Tuesday 21 October 2014

PAC told €120m of Rehab funds not used efficiently

Daniel McConnell Political Correspondent

Published 13/02/2014 | 02:30

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, T.D., with Angela Kerins, Chief Executive, Rehab Group before the annoucement that Rehab Group plans to recruit 750 staff in its operations over the next three years, with over 400 of those to be based in Ireland. Pic credit; Damien Eagers 16/5/2012
Angela Kerins, chief executive of Rehab Group

PUBLIC funding totalling €120m awarded to embattled charity Rehab "has not been put to efficient use", new briefing documents for the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) suggest.

In total, six significant issues of concern surrounding Rehab and the €83m state funding it receives have been identified in the documents.

The committee will also demand clarification as to whether "Rehab was able to cover its high admin costs by setting them against the scratch cards, and this had enabled them to pay high executive salaries" including its chief executive, Angela Kerins.

The document, seen by the Irish Independent, was circulated to committee members yesterday and will be discussed at this morning's meeting.

"How did a situation arise where the operating costs associated with scratch cards were so high?" the documents state, in reference to how a profit of just €10,000 was made off revenues of €4m.

The document says that the Rehab Lottery controversy is a "damning indictment of the Department of Finance", which failed to perform a formal review of the scheme for almost 15 years since the scheme began.

The document said the committee will have to decide if it accepts Rehab's contention that the state money it received was compensation for not being able to increase its prize jackpots, as it had sought.

"There is a dispute between Rehab and the State in relation to the use of funding. Rehab is clearly saying it was a compensation scheme whereas the department is saying that it was more akin to a grant, which should have deliverables," the document states.

A spokesman for Rehab said it has yet to receive a request from PAC. "We would welcome such an opportunity as to date we have been dealing with information second and third-hand," the spokesman said.

Irish Independent

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