Sunday 18 March 2018

Hospice paid €119,000 in fees to firm linked to former chief

Audit: Our Lady’s Hospice in Harold’s Cross
Audit: Our Lady’s Hospice in Harold’s Cross
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Our Lady's Hospice in south Dublin paid €119,000 in training fees to a company with connections to the then chief executive Mo Flynn, according to a HSE audit.

Ms Flynn, who is now chief executive of Rehab, has rejected any role in the contract and said she absented herself at the time the firm was chosen.

The audit also questions some credit-card expenditure over five years on entertainment, including wine, restaurants and the pub.

In response, a statement from the hospice in Harold's Cross said it acknowledged the review "showed there was room for improvement in processes and management have fully taken this on board".

It said: "The training provider was selected by the senior management as it had experience working in the sector."

While the chief executive "absented herself from the procurement it agreed that aspects of the process and her abstention should have been recorded more clearly to show its methodologies".

"New practices haven been put in place since this time as the organisation has continued to grow and develop. The service received was judged to be effective and professional."

The audit also questioned credit-card expenditure over five years. It included records showing that over five years €4,061 was spent on wine, €3,015 on restaurants, €1,216 in pubs and €680 on the theatre.

Ms Flynn said while the audit noted the spending related to wine gift boxes bought for the board of directors each Christmas/New Year, it failed to point out this was an annual gift to people who are voluntary directors.

Hence, the wine gift boxes were an expense incurred by the hospice to reflect the "incredible efforts" of, among others, its volunteers, she said.

The "pub" expenditure reflected in the credit card relates to a 'Light Up A Life' annual commemoration, following which the hospice volunteers were hosted in a local public house as a small gesture towards their volunteer work.

This is the only occasion where a credit card has been used in a "pub", she added.

In the same vein, expenditure in relation to "restaurant" was incurred in respect of work- related events.

Examples were a retirement dinner for a long-serving volunteer, an annual pre-conference dinner for speakers and dinners for visiting external advisers in relation to a new educational institute concerning palliative care. She said the theatre expenditure - which was a "one off" expenditure of €608 in 2011 - related to a Christmas pantomime to which staff and their children were invited.

Irish Independent

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