Kenny and Reilly meet with staff at under-fire clinic
TAOISEACH Enda Kenny and Health Minister James Reilly paid a private visit to the beleaguered Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) as the gold-plated pensions controversy deepened.
The visit came as a senior member of staff at the clinic expressed outrage about the use of public charity funds.
CRC teachers said they were "devastated" as it emerged public donations were used in a €742,000 retirement package for former chief executive Paul Kiely. Deputy principal Mary Saunders said: "Our children now feel ashamed of the CRC."
Ms Saunders added: "The way the board of directors managed it immediately made me really, really unhappy because they lied at every single step of the process.
"When things did start coming out they lied and they lied again and then they twisted this bit and they turned that bit.
"It just seemed there was no truth in it. After that I didn't believe anything they told me.
"That is totally and utterly unacceptable to me, and there are families feeling that shame.
"These are the families that went out and sold the bears and did coffee mornings.
"These people are embarrassed and mortified and I feel that because this service is here for them and for their children.
"And they're the ones suffering."
Mr Kenny and Mr Reilly arrived at the clinic around 3.30pm yesterday and spent more than an hour meeting service users, management and staff there.
They were shown around the clinic by Joan Hurley, the operations manager who took over the day-to-day running of the clinic last December.
When asked why they had paid the visit to the clinic as they left, Mr Kenny said it had been "strictly a private visit" and made no further comment.
There are more than 300 staff employed at the CRC facility.
It is unclear what was discussed with staff, but teachers at the CRC school in Clontarf, Dublin, told of their outrage and devastation and said they feared for the future of the organisation.
The school, which caters for some 100 children aged three to 18 years with physical and intellectual disabilities, is run by the Department of Education but also receives funding from other sources including the HSE and public donations.
CRC employee Kieran O'Callaghan said the school had faced cuts which had hampered children's learning and said it was unfair that others received increased payments and pensions.
"We understood this was the economy and it was a tough time.
"But we didn't realise the other people weren't getting any cuts.
"They were living in a little parallel universe where everything was grand.
"That was really galling and it has hit people like service users and the students."