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Friday 22 August 2014

Staff told donations not used for top-ups

CRC workers believe they were misled by chairman over funds

Sam Griffin

Published 18/01/2014 | 02:30

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Legal threat on CRC salary cuts...Paul Kiely (left) the former chief executive of the Dublin based Central Remedial Clinic and acting chief executive Jim Nugent (right) leaving Leinster House after giving evidence to The Public Accounts Committee. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday December 11, 2013. Scandal-struck Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) chiefs said they face being sued if they enforce salary cuts on bosses getting top-ups from public donations. See PA story POLITICS TopUps Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire...A
Paul Kiely (left) the former chief executive of the Dublin based Central Remedial Clinic and acting chief executive Jim Nugent (right) leaving Leinster House after giving evidence at PAC last month
17/01/2014. Pictured is Dr. James Reill and An Taoiseach Enda Kenny leaving the CRC in Clontarf after it has emerged that over €700 was given in pension funds from charity donations. Photo: El Keegan
Dr James Reilly and Taoiseach Enda Kenny leaving the CRC in Clontarf yesterday evening. Photo: El Keegan
The Central Remedial Clinic

More than 300 staff at the Central Remedial Clinic were told that no public donations were used to top up salaries in an email from the then chairman Jim Nugent just two months ago.

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Furious staff believe they were misled by the internal email. It was sent on November 22, in the week that the top-ups scandal within the HSE first began to emerge.

His communication was sent to CRC staff as concerns heightened about how donations and charity raised for the clinic were used

The email informed staff: "From this moment onwards, we are committed to growing the organisation in a manner that is appropriate and transparent."

It added: "The Board of the Central Remedial Clinic would like to confirm to you today that no money generated from public fundraising, whether that be through CRC fundraising events or those carried out by our supporters, our Santa Bear Appeal and public donations, has gone towards supplementing the salaries of the Chief Executive or other senior management."

In the same email, Mr Nugent acknowledged that salaries were paid above the Department of Health's consolidated salary scales.

But he said: "Funding was provided directly from the commercial activities of the CRC and not from general public donations or fundraising events and challenges."

DONORS

The email was sent shortly before it emerged that former CEO Paul Kiely received a charity-funded €200,000 retirement sum.

And this week the Dail's Public Accounts Committee learnt that his gold-plated retirement package was actually €742,000 -- also funded from charitable donations.

The clinic has been dogged by controversy since it first emerged that Mr Kiely had his €106,000 salary topped up by a further €136,000 using funds provided by an associated charity, Friends and Supporters of the CRC.

The entire board of directors at the Central Remedial Clinic quit in December following several weeks of damaging revelations about the charity's finances.

But a month earlier Mr Nugent was promising "clarity" on the issue as there was "upset and anger" among staff.

He said the board of governors of the CRC had decided to implement "a transparent project-directed fundraising initiative" as a "commitment to the hard work of the fundraising team and the donors and supporters who selflessly provide money and time to support the work of the Central Remedial Clinic."

FUNDRAISING

He added: "While the details of this will need to be developed, it is our intention going forward to provide a number of specific projects that fundraisers choose to raise money for."

Six days after the email was sent, it emerged that publicly funded money had been used to top up senior staff salaries.

Mr Nugent then issued another email to CRC staff on November 28, stating that money raised by the Friends and Supporters of the CRC had been used to pay additional salary amounts over the Department of Health's consolidated pay scales.

Mr Nugent could not be contacted for comment in relation to the communications last night.

A HSE spokesperson said she could not comment on communications sent prior to the HSE taking over the running of the CRC.

She said: "The interim administrator is currently examining all aspects of fundraising at the Central Remedial Clinic."

The HSE spokesperson added: "This includes how fundraising will be organised and communicated to ensure the highest levels of transparency for the CRC's current and future supporters."

Irish Independent

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