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Friday 22 August 2014

Flannery PR firm paid €220k by Rehab since 2011

Daniel McConnell and John Downing

Published 01/05/2014 | 02:30

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Frank Flannery at Leinster House in 2012. Picture: Tom Burke
Frank Flannery at Leinster House in 2012. Picture: Tom Burke

INSIGHT Communications, Rehab's former PR firm with which Frank Flannery is linked, was paid more than €220,000 in the past three years alone by Rehab for its services, new documents obtained by the Irish Independent reveal.

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The new revelations came as former Rehab bosses Mr Flannery and Angela Kerins told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last night they believed the committee was exceeding its powers under law.

The money given to Insight was part of a total spend of €380,000 given to outside communications firms since 2011, despite the charity having a Director of Communications, Cliodhna O'Neill, who earns €130,000 a year.

Insight Communications have stressed that Frank Flannery has not carried out any work for Rehab through their company.

Documents from Rehab to the Public Accounts Committee also reveal that Slattery Communications were paid €105,520 between 2011 and 2013.

Terry Prone's Communications Clinic received €27,500 while Q4PR got €24,000.

The 50-page dossier from Rehab to PAC also reveals that an internal email trawl now shows that former CEO Ms Kerins received two emails relating to Rehab's controversial importation of coffins from China, through an external company controlled by her husband and her brother.

This appears to contradict her earlier evidence that she absented herself from all matters involving the external firm, Complete Eco Solutions.

The doomed venture ended up costing Rehab almost €100,000.

Both Mr Flannery and Ms Kerins have written to the PAC via their lawyers ahead of today's deadline, when the committee had threatened to invoke powers to compel them to appear before it.

AGENDA

Mr Flannery pointed to reports of legal advice to the PAC last January that they risked exceeding their powers which permits them to examine spending by public bodies under the aegis of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

It is understood that Mr Flannery has once again not refused to appear before the committee.

But he has repeated his challenge to the members to set out a clear agenda and a list of matters they wish to discuss with him.

He has complained that the committee have caused him considerable reputational damage.

Meanwhile, it is understood that Ms Kerins remains too unwell to attend the committee. But she has also taken legal advice.

The correspondence from Mr Flannery and Ms Kerins is expected to be discussed when the committee meets this morning.

Irish Independent

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