CRC service users ‘must be on board’

The new board of the Central Remedial Clinic must include people using the service and their families to prevent a repeat of the shocking top-ups controversy.

Minister of State with responsibility for disability services, Kathleen Lynch, made the call after the board of the under-fire charity stepped down en masse before Christmas due to the scandal.

The Labour TD said it would be “foolish” not to include service users, their families and frontline staff in any future board of governors of the vital facility.

And stressing the need to take the proposal on board, the junior minister said such a move would play a key role in attempts to improve transparency in the sector.

“We’ve done that on every single group I’ve appointed. It would be foolish not to consider it,” Ms Lynch said.

The call came after the 10 remaining members of the former CRC board stepped down over the top-ups affair in the lead up to Christmas, after intense pressure from the public.

While a statement from the CRC said the decision was taken to help the disability facility move past the scandal, the board was in fact effectively forced out after a meeting with HSE director general Tony O’Brien the previous day.

The meeting saw the HSE seek significant transparency and governance improvements in the voluntary hospitals and agencies sector.

However, it is understood not all of the requirements were accepted by the CRC board.

While the HSE could not order them to stand down, it could refuse funding — which amounts to €19m a year.

The HSE has appointed an interim administrator to run the facility before a new board is put in place by independent group Boardmatch Ireland.

The same process is also taking place for the CRC’s subsidiaries Friends and Supporters of the CRC and CRC Medical Devices.

Despite the measures being taken, WHPR, an external PR firm which has represented the CRC since the top-ups scandal emerged, said it cannot clarify whether any of the departing board members received payments to leave.

This is because, as the board has now left, it does not know who else would have this information.

The individuals involved include two former chief executives of the facility.

Former chief executive Paul Kiely — who resigned late last month — received a tax-free €200,000 lump sum payment when he retired from the group.

He is also in receipt of a €98,000 a year pension.


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