Friday 23 March 2018

Gardai act as hate mail is sent to Rehab chief

Kerins and predecessor Flannery concerned over personal security

Angela Kerins, chief executive of Rehab
Angela Kerins, chief executive of Rehab

RONALD QUINLAN Special Correspondent

GARDAI have taken steps to ensure the personal safety of Rehab chief executive Angela Kerins and her predecessor Frank Flannery after threatening letters addressed to them arrived at the charity's Dublin headquarters last week.

The Sunday Independent understands that while gardai are conscious of the likelihood that the author of the anonymous correspondence will not follow through on the threats, they are still treating the matter seriously.

It is understood that both Rehab executives have received advice from gardai in recent days on precautions they should take in relation to their personal security.

In the case of Mr Flannery, gardai at his local station in south Dublin have already stepped up patrols in the area in and around his home, while a detective has taken on the responsibility of liaising with the former Rehab chief in relation to the matter of the threat made against him.

Mr Flannery has been at the centre of controversy in recent weeks after it emerged that while serving as a director of Rehab he had been in receipt of payments of €66,000 in 2012 and €11,000 in 2011 from the charity group for "professional services".

These included successful lobbying in relation to the charity lottery funds, as well lobbying the Departments of Education and Social Protection.

The disclosures were promptly followed by his resignation from Fine Gael where he had acted as a key electoral strategist for many years, from the Rehab Group, and from the chair of the State-funded Forum on Philanthropy.

But while Ms Kerins has already been before the Dail's Public Accounts Committee (PAC), where she was grilled about her €240,000 salary and the group's use of the estimated €82m it receives in State funding annually, Mr Flannery has yet to appear.

While it has been reported that the former Rehab chief is expected to attend the PAC on April 10 to discuss the issues of his pension from the Rehab Group and the lobbying payments, Mr Flannery has made it clear that he will respond to a committee invitation when it is made and he knows precisely "what the agenda is".

In an email which he sent to the clerk of the PAC on March 13, Mr Flannery said: "I have said repeatedly that I will respond to an invitation from the PAC when I know what the agenda is.

"I presume the further information being supplied by Rehab is germane to this and will indicate what, if any, information gaps remain.

"Having reviewed this input, perhaps you will then communicate with me."

In what appears to be an indication of his preference to deal with matters away from the very public glare of the PAC, initially at least, Mr Flannery added: "I need the agenda items you would like to discuss with me and perhaps I can deal with these in the first instance in writing as that might be of assistance to the committee."

Sunday Independent

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