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Flannery quits but won't say if he will face quiz on Rehab

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RESIGNATION: Frank Flannery. Photo: Tom Burke

RESIGNATION: Frank Flannery. Photo: Tom Burke

RESIGNATION: Frank Flannery. Photo: Tom Burke

FORMER charity boss and Fine Gael election strategist Frank Flannery last night again refused to confirm if he will face questioning by TDs over his time at Rehab.

Embattled Mr Flannery also announced his resignation as a director of the charity where he previously served as chief executive.

He quit as a trustee and director of elections for Fine Gael after weeks of controversy and calls for him to answer questions before the Public Accounts Committee.

DECISION

However, he has still refused to give any guarantees that he will attend a PAC hearing into funding and spending on pay, pensions and other matters at the disability charity.

"I will have to await on the outcome of the committee's response to further information given to it by Rehab. I'll then decide on that basis. I have made no decision either way," he told the Herald.

Mr Flannery also said he had received no communication telling him to come before PAC. This was confirmed by PAC chairman John McGuinness, who said a letter to Mr Flannery was only sent from Leinster House yesterday.

"Mr Flannery was asked to appear, as were others via chief executive Angela Kerins. I am not entirely clear whether this message was relayed. I asked that of Ms Kerins but could not get an answer," Mr McGuinness said.

Mr Flannery has said he would not discuss his salary or pension from Rehab as it was eight years since he retired. He stood by his view that these matters were private.

Mr Flannery, who is a long-time adviser and friend to Taoiseach Enda Kenny, insisted that he made the decision to quit without pressure from any member of the Government.

"It was my own judgment based on my own strategic assessment of things," he said.

He said he would continue to work for Fine Gael as a party member.

Mr Flannery said he was quitting the party and Rehab roles because he had become the subject of a damaging political controversy. He repeated criticisms of PAC's inquiries into Rehab and other organisations, arguing that they politicised and exceeded their brief.

ALLEGATIONS

Mr McGuinness rejected these allegations, saying all decisions on investigations were unanimous and supported by Fine Gael members.

"We are not bringing politics into the PAC. We are trying simply to get straight answers to questions," Mr McGuinness said.

The Taoiseach last night repeated his call to his friend to appear before PAC and cooperate with inquiries.

Mr Kenny said he regretted Mr Flannery's departure, and paid tribute to his years of work for the party going back to the 1980s and Garret FitzGerald's leadership.

"This is not the way you expect things to be," the Taoiseach said, adding that the decision was "a strong one" which he respected.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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