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Sunday 21 September 2014

Rehab chief stays tight-lipped on pay packet

Donal O'Donovan and Eilish O'Regan

Published 07/01/2014 | 02:30

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Rehab Group chief executive Angela Kerins with Adel Fakeih, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Labour.

REHAB chief Angela Kerins is refusing to disclose how much she is currently paid -- despite calling for more transparency from charity bodies.Charity fund raising including the sale of scratch cards only makes up 1pc of Rehab Group’s €200m a year income

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Ms Kerins, who was on a salary of €234,000 nearly two years ago, is currently on a trade mission in Saudi Arabia with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

She rejected calls to publicly divulge her pay and perks despite the disability organisation getting around €36m in state funding.

"Rehab is fully compliant in what it declares. I don't want to say now what my salary is today," she said.

"We don't do top-ups," she added, but she defended providing a certain level of pay to charity employees.

"I think it is important we don't lose track of the fact you have to attract people in. We want to get the best people into the organisation, and we shouldn't be afraid to say that."

Rehab is not categorised as a 'section 38' agency in line with the other hospitals and disability groups, which are at the centre of the salary top-ups controversy.

She insisted that unlike other charities, the Rehab Group generates more than 60pc of its income from the commercial sector, with 40pc coming from not-for-profit activities.

Despite being silent on her own remuneration, she insisted that charities needed to be more upfront and transparent about their financial dealings.

"Fundamentally the people want to see fair and appropriate remuneration. And the best way to achieve this is by independent professional evaluation of the role based on the size and the responsibility on the organisation.

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"And there are many experts out there, like Hayes and Towers Watson, and they do this professionally, and I believe the public would want this done," she said.

Ms Kerins, who was quizzed by journalists during the Saudi visit, said charity fundraising including the sale of scratch cards only makes up 1pc of Rehab Group’s €200m a year income

This money raised from fundraising activities goes on "support services in centres, not management".

The Irish Independent reported in 2012 that Rehab wrote to the Health Minister James Reilly, saying that the remuneration of its staff was "not a matter" in which Dr Reilly had a role.

Rehab yesterday announced that it had signed an agreement with the Human Resources Development Fund in Saudi Arabia to help in the development of pre-employment programmes for people with a disability.

Mr Kenny welcomed the announcement, saying it demonstrated the ability to have joint initiatives.

Irish Independent

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