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Staff at clinic to claim chairman misled them

MORE than 300 staff at the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) in Clontarf will claim they were misled by former chairman Jim Nugent after he told them less than two months ago that no public donations were used to supplement the wages of senior staff.

An internal email sent on behalf of Mr Nugent on November 22 told staff that "from this moment onwards, we are committed to growing the organisation in a manner that is appropriate and transparent".

His communication was sent to CRC staff as concerns heightened over how donations and funds raised for the clinic were used.

"No money generated from public fundraising, whether that be through CRC fundraising events or those carried out by our supporters, our Santa Bear Appeal and public donations, has gone towards supplementing the salaries of the chief executive or other senior management," the email states.

The board, who have since stepped down, said this weeks before it emerged that former CEO Paul Kiely received a charity-funded €200,000 retirement sum.

This week, the Public Accounts Committee, chaired by John McGuinness, learnt that his gold-plated retirement package is €742,000 – funded from charities.

Referring to what was then a top-ups controversy in the email, Mr Nugent said he acknowledged "the upset and anger this situation" has caused staff and said he wanted to provide "clarity".

He later said that where salaries were paid above the Department of Health's consolidated scales, "funding was provided directly from the commercial activities of the CRC and not from general public donations or fundraising events and challenges".

He stated that the board of governors had decided to implement "a transparent project-directed fundraising imitative" as a "commitment to the hard work of the fundraising team and the donors and supporters who selflessly provide money and time to support the work of the Central Remedial Clinic".

He added: "While the details of this will need to be developed, it is our intention to going forward to provide a number of projects that fundraisers choose to raise money for."

Six days after the email was sent, it emerged that publicly funded money had been used to top up salaries.

Mr Nugent issued another email on November 28 saying that money raised by the Friends and Supporters of the CRC had been used to pay additional salary amounts over the Department of Health's consolidated pay scales.

FUNDRAISING

He could not be contacted for comment last night.

An HSE spokesperson said she could not comment on communications sent prior to the HSE taking over the running of the CRC.

"The administrator is examining fundraising at the CRC. This includes how fundraising will be organised and communicated to ensure the highest levels of transparency," she said.

hnews@herald.ie


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