Friday 20 October 2017

Ex-Rehab bosses could be forced into PAC appearance

Angela Kerins and (inset) Frank Flannery
Angela Kerins and (inset) Frank Flannery

Daniel McConnell Political Correspondent

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has formally submitted its request to legally force former Rehab bosses Frank Flannery and Angela Kerins to appear before it.

Mr Flannery and Ms Kerins recently refused to accede to the committee's request to come before it to account for their role in the management of Rehab, which received more than €95m last year from the taxpayer.

Both Mr Flannery and Ms Kerins recently resigned from their roles with the charity on foot of the raging controversy.

The committee is also investigating the controversial €6m annual payments to Rehab by the State through a compensation charitable lottery fund.

The committee is keen to establish whether public funds ended up being used to pay salaries at the Rehab Group.

The PAC needs permission from the Dail's oversight Committee on Privilege and Procedure (CPP), which will now decide either to approve or reject the request.

At yesterday's meeting, PAC chairman John McGuinness proposed to members to send the application and members agreed.

However, as the move to seek powers to compel individuals is an unprecedented step, there is no guarantee that it will be granted. The CPP is expected to consider the matter next week.

In its application, the members of PAC argue that "significant information gaps" remain and as a result they need to compel key witnesses in order to effectively report to Dail Eireann.

The application, seen by the Irish Independent, says that the absence of key individuals at the top of Rehab has significantly obstructed the committee from completing its investigations.

"The PAC cannot effectively report to Dail Eireann on its examination without being in a position to direct the attendance of relevant witnesses together with and the production of relevant evidence, as set out in section 83 of the 2013 Act," the report adds.

Irish Independent

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