Friday 26 December 2014

PAC begins new bid to compel two former Rehab chiefs to appear before it

Shane Phelan, Public Affairs Editor

Published 19/06/2014 | 14:17

Angela Kerins and (inset) Frank Flannery
Angela Kerins and (inset) Frank Flannery
Angela Kerins
Frank Flannery

THE Dail's spending watchdog is to seek talks with a more powerful Oireachtas committee in a bid to resolve the protracted row over its efforts to compel two former Rehab chief executives to appear before it.

The Public Accounts Committee has so far been frustrated in its efforts to compel Angela Kerins and Frank Flannery to give evidence.

It needs permission from the Dail rules body, the Committee on Privilege and Procedures (CPP), before it can legally compel either witness.

However, the signs for the PAC are not encouraging and the CPP is seeking further information before making a decision on the request.

At today's meeting of the PAC, the committee agreed to pursue talks with the CPP in a bid to resolve the matter, rather than seeking external legal advice on the issue.

The suggestion, by Fine Gael TD John Deasy, was adopted by the PAC.

He said it would be preferable if the chairmen and clerks of the two committees could “have a chat” rather than the situation ending up in “some protracted legalistic nightmare”.

Both Ms Kerins and Mr Flannery have complained that the PAC is operating outside its remit.

Ms Kerins also claimed the committee was "biased" against her, while Mr Flannery claims his reputation has been damaged by the actions of the PAC and there was a risk his constitutional rights could be breached.

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