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Kerins denies talks to sell Rehab's D4 offices

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Offer: Angela Kerins. Photo: Tom Burke

Offer: Angela Kerins. Photo: Tom Burke

Offer: Angela Kerins. Photo: Tom Burke

REHAB Chief Angela Kerins has rejected claims she discussed selling the charity's headquarters with a developer who brought her on a helicopter trip

However John Kelly – a former business partner of jailed solicitor Thomas Byrne – last night reiterated that he discussed with Ms Kerins the potential sale of Rehab's headquarters which are in the prime location of Sandymount, Dublin 4.

Mr Kelly made the comments after it emerged that the embattled Rehab chief and other charity executives used his private helicopter to travel around Ireland and the UK.

The Wicklow businessman claims he spent over €100,000 on flights and hospitality for Ms Kerins and other Rehab officials in order to increase his chances of securing the deal.

Last night, Rehab released a statement claiming that the charity "at no point" considered selling or transferring the property, known as Roslyn Park, to Mr Kelly.

"Ms Kerins knew Mr Kelly personally some years ago. However, her (social) dealings with him in the past were completely unrelated to the business of the Rehab Group," the statement said.

However, Mr Kelly said he did discuss the potential sale with Ms Kerins and Rehab's PR adviser Michael Parker and said he will accept an invitation from the Public Accounts Committee to discuss the matter.

He said he pursued a "strategy" which involved trying to "raise his profile" with Rehab and in particular Ms Kerins, who earns a salary of €240,000.

Mr Kelly said he flew Ms Kerins and Mr Parker to London on a private jet, where they were driven in limousines and dined in Michelin star restaurants.

He claimed that he was introduced to Ms Kerins by Mr Parker and that she later invited him to a Fianna Fail fundraiser.

Relocate

Mr Kelly insisted that he did not make an offer for the lands but discussed the prospect of acquiring the headquarters with Ms Kerins and Mr Parker.

"Yes, I did," he said when asked if he ever discussed the potential sale with Kerins.

"The first issue identified was that the group would have to be relocated to suitable purpose built headquarters and we looked at land options in south Dublin."

He says he now wishes to give evidence to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Last night, PAC chairman John McGuinness indicated that Mr Kelly may be invited to appear in front of its members.

"Our job is to examine the business of Rehab with a specific focus on public funds. What Mr Kelly is claiming certainly appears to be of interest to the PAC and the prospect of inviting him to appear will, I believe, be discussed on Thursday."

In a statement, Rehab said Ms Kerins is "shocked" at the claims made by Mr Kelly, which were published in yesterday's Sunday Times.

"Ms Kerins knew Mr. Kelly personally some years ago. However, her (social) dealings with him in the past were completely unrelated to the business of the Rehab Group. Ms. Kerins has not met Mr. Kelly socially for at least three years," a spokesperson said last night.

"The article referred to some past social occasions. It is critically important to note that these were purely social occasions. None of them related to the business of the Rehab Group. None of them were convened with the purpose of discussing the possible transfer of the Roslyn Park property.

"Ms. Kerins did not receive an offer from Mr Kelly. However, the transfer of the property to Mr Kelly was never considered by the Rehab Group."

NOCONNOR@HERALD.IE


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