The furious row over salaries at Rehab Group took a fresh twist when it emerged that senior executives are allowed lucrative bonuses.
Chief executive Angela Kerins is entitled to a bonus worth up to €84,000 on top of her €240,000 salary, although she says she did not claim it.
However, the existence of the huge bonus clause raises further questions about the packages enjoyed by other leading executives at the charity and commercial group.
Last night, Rehab was unable to clarify whether other executives were taking bonuses, or had their bonuses bought out by the group, having earlier stonewalled officials at the Dail's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on a series of questions about salary levels.
Mrs Kerins revealed her contract allowed for a bonus of between 30pc and 35pc of her salary.
She insisted she had waived the payment for the past four years and did not intend to claim it in future.
However, when asked what bonus she received in 2009, she said she couldn't remember. The following year staff at Rehab had to take pay cuts of between 5pc and 15pc.
The disclosure of the Rehab bonus scheme came during an often fractious meeting, during which Rehab was accused of being "evasive" and its pay policy was described as "shocking".
PAC chairman John McGuinness upped the pressure on Rehab last night, calling on it to release the details of the pay of senior staff within days.
Some detail may soon be disclosed, as the HSE passed on information about salaries at Rehab Group subsidiary Rehab Care. The committee will seek legal advice before deciding on publication. It is already known that 10 senior managers at Rehab Care received more than €900,000 between them last year.
Rehab Group has only committed to publishing figures on senior executive salaries from next year, and has not clarified whether this data will identify individuals.
During the hearing, PAC members were critical of the failure of Rehab to bring its remuneration committee and former chief executive – Fine Gael strategist Frank Flannery – in for questioning.
Committee members had wanted to question Mr Flannery on his pension package and €77,000 in fees he charged Rehab for consultancy services in 2011 and 2012.
The PAC was also unhappy with the level of detail provided about Rehab's links with coffin-importing company Eco Solutions, with which Mr Flannery and Mrs Kerins's brother, Joseph McCarthy, were involved.
FG committee member John Deasy said Rehab had made "a big song and dance" about providing information: "I think you have been evasive... I think because €82m in public money goes into Rehab you should have been far more forthcoming even before today."
Mr Deasy also told Mrs Kerins that she needed to "get a grip" over her response to questions about salaries.
Independent TD Shane Ross described the appearance of Rehab executives as "worthless" and said the group's accounts were "opaque".
Mrs Kerins said: "I really wish to some degree that we had come out with my salary level a little earlier."
At another point, she said: "The last few weeks have taken a large toll on the Rehab Group and our clients. We are wondering what we have done wrong."
But when pressed for further details about her salary, Mrs Kerins said: "I have already given a lot of personal information. I am really not prepared to go any further with this." She added that she was a private citizen and not a public servant.
Earlier, Rehab's pay set-up was described as "kind of shocking" by a committee member. Sinn Fein TD Mary Lou McDonald said that most of Rehab's staff had taken pay cuts as their salaries had been linked to public sector pay rates. However, senior management were not linked to the same pay scales.
She said that the average CEO pay in the charity sector was €59,000 and put it to Mrs Kerins that she earned more than Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
THE lads just sat back quietly and watched. One could almost sense the relief rising off them that they weren't getting the frosty third-degree from either of the formidable women who were locked in politely mortal combat in the crowded committee room.