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Friday 29 August 2014

Shatter: Flannery must go before PAC

Ralph Riegel

Published 10/03/2014 | 16:02

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JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter has said former Rehab director and senior Fine Gael strategist, Frank Flannery, should appear before the Dail's Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

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Mr Shatter's comments came as his Cabinet colleague, Education Minister Ruairi Quinn (Lab), revealed that issues to do with Rehab funding has been informally raised with him by Mr Flannery.

But Mr Quinn insisted he never had a formal meeting with Mr Flannery but that any contacts were on an informal basis after coming across him around Leinster House.

Mr Shatter has now backed calls for the party strategist to appear before the PAC to assist with clarifying aspects of Rehab's operations and funding.

"I think in so far as PAC have legitimate questions to ask I think they should be answered," Mr Shatter told the Irish Independent.

"I have a very simple view (of this). I have said this a number of times - charities come under my remit and it is important, in the context of charitable organisations, that there be the maximum transparency."

"That is why we are bringing into force the Charities Act. That is why I am setting up the Charities Regulatory Authority. I think it is very important that the accounts of charitable organisations are readily accessible by those who donate to charities."

"Those are issues of concern and they should be fully and properly addressed."

Mr Shatter's comments came as Mr Quinn confirmed that Mr Flannery had raised issues to do with State funding of charities with him.

It emerged last week that Mr Flannery was reportedly paid for lobbying the Departments of Justice, Education and Social Protection, according to invoices submitted from Mr Flannery’s firm Laragh Consulting to the charity.

The company invoiced Rehab for €66,000 in 2012.

PAC chairman John McGuinness said it was unacceptable that Mr Flannery had not yet appeared before the committee.

Mr McGuinness said Mr Flannery should appear before the PAC on a voluntary basis though he insisted the committee does have the powers to direct him to do so.

European Affairs Minister Paschal Donohoe said it would be helpful for Mr Flannery to appear before the PAC.

Mr Flannery is a former chief executive of Rehab.

He is also a board member of the European Platform for Rehabilitation along with current Rehab chief executive Angela Kerins.

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