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Wednesday 3 September 2014

Nine bosses at Rehab's subsidiary earned total of €900,000

Shane Phelan Public Affairs Editor

Published 15/03/2014 | 02:30

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Rehab boss Angela Kerins Photo: Collins
Rehab boss Angela Kerins Photo: Collins

NINE senior managers in a Rehab Group subsidiary earned €903,000 between them last year, the Irish Independent has learnt.

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Figures supplied by state training authority Solas indicate the size of the pay packages on offer for certain managerial positions at the National Learning Network.

Solas told the Dail's spending watchdog it funded 64pc, or €595,427, of the salaries of the senior managers.

However, it said it was not able to legally tell the Public Accounts Committee what individual managers were paid.

The information had been sought by the PAC as part of its investigations into pay levels and other issues at the Rehab Group, subsidiaries of which received €83m in state funding last year.

Solas chief executive Paul O'Toole told the committee in a letter that he could not provide further detail on the salaries.

"In providing the information, National Learning Network indicated that the information was commercially sensitive, private and confidential and that no outside disclosure or publication was permitted," he wrote.

"The format in which the information was supplied to Solas, I believe, comprises personal data as defined in the Data Protection Acts. Regrettably, therefore, I consider that I am unable to provide you with the information in the precise format supplied to us by the National Learning Network."

PAC chairman John McGuinness said the latest figures provided further justification for the committee's investigation.

"This is an indication that there is significant other government monies going in to support the salaries in various entities in the Rehab Group," he said.

"It reinforces the need to examine this and get to the bottom of this as soon as possible, because there is a lot more public money going in than what we had initially thought."

The National Learning Network provides training courses and support services for students who need specialist support, including people with an illness or disability.

It offers FETAC, ECDL and City & Guilds qualifications.

Solas, which took over from the now defunct FAS as the state training authority, said just over €18.1m in trainee allowances were paid to students last year.

Total allowances amounting to almost €97m had been paid to trainees since 2009, it said.

None of this funding amounted to income for the National Learning Network, but it was routed to the trainees through the company.

The HSE previously revealed that 10 senior managers at a Rehab Group company it funds, RehabCare, shared €908,500 between them last year.

In the past week Rehab, following requests from the committee revealed the pay bands of 77 senior managers in the group.

Apart from Rehab Group chief executive Angela Kerins, who earned €240,000 last year, 11 other executives in the group earned above €100,000 each.

Eight of these are on the executive management team, with each earning between €130,000 and €179,000.

The latest pay revelations came as the PAC issued fresh demands for more information on pay within the group, which it has called for further questioning on April 10.

The committee expressed unhappiness at the level of detail supplied to date, with one member, Independent TD Shane Ross, describing it as "totally unsatisfactory" and "a smokescreen".

It is also seeking details of the salary and pension entitlements of former chief executive Frank Flannery, which Rehab has refused to supply to date.

In a statement, Rehab said it would respond to the PAC promptly to any further requests for additional information or appearances before the committee.

Irish Independent

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