC called on the entire board of the CRC to resign.

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