Irish News

Thursday 31 July 2014

Revealed: how senior CRC staff circled the globe

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

Published 18/01/2014|02:30

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Westin hotel in Vancouver, Canada -- venue for a March conferenceSimon Hall made a presentation at the four star Hotel Panamericano in Buenos Aires, Argentina (left).

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FROM Nashville to New Delhi, these are some of the plush venues in exotic locations visited by well-travelled senior staff in the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) in recent years.

They have clocked up tens of thousands of air miles since 2006 to attend conferences in Vancouver, Buenos Aires, and Orlando -- sometimes as often as twice a year.

Among the most frequent flyers is Simon Hall who features prominently in the brochures promoting these conferences, which convene to discuss disability issues such as mobility aids and latest specialist research.

Mr Hall made a presentation at the first International Symposium on Seating and Posture in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in August 2011.

It was held in the four-star Hotel Panamericano Buenos Aires, which has two restaurants, spa facilities including an indoor pool and luxurious accommodation.

Mr Hall was also a speaker at the First Indian Seating and Mobility Symposium in New Delhi in 2012, when he presented one of the educational sessions on seating and postural management.

His speech covers cost factors, value for money and quality services. The CRC was cited as the leading centre in Ireland for the provision of assistive technology services.

"With over 3,000 annually attending four centres and outreach services," he wrote how the CRC had a unique insight into issues of independent living.

The CRC also attended the 27th International Seating Symposium, held at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Centre in Nashville Tennessee in 2011.

It is billed as Nashville's premier hotel with climate-controlled signature glass atriums nestled in a bed of the meandering Cumberland river.

Mr Hall, who has already attended conferences in Vancouver, is due back there for the 30th international seating symposium in March.

It will be held in the Westin hotel in Bayshore and will discuss current and future developments in the areas of seating, positioning and mobility.

The CRC was behind the European Seating Symposium in the Burlington Hotel last November, grossing around €535,000 in profit.

It was attended by 600 delegates at a cost of €400 each, bringing in €240,000. Exhibitors were charged €1,800, which generated €135,000, with another €160,000 raised from sponsors.

Mr Hall is the founder and director of the European Seating Symposium, which also offers study days.

Writing in the European Seating Symposium's newsletter in Spring 2010, Mr Hall said that both in Europe and the world, the symposium was a great forum for professionals, manufacturers and users to get together to share their knowledge and expertise.

He said that in many European countries, there was still "the continued government downward pressure on seating and positioning resources despite the evidence that this is both a preventive cost-saving and client-enabling measure".

Paul Kiely, who was then chief executive of the CRC before retiring on a massive pension package paid from charity funds, is featured in the newsletter in a group photograph.

Mr Hall did not respond to calls from the Irish Independent yesterday.

Brian Conlan, who succeeded Mr Kiely as chief executive in July before resigning in December, told the PAC that he could not be expected to know about the trips when he was on the board.

The CRC Medical Devices company, which has now been sold, spent €14,000 on foreign travel and €3,900 on entertainment in 2012.

Irish Independent

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