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Friday 19 September 2014

CRC told to repay money not deducted from salaries

Published 21/06/2014 | 02:30

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The HSE confirmed yesterday that it has cut its funding to the CRC this year to €13.5m from €16.1m in 2013 and 2012
The HSE confirmed yesterday that it has cut its funding to the CRC this year to €13.5m from €16.1m in 2013 and 2012

THE Central Remedial Clinic (CRC), which has suffered a €2.6m HSE funding cut, is expected to have to repay the money which should have been deducted from the public service salaries of its senior executive staff.

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The report of the HSE administrator John Cregan, who was sent in to temporarily run the disability service in the wake of the top-ups scandal, revealed that the CRC board had a special payroll for senior executives, including its former chief executive Paul Kiely, which spared them from public service pay cuts.

However, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health said yesterday that "a Section 38 organisation is not entitled to pay remuneration above a rate which is reduced" as part of public pay policy.

There is an "an obligation, where payment above the reduced rate is made, to recover the amount overpaid from the employee either directly or by deduction from any remuneration subsequently payable or otherwise."

She pointed out these obligations and stated it was "the responsibility of the (CRC) board . . . to ensure recovery of overpayments as overpayments came from their funds".

Mr Cregan's report revealed that a number of CRC executives who were on state salaries also received top-ups from its charity arm, the Friends and Supporters of the Central Remedial Clinic. The CRC's long-time chief executive Paul Kiely received an early retirement package of €740,000 paid from charity funds last year.

The salary of €223,849 at the time was overstated because it did not include public service pay cuts and was €49,745 higher than it should have been.

Mr Cregan said the legal advice was that the CRC cannot revisit the pension calculations already in place.

Health Minister James Reilly has called for any outstanding money to be repaid.

The CRC's new board will meet shortly to discuss the report's findings.

A CRC spokeswoman said yesterday that the new board and the new chief executive were committed fully to addressing the legacy issues contained in the report.

The HSE confirmed yesterday that it had cut its funding to the CRC this year to €13.5m from €16.1m in 2013 and 2012.

A HSE spokeswoman said the role of the interim administrator was to identify any legacy issues requiring attention related to salary rates and compliance with public pay policy, pension schemes and pension payments, related undertakings (including CRC Medical Devices), and an assessment of any future financial impact of contractual obligations.

Irish Independent

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