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Thursday 18 September 2014

Ex-board members of CRC to avoid latest hearing

Published 02/07/2014 | 02:30

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Brian Conlan: will be absent from this week’s PAC hearing
Brian Conlan: will be absent from this week’s PAC hearing

ONLY one of the four former board members of the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) invited to attend this week's hearing of the Dail's spending watchdog has confirmed he will be attending.

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The former chairman at the controversy-hit disability clinic, Hamilton Goulding, has confirmed he will answer questions at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

However, three other ex-board members who were invited are not expected to attend. These include Jim Nugent and David Martin, who have been abroad.

Former CRC chief executive Brian Conlan is also expected to be absent from tomorrow's hearing, where members will be examining the findings of a damning report by the interim administrator of the disability organisation.

He has expressed concerns about being called as a witness.

Last year, the former board resigned en-masse over the wage top-up controversy, which involved public donations being used to increase the salaries of staff. The report, by interim administrator John Cregan, found the only rationale for the establishment of a separate fundraising company, Friends and Supporters of the CRC Ltd, was to maximise HSE funding.

Mr Conlan previously gave evidence to the PAC in January, a hearing at which a number of committee members expressed disbelief at some of his answers.

These included the former chief executive's assertion he was unaware of the €700,000 retirement package given to his predecessor, Paul Kiely.

Mr Conlan had asked for a number of assurances from the committee before deciding whether or not to appear. But it is unlikely he will be responded to by the PAC before Thursday's hearing. Mr Kiely is not being requested to attend as he is ill.

Irish Independent

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