End ‘nauseating spectacle’ of charity finances: Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny heaped more pressure on Rehab CEO Angela Kerins to reveal full details of her salary, saying the “nauseating spectacle” surrounding the finances of Irish charities had to end.

In response, the Rehab board said it would “consider” disclosing Ms Kerin’s remuneration package next month. Her salary in 2011 was €234,000 but she has consistently refused to reveal her pay package ever since.

Speaking in Davos, Mr Kenny said where public money or donations were concerned, people “need to be confident that everything is above board, is accountable, transparent, and they know that their donations are going to the purposes for which they were intended”.

He said he was confident Irish charities would emerge stronger from the crisis but said there must be full disclosure at all levels, and the boards of charities should publish audited accounts.

“Out of all of this recent debacle, this nauseating spectacle... you will emerge with a stronger, clearer situation when the regulator is appointed,” said Mr Kenny.

He said the office of the regulator would ensure that, in future, all charity boards would publish accounts so “the donating public and those who work diligently for the charities which they love” will be happy about the commitment they have entered into.

Mr Kenny’s views were back by the Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore, who called on senior figures in all charities to make their remuneration packages public.

“I am in favour of transparency,” said Mr Gilmore. “I am in favour of organisations making known in their accounts the salaries they pay to their CEOs. I see no reason salaries paid to senior people in charitable organisations or other bodies should not be made available by way of public information.”

Mr Gilmore said that the decision to establish a charities regulator was to ensure that controversies do not undermine public confidence in charities.

Earlier, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said Ms Kerins would have to reveal her salary “sooner or later” and the controversy would not go away until she did so.

“The normal practice when it comes to any company is that their CEO’s remuneration and the directors fees is disclosed in the annual accounts… and that’s what should happen,” said Mr Varadkar.

He added that he backed Justice Minister Alan Shatter’s decision to phase out the Charitable Lotteries Scheme, saying the only reason some charities stayed in the lottery business was to avail of the compensation fund.

He said it was “a funny system” when charities were selling lottery tickets yet “making virtually no money out it at all”.

Meanwhile in the Dáil, Sinn Féin’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh raised concerns as to how Rehab director and former Fine Gael adviser Frank Flannery invoiced the charity for €66,000 from a dissolved consultancy company.

“Again, we read today of a former CEO of Rehab, a long-time adviser of Fine Gael, billing the company for consultancy services using a dissolved company,” said Mr Ó Snodaigh. “That all suggests something wrong in the state of Denmark.”

He said recent revelations at the Central Remedial Clinic, Irish Water, Poolbeg, and elsewhere proved the existence of “a toxic political culture of top-ups, bonuses, jobs for the boys and contracts for the elite”.

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