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Sunday 31 August 2014

Gardai asked to probe allegations about Rehab-linked individuals

Shane Phelan, Public Affairs Editor

Published 14/03/2014 | 02:30

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John McGuinness,TD,Chairman of the Dail Public Accounts Committee arriving at Leinster House yesterday.Pic Tom Burke 27/2/14
John McGuinness,TD,Chairman of the Dail Public Accounts Committee

THE Garda Commissioner has been asked by the Dail's spending watchdog to examine allegations about dealings involving people connected to the Rehab Group.

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The allegations are contained in a letter submitted to the Public Accounts Committee by former property developer John Kelly. PAC chairman John McGuinness said: "The statement contains a number of serious allegations against individuals who have or had associations with Rehab Group."

Mr McGuinness said the allegations fell outside the committee's remit and "could involve criminal wrongdoing".

A copy of the letter has been seen by the Irish Independent, but its full contents cannot be revealed for legal reasons. It was forwarded to the committee on Tuesday by Dublin law firm Tom Casey Solicitors, acting on behalf of Mr Kelly – a Wicklow-based businessman.

It contains a number of detailed allegations relating to proposed dealings.

The letter also makes reference to a number of occasions where proposals are alleged to have been discussed.

One of the people referred to in the letter refuted the allegations made when contacted by the Irish Independent.

However, this person declined to comment publicly and said legal advice was being sought.

Mr Kelly had been seeking to give evidence to the committee about certain dealings he had with people connected to Rehab.

However, the committee decided in a closed session yesterday not to call him and referred his concerns to gardai instead.

Mr McGuinness said the document was now no longer considered "a document of the committee" and as a result the information contained in it was not protected by privilege.

The clerk of the committee, Ted McEnery, arranged for a copy of the letter to be sent directly to Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan by courier after the meeting.

Earlier, several PAC members voiced strong criticism of answers provided by Rehab this week to information sought by the committee.

A list of questions was sent to Rehab of outstanding issues the committee wanted to clarify following a marathon seven-hour hearing a fortnight ago.

Mr McGuinness said replies received this week fell short of what had been asked for.

He said there were no details of what was paid to former chief executive Frank Flannery, while details of his pension were also not supplied.

Mr McGuinness also said the salaries disclosed – including details of 12 individuals earning over €100,000 – were out of line with the charity sector and appeared to be above public sector norms.

He was also critical of information supplied in relation to a report by pay consultants Towers Watson, which he said "does not provide a basis for determining salaries".

STALLING

Rehab had said this report was used by its remuneration committee to guide it in setting pay levels, including the €240,000 paid to chief executive Angela Kerins.

Independent TD Shane Ross described written responses to questions provided by Rehab to the committee since that meeting as "totally unsatisfactory".

"The response is a smokescreen. It doesn't delve into what we are looking for," he said.

Mr Ross said specific pay details had been "deliberately withheld" by Rehab.

He said it was "quite shoddy", adding that the committee wanted the correct information and did not want Rehab coming before it again and "stalling for six hours".

The committee resolved to recall Rehab for questioning on April 10 and will request the presence of Ms Kerins, Mr Flannery, Rehab chairman Brian Kerr, the group's remuneration committee and its director of finance.

Neither Mr Flannery nor the remuneration committee appeared when Rehab came before the committee a fortnight ago, despite a PAC request that they do so.

Irish Independent

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