News Comment

Wednesday 1 October 2014

High-stakes poker game only likely to see one victor

Published 19/06/2014 | 02:30

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FRANK Flannery is no stranger to the high stakes games of poker played in the upper circles of power.

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As a former Fine Gael election strategist and confidant of Taoiseach Enda Kenny, he has been around the block a few times.

So it is no surprise he is calling the bluff of the Dail Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to have him compelled as a witness.

The spending watchdog wants to quiz Mr Flannery about all manner of things, including his Rehab pension.

It also wants to know what he did for more than €400,000 in lobbying fees from the charity. Mr Flannery knows there are many in Leinster House who believe the PAC has gone outside its remit.

The committee is broadly confined to examining bodies audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General. Rehab is not in this category. But under chair John McGuinness, the PAC has invited bodies in outside the remit. These bodies have accepted the invitations.

Many TDs support Mr McGuinness's approach and believe the PAC's remit should widen to examine any body in receipt of public money. But as things stand, the rules are against the committee and it is unlikely it will be given permission to compel Mr Flannery and another former Rehab chief executive Angela Kerins.

While there may be a moral imperative to appear at the PAC when asked to do so, both Mr Flannery and Ms Kerins have sought their own moral high ground, claiming they have been wounded by the committee.

It looks like they will fight PAC all the way.

Irish Independent

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