Noonan supports PAC enquiry into "shocking" CRC fund management
Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan has said the controversy over the financial management of the Central Remedial Clinic has unveiled "an astounding set of circumstances" which are "absolutely shocking".
However, in an interview on The Business on RTÉ Radio One this morning, Mr Noonan maintained that the Public Accounts Committee should be allowed to continue its investigation to the CRC before An Garda Síochána get involved.
“I don’t think it would be appropriate that the PAC inquiry was inhibited in any way by an early intervention of the gardaí,” he said.
“When PAC has completed its work and arrived at conclusions, then the other relevant agencies could get involved.”
His comments come after the latest CRC revelation that former CEO Paul Kiely was given a €740,000 payoff as a way of speeding up his exit from the organisation as his pay package was too large.
Asked if Mr Kiely should return the substantial retirement fund, Mr Noonan replied: “On the face of it, it should, yes.”
Mr Noonan said the Dáil Committee of Public Accounts should be allowed to process all the information after examining the relevant witnesses. He said he hoped former CRC chairman Hamilton Goulding would appear before the committee.
Mr Goulding told The Irish Daily Mail today that the approval of a pension package of more than €740,000 for former CEO Paul Kiely actually saved the clinic money in the long term.
He acknowledged the understandable anger of the public and CRC families in the wake of the Clinic's controversy.
"I totally understand how people feel and I totally agree with what most of them think,' he said.
"It is awful, when there are needy people in the clinic, that huge sums have to be spent in this fashion. I hate the situation - I would far rather this money was spent somewhere else. But it's just not that simple."
Mr Goulding said that after Mr Kiely became chairman in 2010, he tried repeatedly to cut his €240,000-a-year salary, but was told he could not. By giving Mr Kiely an early retirement package and hiring a successor on a far lower salary, Mr Goulding said that he actually saved the CRC more than €1m.
"The day we finalised Paul Kiely's package I was so delighted because I felt we had saved the CRC more than €1.4m in the long term and that was my intention all along," he told the Irish Daily Mail.
Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald told Claire Byrne on RTE Radio 1 this afternoon that she hopes that all of those involved in the CRC scandal were listening to Maria Nolan when she was speaking about her son Oisin.
“I really hope that those involved in this unmitigated mess and scandal were listening to that woman,” she said.
She called on the CRC “to answer the questions and give the full facts, the full unvarnished truth” as she said that “we have gotten information piecemeal so far.”
“They were breaking the rules, they knew they were breaking the rules. The just and right thing is that all the money will be returned.”