Monday 19 March 2018

Minister calls on absent CRC chief to appear at PAC meeting

Niall O’Connor

Health Minister James Reilly became the latest government minister to call on former CRC chief Brian Conlan to appear at the Public Accounts Committee hearing.

Mr Reilly’s comments come as PAC chairman John McGuinness expressed his frustration that Mr Conlan, who retired as CEO of the CRC had failed to attend the meeting.

"My understanding is that the PAC has asked him to come before them. I'll leave that between the PAC and he.”

However, when pressed, Mr Reilly said: “I think he should go to the PAC, yes I do. And I think he should be able to explain what happened and how it happened," he said.

Earlier this morning, Mr McGuinness told the public accounts committee hearing that Mr Conlon should be in attendance.

"We can't compel him to appear", Mr Nugent told him. But Mr McGuinness responded sharply: "We can".

On the refusal of Mr Conlan to appear, CRC chairman Jim Nugent told the PAC hearing that he had requested him to attend the hearing, but he had declined.

Meanwhile, Minister Reilly, refused to be drawn on revelations that the HSE was made aware of the salary top-ups of staff at the Central Remedial Clinic.

However, the minister urged the public "not to be put off" by the revelations surrounding the CRC when they are considering making charitable donations this Christmas.

"I have spoken to a number of people now in different charities and filing that their donations are down at this time of the year which is a real critical time for charitable donations," he said.

"I'd like to encourage people not to be put off by what has come out of one particular area of investigation.

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