Sunday 25 February 2018

Flannery claims PAC row causing damage to his reputation

Frank Flannery
Frank Flannery
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

FORMER Fine Gael strategist Frank Flannery has written to a high-powered Dail committee claiming his reputation has been damaged by attempts to involve him in the spending watchdog's investigation of Rehab.

Mr Flannery (pictured), a former chief executive and board member of the charity, asked the Dail Committee on Procedures and Privileges (CPP) how alleged damage to his reputation could be repaired.

He claims the Dail Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was acting outside its remit during recent hearings.

The letter is significant as the CPP, which sets rules for other committees, is considering a request from the PAC for compellability powers after Mr Flannery and another former Rehab chief executive, Angela Kerins, refused to appear.

Ms Kerins has also written to the CPP this week claiming the PAC's inquiry is "unlawful".

The moves are a serious ratcheting up of the row over the duo's refusal to appear before the PAC.

Should the CPP decline the PAC's compellability request, it will have considerable implications for future investigations by the spending watchdog.

PAC chairman John McGuinness declined to comment on the development last night as he had not yet seen the letters.

Mr Flannery also declined to comment in detail.

Key to the issue is whether or not the CPP, which is chaired by Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett and includes the party whips, decides the PAC has strayed outside its remit.

Mr Flannery has previously stated he was concerned his reputation could be damaged and his rights infringed.

Ms Kerins told the CPP that the PAC had "a patent lack of jurisdiction".

She said this meant the CPP could not grant the PAC's request for compellability.

Although Ms Kerins appeared once before the committee, she resigned in April and failed to attend a subsequent hearing, citing illness.

Members wish to quiz her about several matters at Rehab, having been unhappy with her earlier answers.

Committee members have indicated they wish to question Mr Flannery about his pension and his involvement in paid lobbying on behalf of Rehab.

Irish Independent

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