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Kenny and Reilly in secret visit to CRC

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny and Health Minister James Reilly paid a secret visit to the beleaguered Central Remedial Clinic as the gold-plated pensions controversy deepened.

Their visit to the Clontarf facility came as a senior member of staff there expressed outrage, and told how she felt they had been lied to about the use of public charity funds.

Teachers at the CRC school said they were "devastated" as it emerged that money donated for charity was used in a €742,000 retirement package for former chief executive Paul Kiely.

Deputy principal Mary Saunders said: "Our children now feel ashamed of the CRC. The way the board managed it made me really, really unhappy because they lied at every single step of the process.

"When things did start coming out they lied and they lied again and then they twisted this bit and they turned that bit. It just seemed there was no truth in it.

"After that I didn't believe anything they told me. That is totally and utterly unacceptable, and there are families feeling that shame. These are the families that went out and sold the bears and did coffee mornings.

"These people are embarrassed and mortified. This service is here for them and for their children, and they're the ones suffering."

Mr Kenny and Dr Reilly arrived at the clinic, which employs more than 300 people, at around 3.30pm yesterday and spent an hour meeting service users, management and staff there.

They were shown around the clinic by Joan Hurley, the operations manager who took over the day-to-day running of the clinic last December.

OUTRAGE

Teachers at the CRC school told of their outrage and said they feared for the future of the organisation.

The school, which caters for 100 children aged three to 18 with physical and intellectual disabilities, is run by the Department of Education but also receives funding from other sources including the HSE and public donations.

Teacher Kieran O'Callaghan said: "We understood this was the economy, but we didn't realise other people weren't getting any cuts," he said.

"They were living in a little parallel universe where everything was grand. That was really galling, and it's hit people like service users and the students."

hnews@herald.ie


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