Friday 18 January 2019

Rhona Mahony fails to give details on €45,000 pay at Maternity Hospital

Dr Rhona Mahony
Dr Rhona Mahony

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

The master of the National Maternity Hospital Dr Rhona Mahony has failed to provide documentation requested by the HSE on the €45,000 additional allowance she is listed as receiving from external sources.

Dr Mahony was listed as getting a €45,000 privately funded allowance in the original audit of 'top-ups' paid to senior managers in a range of HSE-funded voluntary hospitals and agencies.

She later issued a statement saying the money was generated by private fees from seeing insured patients and she felt "vilified" by the media coverage.

HSE auditor Dr Geraldine Smith told the Dail Committee on Public Accounts yesterday that, following a discussion on top-ups at a committee meeting two weeks ago, Dr Mahony met with the head of the HSE Dr Tony O'Brien.

Dr Smith had told the earlier meeting that the description of allowances as "privately funded" was given by the National Maternity Hospital itself in response to her queries.

She said hospital had "further assured" her by telling her that the information had been validated by its chairman.

She was told the funding came from "rents, licence fees and other incomes". The hospital made no mention of payments from private patients.

Dr Smith told Fine Gael TD Simon Harris: "My stance today is the same as the last day. The master (Dr Mahony) was in contact with the HSE following that meeting."

Dr Mahony met with Tony O'Brien and she was asked to provide substantiating documentation which Dr Smith would review.

Following several communications between then and December 6, Dr Mahony did not provide the documentation.


The HSE had sought details such as pay slips and transfers into the bank from the hospital. "We were specific in the type of documentation we were seeking. I sought about four years of documentation to substantiate the trend," said Dr Smith.

Dr Smith had "asked that the information should not only relate to the master but four other staff who were listed as getting additional allowances ranging from €30,000 to €45,000.

"To date, there has been no information and I don't think we are going to get that," Dr Smith told the committee. A spokesman for Dr Mahony declined to comment last night.

Meanwhile, new figures provided to the HSE from the Rotunda Hospital show that the master Dr Sam Coulter-Smith is getting two additional allowances, one of €20,000 and another worth €40,000.

Four other managers are also getting extra allowances of varying amounts, ranging from €6,000 to €17,000.

The hospital said the payments were not coming from public funds and had been in place for a number of years.

They were calculated after approval by the board of governors of the hospital for additional work carried out to support the non-publicly funded elements of the hospital.

Irish Independent

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