The former CEO of the Rehab Group has claimed some members of PAC chose to ignore legal advice relating to its powers as the public spending watchdog.
Angela Kerins has taken the Public Accounts Committee to court because she believes it acted outside of its remit during a hearing she attended in 2014.
PAC is considered one of the most powerful Oireachtas Committees because of the key role it plays in ensuring there is accountability and transparency in the way Government agencies allocate, spend and manage their finances.
Today, the court’s attention was drawn to the Standing Order that set it up.
Mr John Rogers, on behalf of Angela Kerins, said PAC's examinations are limited to agencies audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General and it has no jurisdiction to quiz private citizens about private affairs.
He claims they did just that during a seven-hour meeting with Angela Kerins in Feb 2014. He suggested that some members chose to ignore legal advice relating to the limitations of PAC's powers.
Despite warning Ms Kerins it would consider compelling her to attend future hearings, the court heard PAC was told it did not have the jurisdiction to do so.
PAC’s submissions are due to be opened tomorrow afternoon.
Angela Kerins has accused Shane Ross and Mary Lou McDonald of trying to damage her reputation during a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee in 2014.
The former CEO of the Rehab Group claims the committee members acted outside of their powers by quizzing her on “wholly private matters”.
Today, John Rogers, SC for Angela Kerins, picked out further examples of what he believes to be lines of questioning pursued by PAC members that were outside of their remit.
He said his client was invited to attend on Feb 27, 2014 to discuss how State funding was being used by the Rehab Group, but claims the seven-hour session strayed into areas it shouldn’t have.
He went so far as to say that some of the questions about her salary or bonus payments were asked for the purpose of making speeches and accused members of operating behind a smokescreen.
He singled out Deputies Shane Ross and Mary Lou McDonald for particular criticism and accused them of forming particular views of Ms Kerins.
Last week, the court heard she tried to take her own life because of the stress caused by the hearing and the fallout that followed.
The three-judge panel is due to hear from the other side at some stage today.