Angela Kerins, former Rehab boss, is ‘very disappointed’ by defeat in High Court

Ex-Rehab boss Angela Kerins said she is “very disappointed” by her High Court defeat in her case against members of the Public Accounts Committee.

Thanking her family and friends, Ms Kerins said it was an enormous decision to take the case and she will now review the decision.

“I am currently reviewing the written judgment of the High Court with my legal advisers. I will not be making any decision or making any further comment in this matter until that review is complete,” she said in a statement.

She was not in court for the judgment yesterday.

John McGuinness, the then chairman of PAC, has defended the “robust” treatment of Ms Kerins, denying it amounted to a with hunt.

He said he was “delighted with the result” and that it was a “good day for democracy”.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Mr McGuinness said: “It is a great result for democracy and freedom of speech. I am glad that the courts have found that the work of all committees, not just the PAC, is invaluable to democracy.”

In evidence, Ms Kerins had described a seven-hour meeting of the PAC in February 2014 as a “witch hunt”.

She claimed she ended up in hospital because of the trauma she was put through and ultimately tried to take her own life.

Defending what he called a robust encounter with Ms Kerins, Mr McGuinness insisted the probe was nothing less than what the public expected from them as members of the Dáil’s spending watchdog.

“It is not personal, not personal at all. This was about taxpayers’ money at the end of the day and the public expect us to be robust in our investigations and we were,” he said.

Mr McGuinness, Mary Lou McDonald, and Shane Ross, then members of PAC, stood accused of being the most aggressive in their questioning of Ms Kerins.

The court found Ms Kerins was probed on a wide range of issues, many of which went far beyond those of which she had been notified in previous correspondence.

Mary Lou McDonald welcomed the High Court judgement. She said: “This is a significant decision as it clarifies the right of members of the Oireachtas to act in the public interest and to do the job that we are elected to do.”

The Houses of the Oireachtas Commission said it welcomed the judgment and that it will take time to consider the full implications of it.

Mr Ross declined to comment on the court victory when contacted by the Irish Examiner last night.

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