Wednesday 22 October 2014

This is ridiculous, says chairman of beleaguered charity

Published 11/04/2014 | 02:30

Rehab chairman Brian Kerr faced PAC over the charity scandal last week

THE Rehab Group chairman said the current situation faced by the embattled charity was "ridiculous" after he was grilled by the Dail's public spending watchdog.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Brian Kerr said he regretted that the controversy resulted in his organisation been called before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

"It's ridiculous that it has come to this stage," he said.

He said a new board should be put in place but it would not happen "overnight" because the process would require "continuity".

Mr Kerr, who has been on the Rehab board for 32 years, faced six hours of questioning about his tenure as chairman of the charity which received more than €90m from the taxpayer last year.

The PAC asked Mr Kerr and his fellow board members to appear at a previous hearing but they failed to attend.

The 75-year-old told the committee he regretted his non-appearance and blamed a "miscommunication and misunderstanding" within Rehab.

"We accept that this was an error on Rehab's part and we regret any offence felt by the committee," he said.

Asked by Independent TD Shane Ross about his non-attendance, Mr Kerr responded: "To be frank I wouldn't come here if I could avoid it."

Speaking to the committee, Mr Kerr conceded the charity made mistakes and should have been more diligent.

He said the board had not exercised "strict and appropriate oversight" of the issues which led to current controversy.

"It may not seem it but we are a hands on board," he added.

When questioned by TDs, he refused to criticise former CEOs Frank Flannery and Angela Kerins but said he hoped they would appear before a future hearing.

He assured the committee the board would work closely with management consultant Dr Eddie Molloy who is tasked with carrying out a "root and branch" review of the organisation.

Irish Independent

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