independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

TDs to quiz CRC bosses over sale of firm

Simon Harris,TD  , a member of the Dail Public Accounts Committee arriving for the meeting of the Committee at Leinster House yesterday,Pic Tom Burke 13/6/13
Simon Harris, TD. Photo: Tom Burke

BOSSES at under-fire charity the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) are to be grilled on the sale of a loss-making business that made wheelchairs when they come before the Dail's powerful Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The CRC last month sold Central Remedial Clinic Medical Devices Ltd (CRCMD) – which it had previously propped up with hundreds of thousands of euro – but it has refused to reveal any details of the sale.

The CRC has been at the centre of a row over generous top-ups paid to some executives by an associated charity, Friends and Supporters of the CRC.

Last year, it also received €14m in funding from the HSE.

Fine Gael TD Simon Harris said he will quiz CRC bosses about the deal when they appear before the PAC.

"They need to come in to the PAC and answer each and every charge that has been levelled at them right across the board, be it salaries, be it device companies, funding raising activities breaching HSE pay caps," he said.

"They need to put everything out on the table and deal with every single issue – because if they don't do that I think the continued public and government support for the CRC in its current form will become more difficult."

Mr Harris added: "Obviously we can't have that situation, because it provides such a vital service for so many people.

"This is their chance to come in, and come clean on these issues. If they don't do that, I think public trust and public faith in the organisation will just remain completely and utterly shattered."

CONFIDENTIALITY

CRCMD was established in 2006 with what the CRC described as a "temporary" investment of €460,000.

It only made a profit for one year out of the past seven and owed the charity €550,000 at the end of 2012.

Accounts also show how Friends and Supporters of the CRC assumed ownership of the medical devices business in 2007, and how last year it was only the continued support of the group that was keeping it in business.

The CRC is expected to make a substantial loss on the sale of CRCMD after it loaned €550,000, interest free, to the business.

The charity did not respond when asked why it kept CRCMD in business for so long as it was haemorrhaging cash? Why the charity decided to sell it this year? And how much the CRC has written off in the sale?

In a one-line statement, issued through a spokesman, the charity said: "We can confirm that the company was sold and have no further comment."

Meanwhile, the company involved in the sale, MMS Medical Ltd, has said that it was limited to purchasing some of its stock.

A spokesman said: "MMS Medical did not enter an agreement to purchase the business of CRC Medical.

"What MMS Medical has done is entered into an agreement to purchase a portion of the stock."

He said that the deal "is subject to a confidentiality clause", adding: "Should you require information in relation to this transaction, same should be obtained from CRC Medical Devices Limited."

Irish Independent

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