Saturday 24 March 2018

HSE chief spent three nights in Madrid for talk

HSE chief Tony O’Brien
HSE chief Tony O’Brien
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

HSE chief Tony O'Brien spent three nights in Madrid during his controversial trip to a conference, the Irish Independent has learned.

Mr O'Brien came under fire at the Public Accounts Committee this week for allowing medical company Acelity, which supplies Irish hospitals, to cover his expenses as well as pay a fee.

His attendance at the conference 'Make Better Healthcare Leaders' was first disclosed in the Irish Independent on the day nurses in St Vincent's Hospital declared a work to-rule due overcrowding conditions.

He was due to address the conference between 3pm and 3.20pm on Thursday October 9.

However, it has now been confirmed that he spent three nights in the Spanish capital as part of the event.

A spokewoman for the HSE said he attended two days of the three day conference in Madrid.

He arrived on the Wednesday at 20.30pm. "He attended the conference all day on Thursday and Friday, including all sessions and his speaking engagements and sideline meetings.

"He departed Madrid at 7.50am on Saturday morning," said the spokeswoman.

Mr O' Brien said the fee paid to him for his address would be donated to charity. He added that the company had paid the travel expenses of all the speakers at the conference. The company makes wound care products.

Questioned at the committee on whether he potentially compromised himself, Mr O' Brien said he had not direct dealings with the company. The HSE had decided not to send a member of staff who works in procurement.He said he would notify the Standards in Public Office.

Irish Independent

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