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Thursday 19 April 2018

Top HSE director facing probe over 'conflict of interest'

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

An investigation is under way into a potential conflict of interest involving a senior director in the Health Service Executive.

An external expert has been called in to probe the alleged conflict of interest in the wake of correspondence sent to the HSE's audit committee.

It is unclear whether the alleged conflict involves the manager's professional or financial interests. However, the fact that it was brought to the attention of the audit committee indicates that the potential conflict relates to financial issues.

A HSE spokesman confirmed to the Irish Independent that it has "in place robust processes to investigate any such allegations and these measures have now come into effect".

He said the HSE would not be in a position to comment further until this investigative process was completed.

The allegations were brought to the attention of a recent board meeting by chairman of the audit committee PJ Fitzpatrick, who said the investigation followed correspondence it received.

He said an "external person had been engaged to examine the matter". The HSE yesterday refused to say if this was an outside management consultant or legal expert.

The high-earning managers in the HSE have considerable autonomy over their individual budgets and are key decision makers in several areas which affect issues like funding.

The management team of the HSE comprises around 13 directors who have responsibility for different areas of the service.

Under the rules regarding conflict of interest in the public service, senior staff must declare if they are linked to anything which could advance their personal position.

The "appearance of a conflict of interest" occurs when a person has knowledge that their individual associations can be enhanced by their professional position. If this arises, they must immediately disclose a conflict of interest to their employer.

Irish Independent

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