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Wednesday 3 September 2014

Former CRC chairman admits board resigned because it feared HSE would shut down the disability service

Eilish O’Regan, Health Correspondent

Published 03/07/2014 | 13:02

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Former CRC chairman Hamilton Goulding
Former CRC chairman Hamilton Goulding

HAMILTON Goulding, former chaiman of the Central Remedical Clinic said its board resigned because they feared the Health Service Executive (HSE) would shut down the disability service by withdrawing funding.

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He said the former board was  “effectively dismissed  by the HSE at a few hours notice.”

At a meeting of the at the HSE headquarters  in December the board was told that ”unless we resigned forthwith, HSE funding would be withdrawn from the clinic.”

He told the Dail Committee on Public Accounts: "The resignations were tendered directly because the Board’s position was untenable, its primary concern being not to allow any impediment to the continued funding by the HSE of the CRC, which would effectively shut down the clinic “

He said: "This subsequently put the legal status of the HSE’s running of the clinic, in the absence of directors, into dubious legal territory. To sort this out they had to request myself and others to facilitate the restoration of new board."

He was appearing before the committee with executives from the HSE and the new board to discuss the findings of the report of the HSE’s John Cregan, who was sent in to run the clinic in the wake of the top ups controversy and revelations of €740,000 retirement package for former chief executive Paul Kiely.

Mr Goulding remarked that he wondered why “we are all here" at the today’s committee in light of the report’s finding that no wrongdoing was found.

Earlier the meeting was told that the new board of the clinic will take months to write to Mr Kiely about the possible repayment of some of his retirement package of more than €740,000.

Kieran Timmins, the recently-installed chairman of the disability service was was commenting after Mr Cregan’s report showed that Mr Kiely’s pension - paid from charty funds - was based on an overstated salary because he was spared public service pay cuts.

Mr Timmins said that while it is the intention of the new board to write to Mr Kiely about the reports findings the “calculations of payments to him are complex and require careful consideration and legal advice prior to any decisions on how to proceed.”

Mr Timmins said the €12m funds, held by its charity arm, the Friends and Supporters of the CRC will be transferred to the Central Remedial Clinic. Mr Cregan’s report pointed out the charity arm was set up to disguise its level of funding in case its grants from the HSE were reduced.

The meeting will also hear that it is implementing a process by which funds can only be drawn down on foot of an agreed and approved business case, signed off by the separate boards of the clinic and the charity arm.Mr Kiely who is ill will was not present for today’s meeting.

Deputy Director General of the HSE Laverne McGuinness said the  HSE was unaware the the level of charity funds in the Friends and Supporter of the CRC which at one time amounted to €18m.

The former chief executive Paul Kiely  was the person charged with the executive responsibiltiy for the adminstration of the CRC, according to Ms McGuinness,

She said she he  would have been familiar with public pay policy and monies paid to him in excess of the properly calculated reduced rate from January  2010 to the date of his exit in June last year.The difference in salary sould be recovered, she added.

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