Sunday 22 April 2018

Former Rehab bosses Angela Kerins and Frank Flannery will not appear at PAC

Angela Kerins. Photo: Tom Burke
Angela Kerins. Photo: Tom Burke

Fionnan Sheahan, John Downing and Cormac McQuinn

Former Rehab CEO Anegla Kerins' solicitor has confirmed that she will not appear in front of the Public Accounts Committee due to illness.

Meanwhile, in a statement issued this evening, former Rehab boss said he is and has always been willing to attend the PAC but regrets that ‘the agenda as set out has left me with no alternative but to decline the current invitation’.

It was reported earlier today that former Rehab bosses Frank Flannery and Angela Kerins were set to snub an invitation to appear before the Dail Public Accounts Committee (PAC) tomorrow.

The latest round of scrutiny comes as the Rehab Group has appointed an expert to conduct a "root and branch" review of its structures and governance.

Dr Eddie Molloy, an experienced management consultant, is tasked with examining the level of pay and transparency at the charity which has been severely damaged by months of controversy over payments to senior management.

The charity's former CEO Angela Kerins dramatically resigned following demands for her to disclose her salary and pension entitlements.

Mr Flannery also quit his position on the Rehab board and his role as Fine Gael political strategist after it was revealed he was lobbying ministers on behalf of the charity.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said yesterday he had no idea whether Mr Flannery, a former Fine Gael strategist, was being paid by the charity to lobby the Government.

Rehab chairman Brian Kerr said the group recognised they did not exercise "strict and appropriate oversight of certain issues which have come to the public attention in recent weeks".

Rehab is due back at the Dail PAC tomorrow to answer questions on its finances.

The organisation has signalled that the delegation will consist of Mr Kerr, Group Finance Director Keith Poole and the members of the remuneration committee, Declan Doyle, Hugh Governey and Liam Hogan.

Mr Flannery quit as Fine Gael director of elections and a board member of Rehab on March 10 last and Ms Kerins quit as chief executive last week.

When asked if he planned to attend the meeting on Rehab's financial affairs tomorrow, Mr Flannery told the Irish Independent, "My decision isn't made yet."

He also refused to comment on reports that he wants details beforehand of questions PAC members want to put to him.

"I've no comment. I'm just working on it at the moment – and I'll be saying something tomorrow," he added.

The Taoiseach repeated his view that both Mr Flannery and Ms Kerins should appear before the committee.

Mr Kenny said he only met with Mr Flannery about party political issues during his time as an election adviser.

"My only engagement with the man you mention was purely political in regard to constituencies and all that," he said.

The Taoiseach said a new Charities Regulator is to be appointed to oversee good governance of charitable organisations.

Following the appointment of Dr Molloy, Mr Kerr said the board's priority is to initiate "a programme of transformation and change, which will allow it to candidly confront the issues before us and to rebuild the reputation, staff morale and effectiveness of the organisation."

Dr Molloy, who is also chairman of the Mental Health Reform, has been identifying procedures that would lead to the "quality of oversight" needed for charity, which receives more than €80m in State funding annually.

Dr Molloy has also been asked to address the degree of transparency in the orga-nisation and identify pay scales which meet "reasona- ble public expectations and regulatory requirements".

He will also address the current structures of group and the functions of the charity's board.

Irish Independent

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